Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan Update

Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan UpdateWhat is the Placer County Airport Land Use Commission?

One of the Placer County Transportation Agency’s (PCTPA) important responsibilities is to serve as the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) for Placer County. The ALUC is the body designated by State law to produce Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans in accordance with statutory guidance through a collaborative, community outreach process. The ALUC is responsible for adopting Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans (ALUCP) for three public use airports in Placer County: Auburn Municipal Airport, Blue Canyon Airport, and Lincoln Regional Airport.

When did the ALUCP Requirements Come into Being?

The State of California mandated that each county create an ALUC with the authority to adopt ALUCPs in 1970.  PCTPA became the ALUC for Placer County in 1997, and it adopted an ALUCP for Auburn Municipal Airport, Blue Canyon Airport, and Lincoln Regional Airport in 2000. With advances in technology, changes in airport operations and fleets, and revised guidance from the State, a new ALUCP was adopted in 2014 to replace the outdated 2000 plan. As changes continue to occur, the 2014 ALUCP is currently being updated in 2020, with adoption scheduled for late fall 2021. 

What is an Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP)?

An ALUCP is a guidance document used by local agencies to guide future land use development in the vicinity of airports that are compatible with airport operations. An ALUCP focuses on a defined area around each airport known as an Airport Influence Area. The ALUCP is comprised of noise, safety, airspace protection and overflight compatibility factors, in accordance with guidance from the California Airport Land Use Planning Handbook published by Caltrans Division of Aeronautics.

ALUCPs protect airports from encroachment by new incompatible land uses that could restrict airport operations. ALUCPs protect the safety of people on the ground and their property by providing noise and safety standards and disclosure of aircraft overflight. ALUCPs also protect aircraft in flight by managing hazards to navigable airspace, which include building/structure height limitations and restrictions on wildlife/bird activities. ALUCPs do not govern airport operations, uses on airport property, or their facility master planning. Further, the ALUC has no jurisdiction over existing land uses, regardless of whether such uses are incompatible with airport operations. 

What is the focus of the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan Update?

With the purpose of promoting safety between our airports and the communities that surround them, the ALUC is updating the ALUCP with adoption scheduled for late fall 2021. A key focus of the ALUCP update will be to update the individual plans for Auburn Municipal and Lincoln Regional Airports as both airport sponsors have recently completed airport layout plan updates.  This planning effort involves a multidisciplinary Project Development Team consisting of staff representatives from PCTPA, Caltrans Division of Aeronautics, the cities of Auburn and Lincoln, the County of Placer, and the aviation consulting firm Mead & Hunt.

A major focus of this update will be to clarify and enhance the ALUCP policies to improve local implementation of the plan by local jurisdictions. Another important product of the ALUCP effort is an updated fee structure that fairly allocates the cost of amending the ALUCP and completing ALUC compatibility reviews of proposed development. The end goal of the ALUCP update is to employ a transparent decision-making process that results in community-wide acceptance of the ALUCP and adoption by the ALUC. 

How Does the ALUCP Process Work?

Once the ALUCP has been adopted by the ALUC, local agencies with land located within the Airport Influence Area (AIA) for any of the airports must by law amend their planning documents to conform to the applicable ALUCP. 

The ALUCP designates an AIA within which compatibility factors based upon the size, layout, and operations of the airport. The ALUC reviews local agency land use projects, plans, and regulations to ensure that they are consistent with the adopted ALUCP. A local agency includes cities, the unincorporated county, school districts, or special districts (such as a parks and recreation district). Whenever these agencies undertake projects, plans, or take other regulatory actions, they refer those matters to the ALUC for a determination of consistency with the adopted ALUCP. The local agency then incorporates that determination as a condition into the project, plan, or regulations.

Do Local Agencies Have to Follow the ALUCP?

By State law, once an ALUCP is adopted, affected local agencies must modify, as applicable, their general or master plan, zoning ordinance and building regulations to be consistent with the ALUCP. Alternatively, the local agency may refer all land use projects, plans, and regulations to the ALUC for a consistency determination of each action. The local agency may choose to overrule the ALUCP entirely or in part, as well as any individual ALUC determination, if it makes certain statutory findings and notices them within a specified timeline, by a two-thirds vote of its governing body (such as a city council, board of supervisors, or school board).

How Does the ALUCP Impact Property Owners Around the Airport?

ALUCPs do not apply to existing land uses. Even if the existing uses do not meet ALUCP compatibility, they may continue to exist so long as they remain the same and no changes are proposed to those uses. ALUCPs only apply to newly proposed development of property within an AIA.

Where can I get More Information and Become Involved in the ALUCP Process?

Additional information, including the complete ALUCP for Auburn Municipal Airport, Blue Canyon Airport, and Lincoln Regional Airport is available by going to clicking on the “Airport Land Use” plane icon at the bottom of the PCTPA home web page. To be placed on an interest list for ALUCP meeting notices, offer comments or ask other questions, please e-mail

Download the article on the ALUCP Update here.