Two San Diego City Council members kicked off a petition drive Monday to oppose the proposal that Lindbergh Field be replaced with a new civilian international airport at Miramar Naval Air Station.
The proposal is one of several being examined by the San Diego Assn. of Goverments (Sandag) as part of a $300,000 study of where to build an international airport to replace the aging, landlocked Lindbergh.
Other proposals suggested by Sandag committees include building an international airport east of Miramar or at the U. S.-Mexican border. The Miramar proposal calls for either combining operations with the military, which trains its “Top Gun” jet fighters at the base, or displacing the Navy altogether from the station.
San Diego City Council members Ed Struiksma and Judy McCarty said they are launching their petition drive to show the overwhelming opposition to a civilian Miramar airport from people in the nearby neighborhoods, which include Tierrasanta, Mira Mesa, Allied Gardens, Scripps Ranch and Serra Mesa.
McCarty, who represents Tierrasanta and Allied Gardens, said she objects to the Miramar proposal because it would severely limit or push out Navy jet operations.
“I think you have to remember that the Navy is important to the nation’s defense and that they are certainly important to our local economy,” she said.
McCarty said the Navy works with local communities affected by booming jet noise by limiting operations during the night, something that wouldn’t happen with a 24-hour commercial airport.
Both council members stressed that a civilian airport at Miramar would exacerbate traffic problems on Interstate 15, which borders the naval air station, and add to the commercial and industrial development in the area.
Struiksma, who represents Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa, said he and McCarty have met several times with community leaders near Miramar and that there is strong “grass-roots” opposition to putting an airport at the Navy base. If need be, Struiksma said, he will seek a citywide referendum vote to defeat such a move.
“If necessary, I would be more than willing to take this to a vote, because I believe the quality of life in the nearby neighborhoods would be devastated by changing the operation from a military function to a commercial operation,” he said.
Struiksma said the petition drive will continue until next fall, when Sandag is expected to release its final recommendation on building a new airport.