Development Near Travis Tops Solano County Supervisors’ Agenda

A prohibition on commercial wind and solar developments near a new Assault Landing Zone at Travis Air Force Base will likely be extended until next year.For now, future wind and solar developments have have been put on hold in the unincorporated areas of Solano County in order to do more research and planning on potential impacts to operations at Travis Air Force Base and agriculture in the area.

The Solano County Board of Supervisors will consider extending the 45-day interim ordinance to 10 months and 15 days or until Oct. 18, 2014 during a public hearing on Tuesday.

The ordinance prohibits “the establishment of any commercial wind turbine generator, commercial solar energy facility or wireless communication facility” in the unincorporated areas of the county.

The board’s initial decision was in response to the possible impacts to Travis’ radar operations and the new C-17 Assault Landing Zone resulting from new commercial-scale wind and solar energy development, as well as wireless communication facilities in the county, staff said in a report to the board.

At issue is a new Assault Landing Zone at Travis Air Force Base where pilots train to land on short, unpaved runways for combat situations.

There are concerns about turbine height in wind farms relative to the base’s new landing zone. Additionally, there are concerns with glint, glare and radar operations when it comes to solar development near the base.

During a meeting in November, Supervisor Jim Spering adamantly advocated that there should be no types of development near the base or that will impact Travis.

Spering, who also serves on the Regional Airport Planning Committee, told his colleagues that the No.1 issue the committee faces is encroachment, and it being incremental.

“We ought to be talking about a clear zone where nothing is added,” he said. “We ought to be talking how to preserve this area and it should be extreme. … Take a look at the extreme approach. Amend the general plan and keep that area clear.”

Additionally, staff noted that the Airport Land Use Commission has determined that wireless communication facilities below 200 feet above ground level and collocations do not conflict with proposed updates to the Travis Land Use Compatibility Plan.

The commission has begun, according to staff, to consider potential measure to protect the landing zone at Travis and the board of supervisors has taken some initial steps to update the Travis Land Use Compatibility Plan.

The Board of Supervisors meets at 9 a.m. in the County Government Center, 675 Texas St., Fairfield.

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