The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday to virtually halt all construction at Van Nuys Airport until the city completes a long-awaited plan to develop the airfield over the next 20 years.
The council approved, in essence, a building moratorium that will last for two years but provides exceptions for projects currently under way and allows the City Council the power to grant other exceptions on a case by case basis. The restrictions take effect in about two weeks.
The moratorium had been called for by airport officials and neighbors, who say tight controls are needed while the city drafts an airport master plan.
Covering 725 acres in the northwest corner of Van Nuys, the airport has never had a master plan, relying instead on a patchwork of zoning regulations contained in five separate community development plans.
The drafting of a master plan is backed by neighbors and by airport tenants. Neighbors hope the plan will put tight restrictions on additional hangar space, putting limits on the number of planes and thus limiting aircraft noise. Tenants said they expect a master plan will make planning easier for them.
Airport Director Ron Kochevar said a consultant is working on background information for the master plan before holding workshops to gather public comments on the document. He said the plan should be completed in two years.
But he said the council's motion Friday was a formality, since the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners agreed last year not to consider new project proposals until the master plan is completed.
Don Schultz, president of the Van Nuys Homeowners Assn. and member of the airport's citizens advisory panel, said he is happy the moratorium has been adopted.