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"Riverside councilman questions plans for GA at March airport"
- From: "Stephen Irwin, M.S., A.A.E., I.A.P." <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 23:51:38 +0430
- Organization: www.californiaaviation.org/irwin.html
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Riverside councilman questions plans for small planes at March airport
By ALICIA ROBINSON
The Riverside (CA) Press-Enterprise
Riverside Councilman Paul Davis is taking on two colleagues over plans for a
terminal to serve small planes at the former March Air Force Base.
Davis has questioned how plans for a small terminal to accommodate private
and business pilots at March will affect residents in Ward 4, the part of
the city nearest the air base.
He suggested that offering general aviation at March could hurt business at
Riverside Municipal Airport.
In an e-mail exchange earlier this month with a city airport commissioner
and Councilmen Mike Gardner and Andy Melendrez, Davis wrote he would be "a
very visible and outspoken advocate against" the March plans.
Melendrez and Gardner represent the city on the March Joint Powers
Commission, a multi-jurisdictional board that oversees development of former
Air Force base property. The commission has supported the $1.6 million
general aviation terminal concept.
In an interview last week, Davis, who represents Ward 4, said his
constituents oppose the plans, adding, "They don't want Cessnas flying over
Gardner and Melendrez downplayed Davis' concerns, though Melendrez said the
issue deserves more discussion with residents.
It's unknown whether flight paths would change for small planes, Gary
Gosliga, airport director for the March Joint Powers Authority, told city
airport commissioners last week. A few years ago, Riverside residents
complained vigorously about noise from nighttime cargo flights operated by
DHL, which closed its March operations in December 2008.
Gosliga also said March would likely see far fewer takeoffs and landings
than Riverside's airport.
Gardner noted that Riverside's airport might be more attractive to small
planes because they would potentially have to contend with much larger
aircraft at March, which has a long runway.
His role on the March commission, he said, isn't simply to protect the parts
of Wards 2 and 4 that are in the flight path, but "It is to seek to develop
good jobs in the area," Gardner said.
Melendrez said the joint powers commission has several new members since
DHL's operations were approved years ago. "Our focus has really been seeking
employers that are going to be good neighbors," he said.
Final plans for the March general aviation terminal should be back at the
joint powers commission in the next few months, Melendrez said.
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