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Thu, Jul 15, 2004

Beating Back Suburbia

AOPA Fights Residential Development At Long Beach Airport

AOPA has launched another salvo in the ongoing battle to protect Long Beach Daugherty Field (LGB) from an incompatible housing development. In letters to the Long Beach Economic Development Commission and Airport Advisory Commission, AOPA said no safety review had been conducted of the Southern California development.

"We remain opposed to high-density residential development in the proposed Douglas Park," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of Airports. "Residential development directly adjacent to an active airport simply is a noncompatible use of land."

AOPA President Phil Boyer spoke to Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill on Monday, prior to sending the letter. "The mayor seemed to understand our concerns and indicated to me these were not the first she had heard on this side of the issue," said Boyer. "The impression left me with, however, was that her strong desire in her third term to continue an aggressive economic development stance overshadows our concerns for safety and long-term airport viability."

This issue has been brewing for years, and this isn't the first time AOPA has weighed in on development proposals around the busy airport. Noise complaints are an ongoing issue and were the subject of a lawsuit in 1987. Earlier this year, the Long Beach Airport Association formally joined the ranks of those opposing plans to build 3,900 housing units on airport property. They called it "sheer folly" in terms of safety and noise.

AOPA's most recent letter pointed out that the Los Angeles County Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) review of the proposal considered only noise. But it didn't go by the current standards published in California's Airport Land Use Planning Handbook, which requires review of runway protection zones, runway safety areas, and obstacle-free zones.

"In short, no safety-related review was conducted," said Dunn. "And adding more homes closer to the airport will only exacerbate an already-strained relationship between the airport and the local community."

AOPA asked the planners to reject the housing development and that any residential development near the airport should be required to furnish buyers with a real estate disclosure form alerting them to the airport's proximity and obtaining the buyer's signature on an avigation easement.

FMI: www.aopa.org

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