Only about 50 residents showed up for the city's first public meeting over the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station reuse plan.
Council members said they were not disappointed over the turnout this week because the event wasn't well-publicized and was broadcast on cable television.
"I didn't know whether there would be 50 or 550 people there," said Mayor Sherri M. Butterfield. "My encounters with the public and my mail would suggest there is strong opposition in Mission Viejo" to converting the air base to a commercial airport.
County officials were invited to Mission Viejo to give a presentation on a draft environmental report released recently that predicted a commercial airport would ease traffic, create thousands of jobs and carry about 38 million passengers annually.
Mission Viejo residents were shown a video explaining three alternative plans for the airport. Afterward, residents and council members questioned county representatives about the airport proposal, expressing doubts about the county's environmental report.
Mike Karn, a Mission Viejo resident who said he flies commuter planes, argued that traffic in the area would be far more likely to increase.
Instead of having traffic moving quickly past his home off of Muirlands Boulevard, "We'll have cars sitting and idling," he said.