The flight path of some jets is still heading directly over Escalon … and city councilman Ed Alves is hoping to do something about it.
After a meeting with Stockton Airport and FAA officials to outline concerns about the flight pattern a couple of years ago, there seemed to be some relief. Now, though, Alves said that he has seen an increase in the Allegiant jets and Amazon carriers flying low over the city on their approach to the Stockton facility.
“Their bottom line is simple, money talks,” Alves said of his frustration in trying to keep the planes from the path that takes them low and interferes with the “quality of life” in the community.
“The meeting we had with the FAA was set up by our then-Congressman Jeff Denham,” Alves added. He said while the federal officials listened and heard the complaints, they promised another meeting … which still hasn’t happened yet.
“I think we’re going to get a petition, signed, by as many people as we can, and present it to the Board of Supervisors,” Alves said of starting the battle again. “To say I’m frustrated would be an understatement.”
The council as a whole voiced concerns when the expansion plans for the Stockton Airport were unveiled and though Alves said they did air those concerns at the county level, the expansion has moved forward.
“We were here way before the airports ever were,” Alves said, adding that he feels the expansion “will ruin this Valley” and see the current growth in Tracy and Manteca abruptly stop.
And the councilman said he also has heard some complaints for residents in nearby communities, including Oakdale and Riverbank, which are also seeing not only an increase in plane traffic but are also being impacted by the low-flying patterns.
He pointed to a decrease in property values and air quality concerns as main issues.
“I don’t have all the answers,” Alves admitted. “But I want to do what’s best for the city.”
He’s hopeful that discussions can resume and some workable solution – whether it’s re-routing the planes slightly so they don’t approach over the heart of the city – can be worked out in the near future.