Appeals to Gov.-Elect to Intervene in Development
An admiral's letter to Schwarzenegger suggests that a new city planned for Tejon Ranch be relocated so it won't disrupt flight training.
By Daryl Kelley, Times Staff Writer
October 23, 2003
Excerpted from the Los Angeles Times
Fearing that construction of a new city on Tejon Ranch would end low-level training flights from six military bases, a top Defense Department official has taken the unusual step of asking Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger to intervene in the development of the proposed 23,000-home community, and perhaps move it from the Tehachapi Mountains to the southern San Joaquin Valley.
Navy Rear Adm. J.L. Betancourt, writing on behalf of military services in California, said that development of the new city of Centennial, near Gorman, would interfere with the training of Navy, Marine and Air Force combat pilots and would likely have "severe impacts" on the nation's military readiness.
"The proposed Centennial development underlies a number of military training routes crucial to maintaining highly perishable pilot skills necessary for safe execution of one of the most demanding phases of a combat mission," Betancourt said Tuesday in an e-mail to Schwarzenegger.
Betancourt requested that Schwarzenegger's statewide planning office devise a regional strategy to consider Centennial and two other projects planned on sprawling Tejon Ranch along Interstate 5 in Kern and Los Angeles counties. A new law gives that office expanded powers in resolving development disputes related to the military.
Environment Now's Myerson, who is overseeing a detailed study of Tejon Ranch, said the military's objections created a rare opportunity for environmentalists to work with the Department of Defense to create a better project.
"Oftentimes, we don't find enough in common between our two perspectives, and this is certainly one instance where there is a lot of commonality," he said. "Nobody is trying to halt development. It's just a matter of where the development is most appropriate."