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Valley Focus | Van Nuys

VICA Opposes Parts of Airport Ordinance

January 31, 1998|TOM BECKER

Valley Industry and Commerce Assn. officials oppose aspects of a proposed three-part ordinance that would restrict the number and types of airplanes allowed at Van Nuys Airport.

Specifically, VICA said it opposes a proposal that would limit to 30 consecutive days the time certain aircraft can remain at the airport for maintenance. The organization also opposes a proposal that would not allow an increase in the number of airplanes designated as "stage 2," usually older planes built before development of quieter engines.

"We believe both of these would have a severe negative [economic] impact on the airport," said VICA President Bonny Herman.

Both aspects that VICA opposes were included in an ordinance brought before the City Council in December.

Rather than vote on the ordinance, the council agreed to allow an economic impact study of the airport to be completed within 90 days.

Once the study is completed, the airport commission board will have the opportunity to change any part of the old ordinance that may hurt the airport economically, said a commission spokeswoman.

"The ordinance that went before the council [in December] is not necessarily going to be the one that comes before them next time," said Stacy Geere of the commission. "Changes can and may be made."

Herman and others hope they are made.

According to a study conducted pro bono for VICA by independent consultant Robert Rodine, if the old ordinance were to pass, as many as 400 jobs could be lost along with $100 million in local revenues each year.

The Van Nuys Airport has been a source of community controversy for years. Residents have often complained of extreme noise levels and, with the aid of homeowners' groups and community organizations, helped to extend a nighttime curfew for jets that ends all departures and arrivals at 10 p.m.

Geere said once the economic study is finished in late February or early March, the board will complete a new version of the ordinance to go before the City Council.

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