Venice Airport Process Raises Too Many Questions

The Venice City Council needs to give the public simple, yet complete, answers to questions:

* Why is the city government accepting private-sector proposals to develop about 125 acres of public land at Venice Municipal Airport -- before the council has updated the airport master plan?

* Why hasn't the city proactively and openly searched for other ideas?

* What do council members think about reports that the Venice Golf Association, which leases airport land, has talked with a hotelier about subleasing at least part of the course?

The council has, at best, flown by the seat of its collective pants. Providing direction and clarity should be a goal during today's 1:30 p.m. City Council meeting.

Only Councilman Rick Tacy was on the seven-member council when the current master plan for the airport was approved in 2002, and the previous city manager piloted Venice back then. What are the community's needs and vision now?

City Manager Marty Black recently sent the council a memo that says several companies have submitted proposals. He said a selection process approved by the council calls for an initial review by a city committee. Then the city administration would rank the proposals for consideration by the Airport Advisory Board and the council.

Black said the public could then have "early input" on a proposal from "the top-ranked corporation."

How can public input be considered "early" if a developer's proposal first gets a top ranking? This and a lot of other questions are hanging in the air.

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