Update Process Underway for Airport Safety Zones

Future Construction Will Be Affected by Pending Land Use Compatibility Plan

County officials will draw new lines around the airport in upcoming months, as the Santa Barbara Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP) is due for a major overhaul.

The ALUCP regulates how vacant land around the airport can be developed, making sure all structures are appropriately built to accommodate for the safety of both planes and people. While existing structures will not be affected, business owners and residents in certain zones looking to add to their properties will need to verify that their projects don’t violate the new ALUCP.

According to Peter Imhof, deputy director of planning for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), the process will be guided by a new California Department of Transportation handbook, released in 2011. Imhof said the ALUCP is “definitely out of date,” as the original plan is now more than 20 years old.

While the previous plan covered two simple safety zones, the new plan will break up the surrounding area into six zones based on the airport’s flight paths. Imhof said the “basic approach is still the same,” with property closer to the runway having stricter restrictions on land use. With more zones, Imhof said SBCAG can be more precise about the safety requirements for different areas and bring the airport up to new state requirements.

SBCAG released the new draft plan in early August. The process, however, is still in its very early stages. Imhof said they have just begun the hiring process for an Environmental Impact Review (EIR) consultant, who will begin the project’s EIR sometime later this fall. The county’s other airfields are receiving similar ALUCP updates.

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