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Complaint against county over airport

A complaint was filed against Nevada County Thursday by Airport Preservation Ad-hoc Committee members who allege mismanagement of the Nevada County Airport caused them to suffer financial damage.

AirPAC president Ben Nowland announced the filing of the complaint – known as a Part 16 complaint – with the Federal Aviation Administration at Thursday night’s Nevada County Airport Commission meeting.

The complainants named are Alpine Aviation owner Gordon Mills, Guy Prescott, Arnold Adicoff and Colyn Case.



The complaint alleges misappropriation of FAA funds, violation of FAA grant assurances, and failure to resolve issues at the airport raised by AirPAC, which Nowland said led to temporary closure of the airport and financial damage to users due to noncompliance with FAA safety regulations.

The complaint alleges failure to remove trees encroaching on flight patterns, the county’s creation of an illegal landfill at the airport, and failure to pay fair market value to the Airport Enterprise Fund for the county Department of Transportation’s encroachment on airport property identified as Lot 6.




“It’s time, we’ve decided, since the county can’t and won’t resolve these issues, to give the FAA the opportunity, if they choose, to adjudicate these issues,” Nowland said.

“To my knowledge, there has never been a successful Part 16 complaint filed against a general aviation airport,” said Airport Manager Gary Petersen. “I would be very surprised if the complaint has merit.”

In an update on the airport’s FAA compliance work plan at Thursday’s meeting, Petersen said the majority of the airport’s compliance issues have been resolved.

Petersen said FAA compliance officer Howard Yoshioka was “very satisfied” with work done at the airport and pleased that issues were being resolved so quickly.

Petersen said many other airports have failed to resolve similar issues. “We’re well on our way to resolving all issues,” he said.

The matter will be put on the next Airport Commission meeting agenda for further discussion.


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