Looks like the air battle over Newport Beach has flared up again. In a mini-replay of recent history, the Orange County Board of Supervisors is considering expanding business jet operations at John Wayne Airport–prompting the rich folks in Newport to protest that the plan would increase noise and air pollution over their community. While these are largely the same arguments put forward by South County residents 20 years ago when the county proposed building an international airport at the old El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, what’s very different now is that Newport Beach is helping to feed the very airport demand the city also opposes.
Under the new plan–known as the General Aviation Improvement Project (GAIP), which came up for discussion at the May 7 Supervisors’ meeting–the airport would handle 86 business jets (up from the current 65) while losing 137 spaces for smaller prop planes, according to a May 8 Voice of OC story. Doing this would “maximize the efficiency and safety of facilities and facilitate prioritization of future general aviation improvements,” according to a county staff report on the proposal.
A gaggle of Newport Beach residents and officials say the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is a disaster waiting to happen. They say general aviation (GA) jets are about as loud as big commercial airliners, and an increase in their flight operations will further degrade their quality of life.
Lastly, given the City of Newport Beach’s activism against expansion of business jet operations at John Wayne Airport, city officials might want to rethink their official city webpage titled “BUSINESS CLIMATE,” which touts proximity to John Wayne as a positive:
Newport Beach is known for its mild Pacific coastal climate, it’s [sic] large recreational harbor, great beaches, two public piers, award-winning restaurants, first-class hotels, excellent shopping, corporate offices and an exceptional quality of life. Newport Beach is adjacent to Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, served by most major carriers, and the University of California at Irvine, for access to technology and well educated employees. The City has a diversified and financially solid local economy. It is a popular destination for business and leisure travelers alike.
The Supervisors, who were scheduled to vote on the project during their May 7 meeting, instead delayed the whole matter for further study. They’ll return to it at their May 21 meeting.https://ocweekly.com/newport-beach-vs-n ... e-airport/
(Welcome back Anthony Pignataro, one of the heroes of the El Toro fight).