Discouraging words were heard Monday from Solano County residents voicing their disapproval of plans to expand Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville.
Many of the negative comments were directed at the process being used to update the airport’s master plan, in which so-called “stakeholders” — airport tenants, area businesses and local government agencies — are advised of developments before members of the public.
“All of Vacaville should be stakeholders,” said Cathy Ruebusch, a local resident who has lived near the airport for 11 years, according to Vacaville’s The Reporter newspaper. “We’ve been steamrolled and have not been included.”
County officials rewriting the airport’s Master Plan called the meeting to discuss Working Paper 2, which discusses the Solano County-owned airport’s future capacity and building needs.
Monday’s meeting was held at the Harbison Event Center Ballroom at the Nut Tree shopping center at 1681 East Monte Vista Ave.
Nut Tree Airport figures prominently in regional plans to expand airport capacity in the next 20 years without adding flights to already heavily used airports in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.
The airport has been operating since 1955, but has not updated its Master Plan since 1993, the newspaper said.
Most of the residents at the meeting complained about a lack of notice of meetings and other developments in the process.
Others expressed concern about the impact on Vacaville of airport expansion, particularly if passenger jets are permitted to land there.
Airport advisory committee member JD Lynd said the airport was a safe operation that was properly protected from unsafe encroachment.
“This airport is a great asset,” he said. “This is a process to present all facts about the airport.”
Peter Van Pelt of Barnard Dunkelberg & Co. of Denver, the county’s airport consultants, said the Master Plan was still being written and no final decisions about expansion had been made.
Airport Manager Andrew Swanson said members of the public have been notified about meetings and progress online, by e-mail and by printed material at Browns Valley Elementary School, signs posted in the community and through the newspaper.
He said the public was notified through the latest technology online and through e-mail and other avenues, including notification at Browns Valley Elementary School, sandwich boards in the area and in The Reporter.
Swanson said meetings also are broadcast on public access Channel 26.