Community outcry grows over airport terminal expansion

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SAN DIEGO -- San Diego International Airport's Terminal One is 50 years old and headed for a makeover, but that $3 billion plan is one some residents want grounded.

Leaders representing communities surrounding Lindbergh Field and people who live under airport flight paths are speaking out against a recently released environmental report on the expansion of Terminal One.

Residents say the project threatens their neighborhoods, leaving them with more traffic, more noise and more air pollution, and offers little in the way of plans to eliminate or minimize these negative impacts.

“Here’s an example coming right now," said Robert Jackson, a Peninsula Community Planning Board representative, as a plane flew over the path of our interview with him Wednesday. "This will probably affect thousands of people, this plane overhead.”

Jackson, who lives in Point Loma, is one of many who says the new report does not include community input. He says it lists numerous potential impacts that it calls "significant and unavoidable."

“I don’t think you can box out the community and not consider everybody that lives around the airport and their quality of life also,” said Jackson.

FOX 5 spoke to San Diego Airport Authority Board Chair, April Boling, about the residents' concerns. Boling says the Authority is constantly working to mitigate the impact daily, related to the expansion or otherwise.

Boling also shared an official statement:

"The Airport Authority hears and understands the concerns of the community regarding traffic and noise around San Diego International Airport. For the last year and a half, we have been working with regional agencies on ways to improve airport access. The Airport Authority stands ready to contribute its share of the cost for any road or rail improvements, as allowed by the FAA. The most important thing is that the replacement of the 50-year-old Terminal 1 move forward as quickly as possible.

Regarding noise concerns, the Airport Authority takes the matter of aircraft noise very seriously. SAN is committed to being a good neighbor to those who live and/or work near the airport. We work cooperatively with the FAA, the airlines and our neighbors to mitigate the impacts of aircraft noise to the greatest extent possible."

She says the airport authority has no choice but to expand the terminal to meet the increasing customer demand.

“We understand the situation, we’re all for progress and improving the airport but work with the community and see what we can do to make it a win-win for everybody,” Jackson said in response.

The initial phase of Terminal One is scheduled to open in 2023 with 22 gates, and eight more gates would be added three years later.

The final environmental report would be certified and approved by the end of this year with the Coastal Commission review in 2019.

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