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"Agua Dulce Airpark's permit appears to be safe for now"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 06:04:43 -0500
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Airpark's permit appears to be safe for now
By LISA WAHLA HOWARD
The Antelope Valley (CA) Press
AGUA DULCE - The dispute over operations at Agua Dulce Airpark started with
disgruntled community residents and has expanded to include county planning
commissioners, regional pilots, the state Division of Aeronautics and the
Federal Aviation Administration.
The airpark's special-use permit, at one point in danger of being revoked by
the county's Regional Planning Commission, now appears safe.
Commissioners last week voted against revocation and in favor of placing
further conditions on airpark operators; those conditions are being drawn up
by planning department staff members.
"The conditions would address non-airpark-related activities such as special
events," said Sam Dea, the county planner assigned to the project. "One of
the instructions was to look into conditions relating to the filming
Filming at the airport has sparked complaints among some nearby residents,
especially night filming, which sometimes involves bright lights shining
into neighbors' homes. Other residents have complained about acrobatic
flying, low-level flying above their homes and horses, and noise.
The FAA sent a letter this month to Los Angeles County attorneys stating
that any limitations by the county on the types and number of planes using
the small private airport likely wouldn't be legal because the federal
agency has authority over the nation's airspace.
After working for months on a proposal to change the airpark from a public
facility to a private special-use airport, that idea is off the table, owner
Barry Kirshner said. A majority of the five-member planning commission made
clear they would not support restricting the airport to members only, and
the state Division of Aeronautics stated the change would set a bad
precedent as small airports nationwide close in significant numbers.
"It would be difficult for us to impose a condition like that (conversion to
restricted-use) at this time, with the FAA letter," Dea said.
Instead, Kirshner said in a letter to the community that he is offering to
limit traffic at the airpark by imposing landing fees and raising the price
of fuel to the going market rate.
"These more proven and reasonable measures . would be far easier to
implement and enforce, and would allow the airport to maintain its current
public-use status while (ensuring) that its itinerant air traffic and
airplane noise impacts are lessened and better controlled," Kirshner said in
The airpark also is proposing controls on filming to decrease impacts on the
community while maintaining an important source of income.
"The filming is an issue; it's a recurring theme," said Aaron Clark, an
"We're saying, let's not get rid of it, let's fix it. The effect of
prohibiting it outright would cut off a very liked and utilized location for
filming crews, as it's a very unique setting.
"It's important we do a better job of fixing the filming impacts, like
lights at night, better noticing of the community and controlling certain
types of filming by aircraft that have been troublesome to some residents,"
After receiving complaints from nearby residents, Supervisor Michael D.
Antonovich last year instructed the planning commission to consider revoking
or modifying the airpark's permit.
Post your opinion on this story in the CAA General Aviation Forum
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