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Panel to Consider Airport's Future

September 16, 2000|CATHERINE BLAKE

The Oxnard Airport Authority will conduct a retreat later this year to examine a community group's recommendation to close the airport by 2005.

During its Thursday meeting, the authority, created to advise the county Board of Supervisors on airport business and operations, decided to keep the document recommending closure for further review, instead of passing it along to the supervisors or sending it back to the group to make changes.

The five-member board, which is made up of two supervisors, two City Council members and a member of the general public, usually has a retreat near the end of the year.

This year, the board plans to discuss the controversial recommendation made by the ad hoc Oxnard Airport Mission Statement Committee in July.

That group was created to draft a short mission statement to help the authority work on the basics of the long-stalled airport master plan. For the past several months, the authority, the Oxnard City Council and the Board of Supervisors have struggled with decisions over the airport's future.

Opponents have cited noise, safety and development concerns in seeking to close the airport, while others support expansion of commercial flights to cities in western states.

At the retreat, members will spend a day discussing airport policy and operations. Last year, the retreat was held at an Oxnard hotel.

"I envision they will use this to roll up their sleeves, take a good look at the statement and refine the ideas that are in there if possible," said Scott Smith, interim director of airports.

Supervisor John Flynn, a member of the airport authority, abstained from voting at Thursday's meeting, citing a potential conflict of interest because of his home's proximity to the airport.

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