Editorial: Eyes on Minden airport
Minden-Tahoe Airport appears to be next in the long line of Douglas County entities to be examined and analyzed with an eye toward “vision” – as in a long-term plan that will result in cohesive and financially logical development.
Such plans sound like a nice idea, but leaders need to first ask themselves if such a plan will answer the underlying questions that led a temporary committee to recommend it.
The committee was created to look at the relationship between airplane weight and size and determine whether changes in the current weight ordinance were in order. A review of a possible protective zone to ensure compatible growth around the airport was also scheduled.
The committee didn’t do any of those things. Instead, a concerned and vocal group of residents hijacked the group’s meetings and used the time to disseminate their very worst fears and rumors about what could happen if the airport grows. The committee members essentially threw up their hands and took an easy exit.
People have the right to ask questions and challenge policies that affect them. But by dominating the committee’s discussions, they stifled meaningful debate. No answers to the underlying questions were suggested, let alone considered.
This is not the way to craft aviation policy. Airport managers have been told to make the airport self-sufficient, and that means answering those questions. Those questions were raised in good faith, not, as some residents have suggested, as part of a secret agenda.
The best vision plan in the world won’t make a difference if these issues aren’t addressed. The eventual outcomes won’t please everyone, but if a meaningful plan is to emerge, this process needs to happen. We hope it will be marked by intelligent, factual debate, not the hysteria and conspiracy theories that we’ve heard so far.