League to issue report on airport
The League to Save Lake Tahoe plans to release a report Thursday at Lake Tahoe Community College it hopes will create community dialogue on the environmental costs of the city-run Lake Tahoe Airport.
“The environmental costs of doing business needs to be weighed,” League program director John Friedrich said. “More intense uses require more impacts.”
The League studied proposed uses, air pollution, Upper Truckee River impacts, noise, public subsidies and tree-cutting. The latter issue has especially brought the aviation facility into the forefront of public scrutiny when the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency alleged the city violated its permit when it cut down 387 trees over 5.2 acres northeast of the airport.
The city contends it did so as a required safety measure.
“We’re not saying trees versus human life. It’s how many trees that deserves further study,” Friedrich said. “The main part of this is, we need to re-evaluate the uses at the airport.”
In the report, the League has on more than one occasion criticized the South Lake Tahoe government for tree-cutting “at a level commensurate for large commercial aircraft, which are not allowed to fly in and out of the airport,” it reads.
But city Assistant Manager Rick Angelocci respectively disagreed.
“(The action was) not to expand to jumbo jets. They make the assumption the number of trees we want removed are based on the type of classification of airport. I don’t believe it is because we wouldn’t be talking about the side of the airport. We’d be talking about the end of it,” he said. “I don’t make the connection.”
Angelocci was referring to a pending permit with the TRPA to cut down 1,725 more trees to meet safety measures. The city is looking into reducing that number to 408 if it gets grant approval on buying lights to cut down on flight obstructions. It has also proposed reducing its operations to a lower classification.
To accommodate larger aircraft, the city will need to reapply with the TRPA.
But the city may not go far enough in keeping with the League-spawned settlement agreement made in 1992 that calls for noise monitoring among other requirements. Compliance limits aircraft operating between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. to maintain a level to less than 77.1 decibels. The equipment has not worked, and the city has ordered new machines.
Overall, Friedrich implied the League would like to see the airport master plan reflect an accurate depiction of the community costs of the airport. It receives a city subsidy every year and has in the last year served as the local government’s temporary city hall.
Other issues slated to address include:
— Clean transportation
— Commercial service potential
— Pollution findings.
If you go
What: Lake Tahoe Airport Impacts Report
When: 6 p.m., Thursday
Where: Lake Tahoe Community College; refreshments served