The Oxnard City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a 28-acre airport business and industrial park near the site of a similar, but much larger, proposed development that last year unleashed anti-growth sentiments in the city.
By a unanimous vote, the council agreed to annex the Teal Club Road property, which is located at the north end of the Oxnard Airport between Victoria Avenue and Patterson Road. They also agreed to zone the property for "airport-related uses."
They argued that blocking the controversial project would prove futile because the county would probably allow the development.
In approving the annexation of the property, which is zoned for light industry, city officials would have more control over development, they maintained.
'Air Park' Feared
"If it goes back to the county, they don't normally do as good a job as Oxnard," said Mayor Nao Takasugi.
But an opponent said the project, which would be located next to a proposed taxiway, might become an "air park" that would increase air traffic, contrary both to the city's general plan and to the desires of property owners in the residential neighborhood surrounding the airport.
Scott Bollinger predicted that businesses attracted by the development would use the southern quarter of the property as a parking lot for small jets.
"Executives taxi right up to a parking stall, step into the building and take an elevator to their office," said Bollinger, who has emerged as a leader in the city's slow-growth movement.
Thomas Ferguson, an attorney for the partnership proposing the project, said an air park "hasn't figured into our plans. That's not to say that it might not," he said. "It's just very remote at this point."
Another opponent, Oxnard resident Stewart Mimm, said the project would conflict with a 40-acre regional park planned immediately northeast of the proposed project on Patterson and Teal Club roads.
He also warned that it would increase traffic on heavily traveled Victoria Boulevard.
But council members argued that developers' fees could be used to widen nearby roads, decreasing the impact of increased car traffic.
Meanwhile, Bollinger predicted opposition to the development, which he said was "virtually the same project" as the 182-acre Oxnard Business Park that was defeated under pressure from his group when its developers sought city approval last May.
"There is definitely the potential for a fight like we saw with the Oxnard Business Park," he said.