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Plan to seek referendum on SLO airport override is scrapped

Kevin P. Rice
Kevin P. Rice jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Opponents of the recent decision by the San Luis Obispo City Council to override the Airport Land Use Commission have abandoned their plan to seek a referendum.

On Tuesday the council solidified its stance, voting 4-1 for the second and final time to override the airport commission’s ruling that the city’s updated General Plan is inconsistent with its own Airport Land Use Plan, which, based on noise and safety concerns, limits development near San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

Several large residential projects planned for the southern end of San Luis Obispo can now proceed through the city’s planning process.

Kevin P. Rice, a San Luis Obispo resident and frequent City Council critic, repeatedly hinted to the council in past months that he would challenge their vote should they pass the override. In November he began organizing a committee to launch a referendum.

On Friday, Rice said he had changed his mind, partly because he is no longer sure where the Airport Land Use Commission stands.

“Many additional permitting and approval hurdles will have to be overcome before homes can actually be built,” said Rice in an email. “We have elected to participate in those processes and bring light to development projects that will compromise the safety and health of residents and air travelers.”

Both the airport commission and the Caltrans Division of Aeronautics have implied that they will take legal action against a City Council decision to overrule the airport commission’s findings.

“If Caltrans feels so strongly about it, they will bring litigation,” Rice said.

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