In a 4-1 vote, the Oceanside, Calif., City Council has approved a 50-year “development lease” by Airport Property Ventures. The Los Angeles-based company, which includes former executives of the agency that runs Los Angeles International Airport, has promised to spend $21 million on airport improvements over the next 25 years.
“This is a tremendously important step for the preservation of this embattled airport,” Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of local airport advocacy, said of the Nov. 12 vote. “Pilots at Oceanside and AOPA have fought efforts to close the field for years. If Airport Property Ventures can fulfill its promises, we could see Oceanside thrive for decades to come.”
AOPA has been actively involved in working with Oceanside users and the Oceanside Airport Association to fight attempts to sell airport property and place restrictions on airport use.
In 2006, airport supporters scored a major victory when AOPA-backed education efforts led to the election of pro-airport council members. Then in January 2007, the FAA told the city of Oceanside in no uncertain terms that it must keep the airport open in perpetuity because part of the airport property was acquired with federal funds specifically for airport development. Then, earlier this year, the FAA denied the city’s request to sell 15 acres of land adjacent to the airport, saying the property is needed for aviation purposes.