Oceanside airport remains in limbo

OCEANSIDE — Development and construction at the Oceanside Municipal Airport is still on hold after a 3-2 vote by City Council on Oct. 8. Council voted to hold a closed session meeting to clarify the terms of the proposed 50-year lease and operating agreement with Airport Property Ventures. Kern, Feller and Chavez supported the closed session.
“It’s so close right now,” Gordon Nesbitt, vice president of the Oceanside Airport Association, said. “The lease negotiation is 99.9 percent completed.”
The postponement will push the final decision on whether to OK the lease agreement and development to mid-November, which may mean a vote by a new set of council members. “From our standpoint, we communicated our concerns to council members,” Ben Myers, president of the Oceanside Airport Association, said. “Anything after Nov. 3 is at a risk. I hope the city will sustain its current interest.”
Councilman Jerry Kern called for the closed session meeting because of new items that came to council late that afternoon and inconsistencies between the lease agreement and prior discussion. “There are a lot of things I need clarified,” Kern said. “This is a 50-year lease. We really have to look at it hard.”
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez cautioned a closed session would not allow community input and suggested holding a community workshop to get everyone on the same page, namely Airport Property Ventures, the Oceanside Airport Association and Citizens for a Better Oceanside, which is considered by some to be against airport development.
The workshop idea was not approved, but all council members agreed the final decision on the lease and operation agreement will be voted on in an open session. The item will return to council Nov. 12.

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