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Airport

Rancho Murieta Airport was the first community development, 40 years ago.

After years on the market, Rancho Murieta Airport has been sold by the estate of businessman Fred Anderson.

The new owner is Bradley F. Beer, who sent a letter of introduction to airport tenants May 15.  In the letter, Beer, identified as the new president of the Rancho Murieta Airport Corp., said he has been a private pilot for many years, and he wants to keep the airport as an aviation facility. 

“I want to see general aviation preserved, not only for the present but the future,” he wrote.

Several telephone messages were left for Beer over two days, requesting an interview, but he has not returned the calls.

In April, a Community Services District committee received a report on a boundary line adjustment proposed as part of the sale of the airport.  The buyer was listed as the Beer Family Trust.  The change added 33 acres to the western side of the airport, taking land zoned as agricultural reserve and adding it to the airport property, bringing the airport transaction to about 100 acres.

In 2006, Murieta businessman John Sullivan proposed building 20 high-end, aviation-related residences on about 8.5 acres on the west side of the airport.  Earlier this week, Sullivan said the airport sale would force changes to his project plans.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved the site as an airport in 1969, and the state granted an operations permit for daytime use the following year. The runway, 75 feet wide and 3,800 feet long, was the first piece of Rancho Murieta’s development.

In the 1980s, under a state permit, nighttime operations began.

The airport's night operations permit was suspended in 2001 for safety reasons related to trees growing near the runway. The airport cut or trimmed the trees on its property, but the county refused to cut down the ones on its property, parkland along the Cosumnes River and parallel to the runway.

The airport seemed to be facing complete shutdown when the tree issue came before the county Board of Supervisors in 2002, but the threat to day operations was addressed by the county's decision to cut down 10 trees at the end of the runway. At subsequent hearings in 2002 and 2003, local pilots and airport business operators spoke in support of removing the trees necessary for the restoration of night operations. An airport representative told the supervisors a possible sale of the airport hinged on having 24-hour operations.

In 2004, the airport took legal action against the county to have trees removed. The airport won a court ruling in 2005 and the county lost its appeal of the decision.

The county acquiesced in 2008 and cut down about 150 trees.

Fred Anderson, the founder of Pacific Coast Building Products, died in 1997.  He was a regional philanthropist who helped to put Rancho Murieta on the map by sponsoring the Sacramento International Airshow and sporting events.

After his death, the family trust made unsuccessful efforts to sell the airport and offered it to county and state agencies with the goal of keeping it an airport.  A possible sale went into escrow at least once before, in 2005, but came to nothing.

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