FAIRFIELD — Travis Air Force Base is Solano County's largest employer. More than 34,000 people live and work at the base generating more than $2 billion each year for the local economy.
But there's concern that future development near the base could threaten its future.
Travis AFB is often called the military's gateway to the Pacific — an area of growing strategic concern. Its fleet of C-5 and C-17 planes carries more cargo and troops than any other military air terminal in the United States.
"We've all heard innumerable reports about how vital it is to our national defense," said county Supervisor Mitch Mashburn.
Now, the county Board of Supervisors is taking new steps to help the base continue its mission for decades to come. This week, they voted to restrict development on the currently vacant land surrounding the base.
Military bases like Travis can generate noise 24 hours a day, and more development could generate more complaints and calls to close the base. The goal is to allow for future growth of the air base and long-term compatibility in the community.
Many people who live and work near Travis support the plan.
"They probably should just leave it vacant, otherwise, it's just going to be a mess like everywhere else," one community member told CBS13.
Under the new zoning rules, the land can only be used for agriculture without a special permit.
Suisun City Mayor Alma Hernandez said her town had been considering the vacant land for future growth and to generate more tax revenue to help get the city out of its current financial crisis.
"I'm here to advocate for Suisun City and future leadership to bring the right project to this area, a project that can be an asset to the base," Mayor Hernandez said.
Developers already own some of the property and have been trying to plan for future projects.
"We want to make sure we don't impair Travis' mission in any way, shape, or form," said Joe Livaich of Buzz Oates Development.
But now this area will be protected for years to come. The new rules still allow using the land for grazing or crop production.
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