Quincy Community Service District says no to FAA’s directive to cut down trees

Laura Beaton
Staff Writer

  When Plumas County’s director of facilities/airports Joe Wilson presented Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) obstruction removal construction plans for Quincy Community Services District board approval Oct. 11, the board replied with a resounding “No.”

  The plan calls for removing five trees on QCSD property that violate FAA obstruction regulations for airports.

  Wilson explained that the FAA periodically assesses airports to be sure they meet safety regulations.

  Because the nature of trees is to grow, they must frequently be trimmed or removed to ensure a clear field of vision for pilots.

  The FAA plan calls for three “obstruction light poles” to be installed to the north of the runway, approximately in line with Spanish Creek Rd.

  Two 35-foot light poles and one 52-foot light pole are to be strategically placed to alert pilots of the danger of the hillside to the north of the airport.

  Additionally, the FAA plan calls for removing five trees on QCSD property that have encroached on the visibility clearance limitations.

  “That’s a bunch of hooey,” said board chairman Jim Bequette. He said he has flown in and out of the airport for years and never had problem.

  Board members said everyone knows the mountain is there and to any of their recollections, there has never been an accident on account of the mountainside or visibility restrictions due to encroaching trees.

  “It’s another case of Big Brother coming in and telling us what to do. It doesn’t sit right,” said director Dick Castaldini.

  The board made a motion to send the proposal back to the FAA with a request for an alternate plan. The motion passed unanimously. Director Denny Churchill was absent.

  A couple hours later, Wilson returned with good news. After many phone calls, he received tentative approval by the FAA to leave the trees standing and instead move the tallest light to a more advantageous location.

Other news

  David Keller, executive director of Plumas County Community Development Commission told the board he received notification of a $10,000 community development block grant award.

  The state-funded grant is earmarked for an income study on American Valley residents to determine their qualification status for future grant monies.

  The award was given jointly to QCSD and East Quincy Services District.

  As Keller told the EQSD board earlier in the week, the funds can only be utilized if the Board of Supervisors has assurance from both boards that they will work together in a collaborative good-faith effort to solve the valley’s sewage problems.

  Director Doug Ely said, “It behooves us to get in with our friends over the hill.” The other directors agreed and the appropriate motion was made and passed.

  General manager Larry Sullivan gave a progress report on the wastewater rehabilitation project.

  Despite innumerable unforeseen obstacles, such as huge blobs of concrete, unmapped pipes, mining and construction debris and more, the project is continuing apace.

  Caltrans mandates all paving projects be completed by Nov. 11, before the cold, rainy season begins.

  Eric Marshall, project engineer for contractor PACE engineering, estimates the total project to be 48 percent complete.

  Marshall said the main sewer line is 70 – 80 percent complete.   QCSD acknowledges the disruption to customers’ lives during construction, but asks for patience.

  The board said the project must be completed in order to achieve a functioning wastewater collection system that meets current industry and state regulations.

  Board meetings are scheduled for the second Thursday of the month at 9 a.m.

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