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Countywide : El Toro Reuse Authority Refused Federal Funding

Community News Focus

May 20, 1995|RUSS LOAR

Federal officials have refused to provide funding for the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority, a group fighting to regain control over planning for the closure of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

In a letter dated May 18, federal officials reiterated their support for the Orange County Board of Supervisors as the only official planning agency for the slated closure of the Marine base. Supervisors voted to pull out of the planning authority in February in response to voter approval of Measure A, which calls for a commercial airport at the base.

In April, the U.S. Department of Defense recognized the Board of Supervisors as the official planning agency for development of the base, which is scheduled to close in 1999.

The county is the "only entity eligible for funding," wrote Paul J. Dempsey, director of the Defense Department's Office of Economic Adjustment, in his written response to an inquiry from Irvine Councilman Barry J. Hammond.

The year-old El Toro Reuse Planning Authority is supported by south Orange County cities generally opposed to a commercial airport at the base. City officials from Irvine and Lake Forest have assumed leading roles in the organization.

The group is working to complete a plan for development of the Marine base, according to Irvine Mayor Michael Ward, chairman of the planning authority. Ward said he will demand Navy officials give the plan equal consideration with the county's plan.

But federal officials say the U.S. Navy, which will have final say about the future of the base, will only deal with the Board of Supervisors.

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