SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB
DATE: October 1, 2003
CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108
AIRPORT AVERTED: RURAL RAMONA DROPPED FROM LIST OF POTENTIAL SITES
RAMONA - San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and residents in the community of Ramona are breathing a sigh of relief today after the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority removed the small rural town from its list of potential sites for an international airport.
"This is truly good news for Ramona residents who have lived with the stress of having their town on the list for far too long," said Supervisor Jacob. "It's been a source of frustration and confusion for residents. We are all thankful that the roar of jet aircraft won't destroy the community character of Ramona," Jacob said.
For more than a year, Jacob and residents have been fighting to keep the international airport out of the Ramona area, arguing that the proposed site- acres of native grasslands on the west side of the country town- was an inappropriate location for a sprawling commercial airport project.
Ramona is home to an important air attack base used by the California Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forestry Service. Jacob has said that an international airport would compromise the ability to fight fires in the Back Country.
Many opponents of the Ramona site, including Jacob, testified before the Airport Authority in public hearings over the last year.
"Anyone who knows Ramona and has driven to Ramona knows that the cost of building freeways, rail, water, sewer and other infrastructure would be astronomical, if not impossible," Jacob told members of the Airport Authority at a board meeting in July of 2002. "An international airport in Ramona, a community 40 miles from the County's population base, would ruin this community and all the rural areas from Lakeside and Poway leading to Ramona."
As the town remained on the list after several rounds of cuts, Ramona residents formed the grassroots group, Ramona Citizens Against the Airport (RCAA), to speak out against the site.
"Members of RCAA are to be commended for their unfailing opposition," Jacob said. "They knew how ridiculous it was to have the town on the list and they never stopped speaking out against the project."