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Air-Cargo Idea Loses Vote by San Diego Planners

May 27, 2000|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — A plan to transform a struggling municipal airport into a major air-cargo facility has suffered a setback with a San Diego Planning Commission vote against the proposal's environmental impact report.

The commission voted 3-1 late Thursday to reject the report, citing inadequate information and concerns over a lack of full disclosure from developers.

The decision, however, has only minimal impact because four votes were needed to represent a majority of the panel. Three commission members withdrew from voting because of potential conflicts of interest.

The decision also is only a recommendation to the San Diego City Council, which is scheduled to consider the Brown Field proposal on June 26.

Brown Field, which lies just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, has struggled financially over the last decade.

Developers have proposed transforming the former military field into a cargo airport with a new, $250-million runway that could accommodate the large jets that carry heavy freight. Supporters say it would create 11,500 jobs and gross $750 million a year.

Opponents say an air-cargo facility would create noise, traffic and safety problems for residential neighborhoods, which are growing rapidly in the region.

Project supporters argue that San Diego needs the facility to capture a portion of the lucrative air-cargo market that goes to Los Angeles-area airports.

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