As a pilot based at Watsonville since 1980, I am shocked at the Watsonville council’s decision to close the crosswind runway. The dissenting four council members (Montesino, Salcido, Quiroz-Carter and Orozco) voted against a compromise that would have retained the cross wind runway AND provided additional future housing potential. Watsonville Planning estimated that 2245 units could be developed by shortening the crosswind runway and that an additional 520 units (20%) might be possible if the runway was closed. But ‘potential’ isn’t certain. That housing may never be built, but the runway closure will be final. The funds for the compromise would be paid by the airport. Closing the runway will cost the city $1.5 million dollars. The three council members who voted in favor of the compromise were: Parker, Dutra and Clark. They understood the impact that closing the runway will have on safety and economic growth. The runway compromise, created five years ago, is supported by the FAA, Caltrans, AOPA and the Watsonville Pilots Association.

Jeremy S. Lezin

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA.


  1. Firstly, getting rid of crosswind runway or even parts of it to build housing is nuts.
    Think of all the new housing being built off Freedom Blvd and Miles Lane.
    Then think about the thousands of additional people being housed in the 2245 units the city council is dreaming of. I think the council is only dreaming about the Benjamin’s they’ll get in taxes to the city and not how life in Watsonville will be more difficult with traffic, schools and safety at airport without the full sidewind runway when we have extreme weather, and that runway is needed to avoid crashes. I hope city has liability insurance for the crashes that will occur without the safety of the side runway. If Watsonville council thinks building 2245 units at airport will make Watsonville great, think again. How many schools would have to be built and how much more would PVUSD ask. They’re already asking for 195 to 500 million. It’s total insanity.

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    • Hey Pa I noticed that posts that do not conform to the happiness of a story are being deleted again. Hmmmmm so much for free speech

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      • I’ve had a few deleted. No worries though, I’ll just write more as I see fit. We have council members that don’t have a good thought process making decisions that are not going to benefit the city as a whole. I shudder to think of 2245 more housing units. The traffic will be even worse, new schools would have to be built and who is going to vote for increasing insane school district requests for more money. Also, city departments like police, water, fire and garbage will have to hire more personnel to cover the proposed influx of people who would live in this housing. Seniors like me are on a limited income and we can’t cover the increasing property taxes to pay for all these issues. Most people I know are voting no on any new tax bond requests.

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  2. I too am horrified by this decision. It drastically weakens our region’s ability to be nimble and protect residents in the event of a disaster and compromises vital infrastructure. What can we do about it? Do residents have any recourse to reverse this shortsighted error?

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