Air park gets OK for plans to expand

first_imgAntonovich proposed barring the hotel and restaurant and limiting new hangars to the 10 on which county officials stopped construction when they were partially completed. Antonovich said his proposal would keep the airport to fewer than 100 planes, while the plan endorsed by the Planning Commission would nearly triple that. Supervisor Gloria Molina, who voted with the majority in favor of the expansion, said other supervisors also have airports in their districts, and will be faced with the same kinds of issues. The supervisors’ approval, which is still subject to a second vote later for final approval, bans night flying and jets, to which the owner had already agreed. The supervisors’ action Tuesday left unsettled until the second vote whether helicopters can operate there. Antonovich’s staff said the airport in the last three years has been issued nine notices accusing it of violating county rules, such as allowing aerobatic flying, building a tie-down area without permission and starting to build hangars that were taller than allowed. Spear said he didn’t take over the airport until 2005. Antonovich countered that Spear was involved with the airport operation for several years before that. “It rewards the airport for ignoring county rules,” Antonovich said of the expansion plan. “It would reward the applicant for blatant violation.” Airport supporter Melissa Harnett, president of the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District board, said she has three children who beg her to take them to the air park on weekends. It’s the only public spot in the community with grassy lawns where they can run and play tag and do cartwheels, she said. “We don’t have anything else. Vasquez Rocks is not a place to play. We don’t have a park,” Harnett said. Richard Dyer, an Agua Dulce resident for eight years, said the airport would be an essential resource after an earthquake or other disaster. He said some of the opposition to the airport expansion is motivated by opposition to the population growth in the community. “Growth is inevitable,” Dyer said. Acton-Agua Dulce school board member Ron Bird said planes already fly too close to Agua Dulce Elementary School, which his son attends. “I’m concerned the additional construction at the airport will greatly increase noise and danger to our elementary school,” Bird said. After the decision, expansion opponent Bob Owens, an Agua Dulce resident, said he was surprised by the supervisors’ vote. “I was 100 percent behind Antonovich and we got blindsided, perhaps because of the ignorance of the other supervisors. Perhaps it’s not over,” Owens said. “It’s real important that we keep our airport, but keep it at its historical level,” Agua Dulce Town Council member Peg Spry said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Los Angeles County supervisors approved controversial plans Tuesday to expand the Agua Dulce Air Park, a proposal that for four years has divided residents of this semirural enclave. Over the objections of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who represents the area, supervisors voted 4-1 to affirm an expansion proposal already endorsed by the Regional Planning Commission and would let the airport add 18 aircraft storage hangars to its present 37, build a 20-room hotel and restaurant and install 250,000 square feet of outdoor space for tying down airplanes. “We thought the Regional Planning Commission decision was a well-thought out decision and we are very pleased the supervisors upheld the Regional Planning Commission’s decision,” attorney Mark S. Armbruster, representing airport owner Wayne Spear, said after the decision. At least 500 people attended the downtown Los Angeles hearing, with people on both sides arriving in chartered buses. Testimony took more than two hours. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Pro-airport spectators erupted in applause after the 4-1 vote. Airport supporters, who included Agua Dulce residents as well as pilots from around Los Angeles County, said the decision will influence the fates of other small airports. Supporters called the airport a landmark just like the nearby Vasquez Rocks Natural Area and said it would provide essential access to the community in case of an earthquake or other disaster. Opponents said expanding the airport would harm the community’s rural atmosphere, increasing airplane noise and the danger of crashes as well as putting more vehicles on the two-lane roads as people drive to and from the airport. Antonovich proposed an alternative plan that he said would limit the airport to its historic size. Agua Dulce has grown in population since the airport opened in the 1950s, and bringing in more airplanes would increase the danger to more people, he said. last_img read more