OCEANSIDE — While Palomar Airport is considering expanding its runways to accommodate jets, Oceanside Municipal Airport has its sights set on continuing to serve as a general aviation airport and fill the niche market for small planes.
Future plans for Oceanside Municipal Airport were discussed at an Airport Master Plan meeting held at the Civic Center Library on Jan. 9.
The first priority for the small plane airport is to bring it up to FAA safety standards by improving pavement, runway conditions and airplane hangars.
Jack Driscoll, principal of Airport Property Ventures, which manages the city airport, said this is a good place to start because the FAA can help fund these improvements for aviation demands.
The four dated airplane hangar buildings along state Route 76 will likely be torn down and the two new hangar buildings on the east end of the airport will remain.
Community members suggested a restaurant and new hangars be built in place of the worn hangars.
Driscoll said temporary tie downs might be installed before permanent hangars are built.
He added that the airport welcomes entertaining an agreement with a restaurant, but a restaurant would not be built until a tenant plans to move in.
Another area to be developed is the 14.7 acres on the north side of the runway that was granted to the airport in 2000.
Andrew Scanlon, AEOM senior project manager, said that area would be used for fixed-based operations such as hangars and tie downs.
He said the airport would have between a minimum of 90 total hangars and tie downs and a maximum of 250 within the next 20 years.
There is also the option to move the terminal to the undeveloped 14.7 areas, but it is more likely that the terminal would stay at its present location by Route 76 because of its easy visitor access.
Other changes are a jet fuel tank or truck may be added to the airport to accommodate REACH Air Medical Services, which is a current airport tenant.
There are plans for REACH Air to relocate to the firefighter training grounds, but that move has not yet been made.
Driscoll said if REACH Air moves to the training grounds there might be noise problems for nearby hillside homes. He added he would like REACH Air to continue as an airport tenant.
There were community questions on airport noise and airport development’s impact on traffic.
Scanlon shared a noise contour that showed projected airport noise levels would continue to fall within FAA acceptable levels.
He added that traffic wise, Oceanside Municipal Airport is considered a low activity airport and would remain so in the future.
Input from pilots and residents at the meeting, along with data on the airport and expected future demands, will be reviewed by the airport Technical Advisory Committee to develop a 20-year airport master plan by June.
The committee consists of city staff, Airport Property Ventures personnel, AEOM consultants, and FAA representatives.
Scanlon said there would be another public meeting in two to three months after the committee has narrowed down concepts and before a development plan is selected in June.
Once a development plan is decided upon a capital improvement and funding plan will also be developed. The cost of improvements will be in the millions.
The development plan will go through an environmental review process, which Scanlon said could take up to two years to complete.
The final step is to bring the development and funding plan before City Council for approval by 2016.
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