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Calabasas : No Helipad on Landfill, County Says

Times Staff Writers

A proposal for a commercial helicopter pad on the Calabasas Landfill was rejected Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission.

In addition, Supervisor Mike Antonovich has withdrawn his support for the project because of community opposition, his chief deputy said.

Antonovich earlier had supported the proposal by Air One Helicopter, an Agoura Hills company, to lease landfill space, without competitive bidding, for the helicopter pad and a maximum of 16 flights a day, mostly to Los Angeles International Airport.

But on Oct. 13, homeowners in the nearby Saratoga Hills area voted to oppose the helipad because of noise it would generate. Last year, the Community Assn. of Saratoga Hills had supported the proposal.

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“We were only involved because we thought there was community support for it,” said Antonovich’s chief deputy, Tom Silver.

Continuance Denied

After Saratoga Hills residents opposed the helipad, Air One asked the Planning Commission to reconvene the hearing in 6 months so that it could revise its proposal.

But Commissioner Lee Strong said a continuance was unnecessary because he was convinced the project would not work.

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“I just don’t think it’s a proper place for a helicopter to be operating,” said Strong, who voted with three other commissioners to reject the proposal.

Abstaining was Commissioner Clinton Ternstrom, who represents the area. He said he did not oppose the commission’s denial of a conditional-use permit for the project but wanted to hear more from Air One before taking action.

An Oct. 12 county Department of Health Services report said helicopter noise would be minimal for nearby residents inside their homes. For those outside, the report added, the noise “will be slightly annoying with speech interference occasionally occurring in a rare worst-case situation.”

David L. Hicks of Air One could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He can appeal the Planning Commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors.

The National Park Service had objected to the helipad because a tentative flight path called for planes to be routed over part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Hicks offered a flight path in which planes would avoid the area, but Acting Park Superintendent William Webb described Wednesday’s Planning Commission vote as “wonderful news.”

Even without flights directly over the park, Webb said, “you would still have helicopter noise, and people prize that solitude up there.”


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