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The Madera Tribune

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Letter: What were they thinking about that city runway?

January 1, 2020

Eminent Domain is a process of taking property by a public entity for public use. This is done with compensation to the owner. Might not be to their liking, but they ARE compensated. What do they call the taking of public property by a developer without compensation to the government? Shady at the best. Over the course of a few years, a couple of developers conspired with both the County and City of Madera to pave the way for development next to the Madera Airport. This development would violate the existing Airport Master Plan and the Land Use Plan of both the city and county. So how do you proceed? Simple, you change those plans, which they did. 

 

These changes resulted in the need to close our east-west runway along Avenue 16. This runway was a restricted runway used for agricultural aircraft and when the main runway was under maintenance. It could also be used for operations when the wind was excessive for safe operations with a wind called a “cross wind.” 

 

Without notifying tenants of the airport, the “new” airport and Land Use Plans were adopted. A study was made for a new fire station. The study, which cost money, recommended a piece of property in the approach zone of the runway to the west, runway 25.

 

Construction was begun and this runway was, and still is, open. The city just announced the closure of this runway effective February 2020. Cart before the horse or by cunning design? 

 

Now, $6 million has been spent on a fire station in an approach zone. So what do we do? Well we have to close the runway. The city apologizes, says decisions were made by previous people who are not here any longer. Tooley, Boyle and now Fleming. OK, water under the bridge, but how much is a runway worth? A clear path is now open for village "D," which will eventually bring 5,000 homes to an area south of Avenue 16 to the river and west of Road 23 between Avenue 16 and Avenue 17. 

 

Five thousand homes and 12,000 vehicles! How is that traffic going to be managed? How is the sewage going to be managed. Who pays? This brings me back to "How Much Is That Runway Worth?" Shouldn’t the city get “just compensation?" None of this would be possible if that runway wasn’t closed. Why would the city instigate this? 

 

For the fire station? Don’t think so. The city once owned this property, but sold it. Owned property across from the sheriff’s office. Ignored this property, bought back this other property (for a loss) and built the fire station recommended by a study that cost $150,000 in an approach zone! 

 

This is “good ole boy” politics at its best. Like has been said in the past. Just be thankful we aren’t getting all the government we are paying for.

 

— Bill Hoffrage,

 

Madera

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