At a recent Airport Advisory Committee Meeting, Mr. Robert Kemp of Aviation Technologies Limited, based out of Reno, gave a presentation to a standing room only crowd. His "VISION 2000" for Douglas County is to bring in a technology firm to maintain and develop prototype 13,000-pound gross weight aircraft. These aircraft are supposedly quieter than the current aircraft using Tahoe-Minden Airport.
Positioning himself as "Our Savior" Mr. Kemp cautioned that growth is coming to Douglas County and that he will lead us down the right road to embrace this growth. I do not claim to know all the answers, but quality of life, property values, and the danger of these very large aircraft are a very real threat. As a concerned citizen, I feel that every taxpayer and voter in Douglas County must pay special attention to what our county commissioners intend to do with the Minden-Tahoe Airport.
The residents around the airport not only coexist with the General Aviation Airport, but thoroughly enjoy the glider planes that operate in an airspace that is unique to this area and found in very few places throughout the world. We also enjoy the hot air balloons and small aircraft that grace our skies. We do not want these entities forced out of their airspace in favor of corporate or commercial traffic.
In the name of growth, the Carson Valley basin would be sacrificed for the good of a privileged few who see dollars floating within their reach. The residents of this valley will pay a horrendous price for this "vision." As a unified group, we must fight and demand that our voices be heard and not drowned out by special interest groups who have a total disregard for the people living in the Carson Valley basin.
I have spoken to several commissioners who have assured me that the current weight limit will stay as mandated and cannot, now or in the future, be changed without voter approval.
If the weight limit is changed, it will nullify the current voter mandated limit of 50,000-pound gross weight limit. If this occurs, you will see aircraft landing that are carrying 200-300 passengers, that Mr. Kemp claims will only be brought in on turbo propped planes, but this alone will also open the door to commercial jet aircraft.
The weight limit change staying as of now does not, however, mean that this fight is over. This issue will continue to haunt us. It will not just go away. Become involved! Go to the commission meetings, research and support citizens groups fighting this unwanted expansion. Bigger planes will not mean that as Carson Valley residents, you will be able to catch a flight here instead of Reno. That is not what this growth is all about. It is about companies, corporations and profit.
Please keep our airport what it currently is, a light industrial, non-polluting entity.