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McClellan-Palomar Airport


On Oct. 23, 2018, City Council met in closed session to discuss potential litigation. Following the closed session discussion, the City Attorney provided the following report.

“City Council met in closed session this morning with the City Attorney and outside counsel.  Counsel presented a lengthy list of actions that the city could take to ensure that San Diego County respects our residents and the city‘s rights with respect to the McClellan Palomar Airport. Among the options presented, the City Council chose the most aggressive approach and directed the lawyers to pursue a multi-pronged strategy to protect the city’s legal rights. The City Council directed the lawyers to file a legal challenge to the approval of the Master Plan and certification of the Program EIR unless the County agrees to extend the deadline for the city to file suit and also to pursue a creative and forceful strategy to supplement the litigation. Notwithstanding its decision, the City Council made it clear that the door is always open to a negotiated resolution, should the county change its approach to the city and its residents’ interests."

 The City Council vote was:

for: C. Schumacher, M. Schumacher and K. Blackburn 
against:  M. Hall and M. Packard


Resolution of Intention 

On Oct. 16, 2018, City Council passed Resolution of Intention 2018-182 to initiate a zoning ordinance amendment to limit airport and airport supporting uses to the existing McClellan-Palomar Airport property. Specifically, the amendment would allow airport and airport supporting uses with approval of a conditional use permit only within the McClellan-Palomar Airport property boundaries and would prohibit such uses in all other zones and on all other properties within the city. 

The City Council passed the resolution unanimously. 

Currently, city staff is processing applications as necessary to implement City Council’s direction. These applications would amend the Zoning Ordinance, Zoning Map, and Local Coastal Program. The amendments will require noticed Planning Commission and City Council public hearings to be considered for approval. Drafts of the proposed amendments are provided below:

Please keep in mind that project details at this early stage could change because of further staff and public review and comment.

Staff also mailed an early public notice to property owners surrounding the airport advising of the City Council’s action and the processing of land use applications. 

For more information or to provide input on the proposed amendments, please contact: 

Scott Donnell, Senior Planner
scott.donnell@carlsbadca.gov or 760-602-4618
City of Carlsbad Planning Division
1635 Faraday Ave., Carlsbad, CA 92008

Master Plan Approval 

At its meeting on Oct. 10, 2018, the County Board of Supervisors took the following actions related to the Airport Master Plan for McClellan-Palomar Airport:

  • Certified the final environmental document
  • Approved the McClellan-Palomar Airport Master Plan Update
  • Selected the D-III alternative design, which allows for a runway extension up to 800 feet 
  • Adopted findings for mitigation of significant environmental impacts
  • Adopted a statement of location and custodian of record
  • Adopted a decision and explanation regarding recirculation of the draft environmental document
  • Adopted a program for mitigation monitoring and reporting

The Board of Supervisors also directed County staff to return with an ordinance amending the appointment process for members of the Palomar Airport Advisory Committee to allow the Carlsbad City Council to submit a recommended appointee for consideration by the District 5 Supervisor.

The Board further directed County staff to work with the City of Carlsbad to strengthen the airport’s Voluntary Noise Abatement Program and to actively monitor complaints and enforce noise violations. City of Carlsbad staff prepared a memo summarizing the action taken by the County Board of Supervisors. Video of the Board of Supervisors hearing is available on the County of San Diego website. 

Prior to that in June and July 2018,  the County of San Diego recirculated portions of the environmental document for the Airport Master Plan based on input received during the initial release of the document for public review. The City of Carlsbad submitted comment letters on both the original and recirculated portions of the Airport Master Plan environmental document. The County of San Diego provided responses to the city's comments. 

Additionally, the Carlsbad City Council received a presentation at their Sept. 11, 2018 meeting from the law firm of Kaplan, Kirsch and Rockwell and directed staff to work with the County of San Diego to identify specific actions that will be taken to improve the working relationship between the county and the city, and to address community concerns regarding McClellan-Palomar Airport.

City of Carlsbad staff will continue to work with County of San Diego staff on the actions recommended by the City Council and will provide periodic progress updates to City Council. 

Background information

City of Carlsbad links

County of San Diego Airport Master Plan links

More information

For more information about the city's role in the airport master plan, please contact Jason Haber at 760-434-2958 or jason.haber@carlsbadca.gov.