Making Oceano Airport a Better Neighbor

The county is about to take a new look at safety and other issues at and around the Oceano Airport, as it updates its land-use plan for the facility.

The Oceano Airport Land Use Master Plan has not been updated since the 1970s, according to Bob Tefft, a commissioner with the Airport Land Use Commission.

Tefft said the airport has 10,000 takeoffs and landings a year and is one of the few airports along the California coast with beach access.

The airport could become a tourist attraction, Tefft said, if it were "properly marketed. It's a great little airport."

However, it is surrounded by homes, schools, businesses and other activities. The chief goal of the master plan will be to maintain safety while serving the community, he said.

"We need to produce a draft (of the master plan update) that we can take to the community," Tefft said. He and other commissioners hope to have that ready at the next meeting of the Airport Land Use Commission, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Board of Supervisors chambers.

Tefft said that Oceano, Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande all need to be kept aware of what is going on at and around the airport.

The airport was reopened on Memorial Day weekend after being closed for two months for repairs to its runways and taxiways.

Oceano Airport became controversial a year ago because of its proximity to Pier Avenue, where developer Robert Mueller wanted to build Oceano's first oceanfront hotel, with 25 rooms. The Airport Land Use Commission turned him down, but he appealed to the county, which sliced the number of rooms to 10, then gave Mueller the go-ahead.

The land-use commission appealed to the Coastal Commission, which has been asked to review the project at its September meeting.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press

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