Rent Hikes Anger California Pilots

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Pilots flying out of Oceanside Airport, near San Diego, say the local city council's shortsightedness will result in rent increases of as much as 50 percent this year. According to the North County Times, the city council meets Wednesday to consider raising rents on some old hangars from $400 to as much as $600 a month and to boost the monthly rate on recently built hangars 34 percent, from a range of $510-$740 to $685-$990. The airport offers a single 2,712-by-75-foot runway and single FBO. Tie-downs would go up a whopping 78 percent from $75 to $125 a month. Oceanside's director of public works, Peter Weiss, who termed the increases "pretty hefty," recently told the council that's the only way he can think of to cover a looming $80,000 budget deficit at the airport. The local pilots association is complaining that pilots are being expected to pick up the tab for a lack of foresight on the part of the council. Ben Meyers, president of the Oceanside Airport Association, said it was the council's decision to halt construction of new hangars late last year that's led to the revenue shortfall. New hangars were being built with low-interest loans from the state (and if Oceanside is like other Southern California airports there would be no shortage of potential tenants). "That's just going to irritate people there," he said. "I'd be very disappointed if the choice was to raise rates instead of taking the right approach and developing the airport appropriately." The airport master plan calls for construction of 100 hangars but it's been stonewalled by some members of council.