Posted by: Patricia Salkin | February 16, 2015

CA Fair Political Practices Commission Opines That Planning Commissioners and Staff Who Own Property in Proposed Airport Overlay Zone Were Not Prohibited From Participating in Discussions about the Proposal

Deputy Community Development Director Kim Murry, Planning Commissioner John Fowler and Planning Commissioner Michael Draze owned properties located within the San Luis Obispo County, and there was a development proposal for an Airport Overlay Zone which included a noise sensitive land use requirement, a prohibition to activities that may be hazardous to flight operations and a requirement to disclose a notice of the airport and aircraft over flights in the deeds to their property.

In addressing each official’s interest individually, the California Fair Political Practices Commission found that Ms. Murry’s ownership of a residence within the current Airport Overlay Zone was already subject to state disclosure laws which required property owners to advise buyers that their property was in an airport zone, and that the prohibition on activities that were hazardous to flight operations were very similar to prohibitions already contained in the Airport Land Use Plan. The commission further found that the proposed developments to a ranch located approximately one-half of a mile from Murry’s property would not result in any changes to the character of her neighborhood such as traffic, view, or noise and the change to a creek side area located within 500 feet of Murry’s property would not have a measurable impact on Murry’s property because the property was buffered by existing homes.

In regards to Commissioner Fowler’s property, the commission found that the underlying zoning of Fowler’s property would not change for the same reasons discussed with respect to Murry’s property, and a developed area significantly buffered that Fowler’s property.

The Commission concluded by finding the creation of the Airport Overlay Zone would not have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on Commissioner Draze’s property because his property was nearly one mile away from the nearest area proposed for development, and only a small portion of that area was within the Airport Overlay Zone. In addition, the Commission found that Draze’s commercial condominiums were not within the city limits and would have to be annexed before the city would controls its land use. For these reasons, the commission found that the parties would not be prohibited from participating in government decisions regarding the creation of the Airport Overlay Zone.

Anne. M. Russell, CA FPPC adv. A-14-166A, 2014 WL 5149934 (10/3/2014)

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