PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: November 8, 1996
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 1; Zones Desk
BYLINE: Rene Lynch
DATELINE: Santa Ana, California
The Los Angeles Times reports that a plan, proposed by a Supervisor from California's Orange County, to conduct a demonstration of aircraft noise at the El Toro Marines Base has been rejected. The plan was designed to show residents what commercial flights -- which would operate around the clock if a proposed commercial airport is built there -- would sound like.
According to the article, Supervisors will decided in July how the military base should be used after the military abandons it in 1999. Possible uses include non-airport uses, use as an air-cargo location, or creation of a commercial airport. Those who want the airport say that it would add money and jobs to the local economy. Those who oppose it worry that noise, traffic, and pollution resulting from an airport would destroy quality of life. The plan was rejected because liability and environmental issues made it unfeasible, and the military didn't want to shut down its operations temporarily.
The article says that Don Saltarelli, the supervisor who originally came up with the plan, does not want a commercial airport to be built. He says that residents around the nearby John Wayne Airport -- which enjoys significant noise and expansion restrictions -- have no more rights than those living around El Toro, and that any El Toro airport should include similar restrictions. He was quoted as saying "I believe that the citizens of south Orange County have every right the citizens of Newport Beach have, to have as small a use as is absolutely necessary, and with very significant restrictions."
The article goes on to say that the Navy is conducting an environmental study of the airport and its possible future uses. The former mayor of Irvine thinks the government should wait until the Supervisors decide how to reuse the airport before going ahead. He says that the airport plan is becoming a "rushed, rubber-stamp project."
The article concludes, noting that this week's elections saw a member of the El Toro Citizens Advisory Commission removed from his seat on the council. Now another person must take his place, but he worries that no one from his district will volunteer. County officials are looking into whether a replacement must be found before the vote that will determine the Commission's recommendation for El Toro's fate.
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