Suit Against City over Approval of Housing Near Airport


A lawsuit challenging the City of Chico's decision to overrule the Butte County Airport Land Use Commission can go to trial, a judge ruled today.

The complaint was filed in 1997 by the California Pilots Association, the Upper Ridge Coordinating Council, the Butte Environmental Council, and John Merz, an individual. It alleged that the City of Chico had not conformed its general plan with the Chico Airport Environs plan, had improperly approved three real estate projects over objections of the County Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC), violated a Federal Aviation Administration assurance agreement in failing to properly protect Chico Airport, and adopted an operational policy requiring aircraft to make a turn at low altitude immediately after takeoff.

The city's attorney filed a demurrer to all five allegations. Judge Roger Gilbert upheld the City on four of the five allegations, while ruling in favor of the plaintiffs on one allegation.

The remaining issue is whether the City followed the law regarding noise and safety when overruling the ALUC. This issue is the same as in the 1994 case of California Aviation Council [former name of California Pilots Association] v. City of Ceres. In that case the City of Ceres had approved a residential project near the Modesto Airport but had not followed the law regarding the prevention of noise and safety problems.

Source: California Pilots Association Newsletter