SAN JOSE (KRON) — Santa Clara County last year acted to stop accepting new federal grants for Reid-Hillview Airport, a first step to closing the embattled general aviation facility in east San Jose.
But in a letter to the county, the FAA wrote:
“….We strongly oppose the closure of Reid Hillview Airport. The FAA would like for the board to revisit the airport’s functional importance and consider alternatives that would enhance airport safety concerns….”
Not surprised by the letter is county roads and airports director Harry Freitas.
“Not at all, I mean the Federal Aviation Administration is interested in the operation of the aviation system in the United States and Reid-Hillview is apart of that,” Freitas said. “But we have a responsibility to the community to evaluate whether or not it’s the right use for Santa Clara County.”
The FAA letter argued that closing Reid Hillview would adversely impact other general aviation airports, which are already physically constrained and may find it difficult to absorb air traffic currently served by Reid Hillview.
Again, Freitas comments.
“There’s a robust series of airports in this area,” he said. “There’s a number of airports in the Bay Area.”
Although it was here first, the airport is now surrounded by homes, a school and a shopping center.
Neighbors complain about the noise.
The FAA letter was also critical of signage and other safety measures that are not up to its standards.
Despite the FAA’s expected opposition, the county will continue to explore other uses for the airport and it’s possible closure.
“And we expect to go and have some community meetings in December and January,” Freitas said. “And then take that land use plan to the board in February of 2020.”