[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
"Oceanside officials have different visions for airport's future"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2005 14:46:08 -0500
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Oceanside officials have different visions for airport's future
By BEN FRUMIN
The San Diego (CA) North County Times
OCEANSIDE ---- Alan Cruise has big plans for the expansion of the Oceanside
Municipal Airport, though they appear counter to the desires of a City
Cruise, a pilot who heads the Oceanside Airport Association, envisions the
small, 41-hangar facility growing into a 151-hangar operation with new
offices and a cafe to serve the pilots who take off and land on the runway
in northwest Oceanside.
The first piece of Cruise's vision was recently realized with the completion
of 11 new hangars along the airport's southern border along Highway 76, west
of a defunct drive-in theater.
But plans for development and expansion appear to be in limbo after the
council deadlocked twice last week on financial issues related to the
airport: whether to accept a $150,000 federal grant that would pay for new
fences and a security access system, and whether to pay $195,000 that the
city already owes for the 11 new hangars.
Both 2-2 votes ---- Mayor Jim Wood was absent due to a family emergency ----
pitted Councilman Rocky Chavez and Jack Feller, who voted to financially
support the airport, against Councilwomen Shari Mackin and Esther Sanchez.
Opposition to airport expansion by Sanchez and Wood is well-documented, with
both having voted more than once in recent years against airport growth.
"For the economic future of this city, an airport is not the best use of
that land," Sanchez said after Wednesday's meeting. "I don't want to tie the
hands of a future City Council."
Sanchez said Friday that the airport is "never going to be what some people
have envisioned it to be."
"Unfortunately," she said, "it's not a money producer. It's a huge money
The councilwoman said she also wants the city to stop going after federal
money for airport projects.
"I have directed the city manager, and I believe I speak for the majority on
the council, that we are not to seek any more grants from the (Federal
Aviation Administration)," Sanchez said.
For her part, Mackin said she's committed to making sure the Highway 76
corridor, and especially the drive-in property, are redeveloped to generate
tax revenue for Oceanside. The newly elected councilwoman said she "cannot
make a responsible decision on the (airport's future) until I see the whole
"I don't know what I want to see there in 20 years," Mackin said. "It's not
a question of if I like the airport, or if I don't like the airport. It's
about what's best for Oceanside."
But even if Oceanside's leaders wanted to close the airport, it doesn't
appear that they would be able to. That's because Oceanside used federal
money to acquire 14.7 acres north of the airport in 2003.
Several city officials have said using that federal money bound Oceanside to
keep the airport open for 20 years. Cruise has said, on the other hand, that
federal regulations say an airport must remain open forever when federal
money is used to acquire property, as was the case in 2003.
Donn Walker, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said last
week that there was a 20-year limit on keeping the airport open. However, he
said later ---- after he had investigated the question further ---- that use
of federal money to purchase land "does obligate the airport to stay open
well past 20 years."
"It basically obligates the airport to stay open in perpetuity," Walker
The question now, Cruise said, is "are we going to develop it and let it
make some money, or are we going to let it fall into disrepair?"
Paying the bills
The airport currently has a "short-term cash-flow problem" because it's not
bringing in enough money to support itself, said Peter Weiss, public works
The airport charges rents on its hangars and tie-downs, though it's not
quite enough to pay debt service on the state loans used on the 11 new
hangars, officials said.
Officials said the airport would be in the black if it built 10 more
hangars, which Cruise said could bring in as much as $770 per hangar in
monthly rents. Cruise said the airport needs $1 million in state loans to
build 10 more hangars.
Without the loans for the 10 hangars, "the airport will not be able to pay
for itself," Weiss said, adding that the city expects to hear in
mid-September whether it will receive those loans.
But Cruise said he's concerned that a council that appears opposed to
airport expansion won't accept any loans from the state, even if it means
the loans would put the airport in the black.
If the city does accept those loans, Cruise said the 10 hangars could be
built within a year, boosting the airport's hangar total to 51.
Here are the next steps in the airport master plan, approved by the council
in 1997, as outlined by Cruise:
replace 30 43-year-old, wood-frame hangars that are covered in rusted,
replace existing offices and build maintenance hangars;
construct about 100 hangars on the recently acquired property to the north
of the airport.
Cruise said developing that property would require an environmental impact
report identifying any potential adverse effects of the project, and laying
out a plan to mitigate them. Such reports typically take 12 to 18 months to
The land on which the airport sits isn't the only property in town that may
have development restrictions placed on it based on air traffic.
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has drafted a plan that
would change the rules for development of the Valley Drive-In property east
of the airport, placing restrictions on the type of development that would
be allowed there.
Mackin said she would like to see a Costco or Ikea built on those 90 acres,
saying such development would be "an economic boost" and a "shot in the
Mackin, along with other Oceanside leaders, said she has concerns and
questions about the airport potentially restricting first-rate development
on the drive-in site.
Cruise said he's also a supporter of developing the drive-in site, and said
he thinks there are ways to build commercial developments there in
compliance with the airport authority's plan.
Post your opinion on this story in the CAA General Aviation Forum
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org