Aaron Singer, friend to many of us and to GFCA in particular, advised us in late August that his family's business, Seaplane Adventures of Sausalito, was in jeopardy. It seems that several neighbors in the Richardson Bay Homeowners’ Association lobbied Marin Supervisor Kate Sears to ask the Planning Commission to submit a resolution to the Board of Supervisors to further restrict and/or revoke Seaplane Adventures’ recently-renewed (!) operating permit to severely restrict its’ operations because of noise concerns. The proposed change, limiting Aaron to six flights a day, would make it impossible for Seaplane Adventures to stay in business.
The Commission received over 200 letters, most pointing out that seaplanes had operated from the current location for over 70 years, that the seaplanes provide a quaint and unique aura to southern Marin, and that Aaron had gone out of his way since purchasing the operation in 2011 to be an active, contributing member to the community through scholarships, summer jobs, internships, sponsorships and donations. Several were concerned that their business could be next if a business so positive in operation as Seaplane Adventures could be put out of business by a few disgruntled people.
Over 250 people showed up at the Planning Commission’s hearing on August 28, the vast majority to support Aaron, including over 25 GFCA members, tenants of Schellville and Smith Ranch airports, and the head of the Seaplane Pilots’ Association. AOPA and CalPilots both weighed in with letters of support and legal advice, and county council advised the commission that only the FAA can regulate aviation activities. In the end the commission voted to continue with the existing permit, but to go further and recommend to the Board of Supervisors that it eliminate any previous restrictions on Seaplane Adventures’ operating permit due to this federal pre-eminence doctrine.
Aaron offered the following note of thanks to all GFCA members:
To All Our Wonderful Friends & Colleagues:
As many of you have been following, my little company was in the fight of its life these last few weeks. Yesterday was the 5 hr hearing of the Marin County Planning Commission where our fate was to be decided. Our very continued existence was to be decided by 5 men and women of this Planning Commission. It was terrifying and it was something else...but we won!!
To the over 250 of you that were able to come and show your support at the hearing yesterday, all of us at Seaplane Adventures and the Singer family thank you from the very bottom of our hearts. To the over 500 of you who made calls, sent in letters and left replies on social media, all of us at Seaplane Adventures and the Singer family thank you from the very bottom of our hearts. This was a team effort and we COULD NOT have done it without you! Together we saved a 70 year historic legacy in Sausalito and Marin County from being cast away. I will never forget all of your kind comments, fervent support and Herculean effort to help us keep seaplanes flying over San Francisco. I am forever humbled and in deepest gratitude for my community here and beyond. Much love to you all! We are going to keep 'em flyin'!!!
Yours very sincerely,