2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 25 Apr 2002 14:22:13 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Navy Sinks Last Chance of Airport at El Toro
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April 24, 2002 
Navy Sinks Last Chance of Airport at El Toro
Land use: Site will be sold for parks and development, with details up 
to Irvine. The decision ends 8 years and $54 million of planning by 
Orange County.

Burying any chance of an airport at the closed El Toro Marine base, the 
Navy said Tuesday that it will sell the sprawling Orange County property 
for parks and other limited development.

Just what is built will ultimately be the decision of local 
officials--specifically the city of Irvine, the Navy said. Irvine has 
petitioned to annex the 4,700-acre base; 424 of those acres are already 
within city limits.

"This marks the beginning of a tremendous opportunity for the people of 
Orange County and best meets the mandate of the base closure law to 
return this property to productive local use," Secretary of the Navy 
Gordon England said in a statement. Orange County supervisors reacted to 
the news by canceling contracts with 15 consultants working on the 
proposed international airport, except for two advocacy firms that 
specialize in dealing with the Navy and federal bureaucracy. Supervisors 
Todd Spitzer and Tom Wilson--both longtime El Toro airport 
opponents--were the only two of the five-member board who objected to 
continuing those two contracts.

The announcement ends eight years and $54 million worth of planning by 
the county for a commercial airport at El Toro, which opened in 1943 and 
closed in July 1999. Local voters approved airport zoning for the base 
in 1994 but rescinded that last month through Measure W. The new zoning 
calls for a park, open space and limited development.

The decision also dashes the hopes of regional planners, who saw a new 
airport at El Toro as both an economic stimulus and a way to take the 
pressure off other Southern California airports.

In a letter to Cynthia P. Coad, chairwoman of the Orange County Board of 
Supervisors, H. T. Johnson, the Navy's assistant secretary for 
installations, said the goal is to move El Toro "into private hands so 
that it can be placed on the tax rolls for the benefit of the citizens 
of Orange County and the city of Irvine."

This story can be viewed in its entirety at:

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