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Millennium Plan Revise Sought

September 04, 1998|LORENZA MUNOZ

Catering to community concerns about increased traffic and pollution, airport opponents said Thursday they want a chance to refine their non-aviation plan for the retiring El Toro Marine Corps Air Station by scaling back development.

The Millennium Plan proposed developing high-density residential, office and commercial space at the base, along with a museum and park. But that sparked public criticism that the project would generate 345,000 average daily car trips--more than twice the number projected under the airport proposal.

Officials said some of the changes might include reducing the amount of office and commercial development, adding an Orange County Transportation Authority maintenance yard and placing a county emergency shelter for abused and neglected children, projects that some believe would generate considerably less traffic.

The proposed tweaking to the Millennium Plan comes a week after county planners also unveiled changes to their plans to build an airport at the base. Those changes also sought to reduce the commercial development called for under the plan.

On Sept. 15, Supervisor Thomas W. Wilson will ask the Board of Supervisors to give the anti-airport side enough time to rework the Millennium Plan and resubmit it as an alternative to the county's airport plan.

"What's good for the home team should be good for the visitors," said Wilson, an airport opponent. "The county has been jogging around modifying their plan, I don't see why anti-airport folks should not be allowed to change their plans if they so desire."

In many ways, both plans are trying to copy each other's most positive aspects. Airport planners, for example, decided to increase the amount of open space for their plan, similar to the Millennium Plan's proposal for a large, sprawling central park.

The proposed airport will now be surrounded by about 2,000 acres of open space, which will include hiking trails, a golf course and a park.

Both plans will undergo an environmental impact evaluation by the federal government. The Marines are scheduled to depart the base in July and expect to turn the base over to the county by the fall.

The fate of the retiring base is one of the most controversial planning issues facing the county.

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