A citizens advisory group reviewing Oxnard's general plan has recommended building a regional airport at Ormond Beach, the site of a proposed $2-billion residential and commercial marina development.
The group, called the General Plan Advisory Committee, has also recommended reducing the area available for construction in the 2,900-acre development next to the Navy's Pacific Missile Test Center at Point Mugu.
"We didn't want development at Ormond Beach to preclude that area for possible use as a regional airport," said Stewart Mimm, one of the committee's 23 members. "Two or three locations have been suggested in the past, but the most practical one is Mugu. If it weren't, the Navy wouldn't be there."
The new airport's runway would be half to three-quarters of a mile northwest of the base's main runway, Mimm said.
But committee members said their airport recommendation is tentative.
"If it's feasible it may be a good idea," said Ann Johs, a city councilwoman and committee member. "But we're a long way from knowing if it's compatible. It's our way of saying, 'Let's take a look at it.' "
John Flynn, who represents the Oxnard area on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, said he views the recommendation cautiously. He said it might be more economical if a regional airport shared facilities with the California Air National Guard at Point Mugu.
Camarillo Airport also has been touted as a site for expansion into a regional airport, but many nearby residents oppose the idea. However, local tourism and economic development officials for years have stressed what they view as the need for such an airport, contending that the county loses vital business for lack of one.
The proposed Ormond Beach development, a mini-city that would consist of 10,600 homes, a 1,600-slip marina, hotels, restaurants, shops and light industry, abuts the missile test center and its two airstrips.
Department of Defense officials have expressed reservations about putting a regional airport next to the Mugu base. Navy officials have raised questions about the development's proximity, citing potentially significant safety risks and noise problems.
Developer Denies Dangers
Spokesmen for Baldwin Co., the Irvine-based company proposing the development, have said that the development would not endanger tourists, residents or Navy personnel and that noise from the Navy's jet flights would not be loud enough to cause complaints.
To address the Navy's concerns, the advisory committee recommended Saturday that the city's new general plan bar construction on the 743 acres of the Ormond Beach development closest to Navy property, said Richard Maggio, Oxnard community development director and committee adviser. The land would be zoned for agriculture.
The recommendations could be changed as the proposed general plan update goes to the city's Planning Commission and City Council in coming months, Maggio said.