Developer Seeks Airport Land At Oceano?

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Developer Jeff Edwards has scheduled a March 17 meeting to discuss his unsolicited plan to turn Oceano County Airport, near San Luis Obispo, Calif., into a non-airport property. Meanwhile, Bill Robeson, a city planner who works with the city's Airport Land Use Commission, told SanLuisObispo.com that when it comes to closing the airport, "none of the hearing bodies for the county are considering it." But Edwards, a private land planner, sees "enormous potential" for the nearly beachfront property that he says could translate into "significant cash flow to the county if they were to close the airport and lease it for development." He has advertised his upcoming meeting through a press release, has invited representatives from San Luis Obispo County and candidates running for local positions, and said "the public is encouraged to attend." Oceano operates a 2325-by-50 foot paved runway and is home to 13 aircraft (10 singles and three ultralights). The facility serves transient pilots and its land-use plan estimates 12,500 operations per year.

At the meeting, Edwards will introduce plans that could see the airport redeveloped into commercial or residential properties, senior housing or tourist-oriented facilities, or some mix thereof. His one-hour presentation will include an aviation law attorney, a geologist, an ecologist, an economist, a climate-change expert and a Costal Act specialist, followed by a question & answer period. Oceano is currently operated by a local self-supporting enterprise fund that is not part of the supporting county's general fund and fell just short of its $79,000 budget last year. Its planned upgrades include additional hangars, additional aircraft parking and facilities upgrades. The airport has received $2.3 million from the FAA and is applying for a $450,000 grant to facilitate planned work. Edwards' meeting is set to be held Wednesday, March 17, at 5:00 p.m. at Grover Beach, Rabobank, 899 Grand Ave.