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Plane Progress Made

Escalon could be getting some relief from low-flying planes.

A Monday night meeting, Nov. 13, saw some city officials, a couple of council members, a Stockton Municipal airport official, representatives from the FAA and more gather for the session at Escalon City Hall.

Councilman Ed Alves, a driving force behind seeking action on the low-flying planes over the city, said he came out of the session feeling positive.

“They said they were willing to mitigate it,” Alves noted of airport officials. “I told them I don’t want to mitigate it, I want to stop it.”

At issue, he said, is the air pollution and noise pollution due to low-flying planes, coming in low over the city as they approach the Stockton airport.

“They have taken our town and turned it upside down,” Alves said of a major increase in air traffic over the city. “We want it back.”

Discussions have been ongoing for months and the city has had previous meetings with airport and FAA officials but the Monday night session was a coordinated effort to put some mitigating efforts in motion.

Escalon City Manager Tammy Alcantor agreed with Alves that some positive steps were taken.

“The FAA was very open to ideas and trying to work to a solution for it,” Alcantor said. “Right now we have the noise abatement in place from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. and they are looking at potentially expanding those hours.”

Also possible is expansion of a one nautical mile ‘no fly’ zone around the city that could take planes further out and keep them from being directly overhead.

Alves said the quality of life in the community has suffered because of the constant traffic from the planes, spewing fumes and noise, many of which are carrying packages as opposed to passengers.

Alves and Mayor Jeff Laugero were at the meeting to represent the Escalon City Council. Citizen representatives Gracie Marx and Gary Haskin were in attendance, as were Alcantor and Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges. County Supervisor Chuck Winn and Mike Anderson from Congressman Jeff Denham’s office were there as well. Deputy Director Ron Elliott represented the Stockton Municipal Airport and four representatives from the FAA were on hand.

“The FAA wanted to keep it a small meeting,” Alcantor said of having a good give and take session regarding the city’s concerns and the airport’s desire to continue to expand.

Additional topics discussed included plane altitude, the possible installation of a beacon to help guide them, the use of landmarks as they approach the Stockton airport to alleviate the need for flying over the city and more.

“I think the meeting went fairly well,” Alves said. “It was about a two-hour session.”

Alcantor said the FAA planned to take all the concerns under advisement and develop a game plan, reporting back in about 45 days. At that time, she said, the entire City Council will be updated on the progress with the plane issue.