OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Municipal Airport 20-year mater plan, which will serve as a blue print for the future airport layout, has been narrowed down to two viable options.
One option for the 43-acre airport is no change, in compliance with CEQA regulations.
The recommended option will move the main taxiway further south, use the secondary taxiway for a blast pad for planes after they land, and relocate the airport service road and Eddy Jones Road.
Plans also include eventually relocating and expanding the terminal building to include a restaurant and viewing area, relocating airport services to the east, developing a parallel full-length taxiway on the north side of the runway, and adding additional hangars on the north side as well.
Up to this point the work of Airport Property Ventures, that manages the airport, has been largely behind the scenes. Data has been gathered and reviewed, input has been collected through public meetings, and documents have been prepared.
“In the end we’ll have a master plan that will guide the airport for the next 30 years,” Andrew Scanlon, AEOM senior project manager, said.
“We’re right about smack in the middle of phase II of the project.”
The master plan process began in 2009 when Airport Property Ventures was granted a 50-year lease on the long neglected general aviation airport. The master plan is essential to secure FAA funds for airport safety improvements for based aircraft and aircraft landing and taking off from the airport.
Currently airport conditions are not up to FAA standards. The runway and taxiway are too close to each other, and need to be repaved.
Perimeter fencing has been put in, upgrades to six hangers have been made, and more improvements are needed.
There is also a need to add more airplane tie-downs and hangars in order to increase airport usership and revenues, which will help fund further improvements. A maximum of 250 aircraft can be based at the airport. Plans are to expand facilities to accommodate up to 107 aircraft.
The process to educate and involve the community on necessary steps to improve the airport has been a bumpy road. During initial meetings community members spoke up about the noise and finished look of the airport, rather than safety improvements, which must come first.
Esthetic items and noise still remain concerns, but at the most recent workshop on May 22, which presented the recommended master plan, discussion acknowledged those in attendance had a better understanding that airside safety has to be addressed before landside improvements.
“The airport has been neglected for 30 years,” Rich Grimm, owner of Tsunami Skydivers, said. “You can’t expect Airport Property Ventures to throw pixie dust and it will develop and grow.
“People have to be patient. We finally have the airport on the right track.”
Discussion also recognized that reducing airport noise would be included in each phase of development. New hangars will include soundproofing, and on the ground sound barriers will be considered.
Developing a master plan is the first step towards airport improvements. Next steps are conducting required environmental studies on the recommended master plan, and City Council approval.
Once the go ahead is given by City Council safety improvements will be the first order of business.
The timing of remodeling the terminal building and making upgrades to more hangars will depend on funding.
The master plan is expected to go to City Council in 2016.