Local Bay Area TV news channels have been closely covering the clearing operations of homeless encampments sitting along the flight path of San Jose airport. SJ City official spokesperson Daniel Lazo said the airport homeless encampment is the largest clearing operations, which they need to complete before the June 30, 2022 deadline set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Otherwise, the FAA will make good on its threat to withhold SJC’s federal funding.
Currently, San Jose city officials said part of their focus is in clearing out all stolen, abandoned or burned vehicles as well as all vehicles that unlawfully entered the river trail. Prior to the clearing operations, the city had put up warning signs that stated “starting March 21, 2022, vehicles found along the trail in the 18 acres area near the Guadalupe River Trail and Columbus Park will be towed.” Written in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, city officials said the warning signs clearly stated that no vehicles are allowed.
Last Monday, the Stage 3 clearing operations between Spring and Walnut streets, where the main concentration of the homeless was located, removed hundreds of people off the land. Reports have it that seven vehicles were towed last Monday, which officials said were either in unrepairable condition or have no proper registration documents.
According to Mr. Lazo, the city government understands that towing vehicles out of the location has created a great deal of stress for many of the homeless citizens. That is why the city staff and the towing company tasked to carry out the clearing operations, have been instructed to treat the displaced people with respect and compassion.
The Rationale Behind the FAA Homeless Encampment Clearance Directive
Previously, the FAA reminded the San José City government not to allow people to live off the airport property purchased by the city using federal grants. The land is supposed to serve as a buffer zone to protect residents from the noise produced by incoming flights. According to the FAA, allowing the presence of homeless encampments on the airport property is in violation of the Airport Improvement Program Grant Assurances. SJ City officials agreed to the grant assurances when it received the FAA grant money to purchase the property.
The FAA explained that the presence of homeless encampments poses as significant safety risks not only for the people living at the site but also to the incoming flights. As the encampments will likely attract flocks of birds drawn by the discarded food and other wastes they find in the encampment sites. As a result, it could increase incidences of bird strikes that are known to cause dire consequences to incoming flights.
About the Beautify SJ Cleanup Initiatives
Actually, San José City conducts escalated cleanups as part of the government’s Beautify SJ initiative. City staff clean up sites containing broken burned, disassembled objects found abandoned outside of organized living spaces that are approximately 12 x 12 feet in area.
City residents who own an unwanted vehicle stored in their property are reminded that they only need to call the Code Enforcement Division, to arrange for a free tow and disposal service with a towing company san jose city has accredited.