San Diego to Improve Long-Neglected Brown Field

Mayor: "This project will mark the first significant new development at Brown Field since the city took ownership of it in 1962."

"This a commitment to aviation, a commitment to Brown Field, a commitment to the users and shows the city is ready to move forward," Fink said.

Larry Rothrock of the Experimental Aircraft Association, a private group that leases 2 acres at Brown Field, east of the old terminal, also supports the plan. But he worries about being surrounded by "heavy iron" -- larger planes that may not be compatible with the light aircraft favored by the 300 or so members of his club.

Rothrock was also miffed that no one at City Hall told him the final request for qualifications would include parcels on both sides of his leasehold until it was discussed at a committee meeting last week.

"It's something that so clearly affects us," he said. "There ought to be better communication."

The experimental-craft pilot said the city needs to do a better job marketing the property to manufacturers and assembly plants, an industry that is growing by the year.

"I just hope this isn't a hodgepodge," Rothrock said. "There is no effective master plan for Brown Field and I think it's time to propose one."

Missing from Sanders' press conference was Councilman Ben Hueso or anyone from his office. Hueso, whose Eighth District council seat represents Brown Field, said he worked with Sanders' staff to develop the request for qualifications.

The South Bay councilman said he inserted language into the document that allows developers to pitch projects covering more than the 65 acres outlined by the mayor.

But Hueso declined to commit to evicting the nonconforming tenants at the north end of Brown Field, which remains a key demand from federal regulators.

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