Local News

Mar 11, 2010 2:13 AM by Ariel Wesler

Local developer worries pilots at Oceano airport

A local developer is stirring up controversy at the Oceano Airport.

Los Osos developer Jeff Edwards says he wants to close the airport and use the land for other purposes.

However, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors says the airport is not for sale. Still, Edwards has called for a series of meetings on the matter.

"Of all the airports, in all the countries I've lived in, this is my favorite," said Rob Anderson, a local pilot.

Pilots in Oceano don't want to see their airport turned into this.

"Artists lofts, single family housing, multifamily housing, light industrial," said Jeff Edwards, a developer from Los Osos.

"There are lots of areas in oceano that could be spruced up, that could be fixed up. Why not start with one of those existing properties and leave the airport alone," said Jolie Lucas, a local pilot.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisors have already said they have no intention of selling or leasing the 59 acre airport, despite the county's $20 million budget deficit.
Still, that hasn't stopped Edwards from trying to start the conversation and he's set up a series of meetings to discuss options.

"It's going to result at the end of six months in some recommendations and some ideas about what might be feasible here," Edwards said.

Something feasible he believes will improve the community's image and strengthen the local economy, but pilots say the airport serves a crucial role for emergency services

"We've got beach rescue CalFire, Life Flights, Angel Flights," Lucas said.

"There is some use of the facilities for that, but I don't think it's nearly what Paso is," Edwards said.

For some it remains a recreational mecca, close to the beach with a picturesque backdrop and a future that's still very much up in the air.

Edwards will hold a public meeting to discuss ideas next Wednesday, March 17th at 5 p.m. at the Rabobank in Grover Beach.

The oceano airport will hold a celebration to help boost community support on May 8.

Unlike Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, or San Luis Obispo, the Oceano Airport is not open to commercial aircraft.

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