Countywide : Riley Appoints Attorney to Airport Commission

Attorney-businessman Michael L. Lapin, an unsuccessful candidate for the Newport Beach City Council last November, was named this week to the county Airport Commission by Supervisor Thomas F. Riley.

Lapin will replace Greg Hirsch, a six-year veteran of the panel who resigned because he has moved out of the 5th Supervisorial District served by Riley. The district includes John Wayne Airport. Lapin's appointment will be effective Feb. 24, according to Riley aide Paul M. Carey.

A former Army lawyer, Lapin is a graduate of the University of Illinois Law School and moved from Chicago to California in 1970. He moved to Newport Beach from San Diego five years ago.

The Airport Commission advises the Board of Supervisors on such matters as airport expansion, levels of airline service and maintenance of existing facilities. It is now studying proposals by two competing groups that are seeking a county contract to find a site for a new airport.

Lapin said Wednesday that his top priority as a commission member will be the "smooth implementation" of the settlement agreement reached in the lawsuit filed by Newport Beach against the county's airport expansion plan.

Under the year-old settlement, the county agreed to limit the facility to one that would accommodate 8.4 million passengers annually instead of 10.24 million as originally planned. But the settlement would allow the county to increase the number of daily jet flights from the airport and to proceed with construction of a new, larger terminal scheduled to open in 1990.

Some Newport Beach residents have claimed the agreement does not do enough to protect them from jet noise, but Lapin said he supports it.

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