The Oxnard City Council has paved the way for construction of a controversial shopping center near the end of the runway at Oxnard Airport by approving a request for a zoning change by the project's developer.
The council unanimously voted Tuesday to change from residential to commercial the zoning of the 7.8-acre plot on which the proposed Gold Coast Plaza would sit at the northwest corner of West 5th Street and Ventura Road.
Council members cited the fact that the project's developer, Woodland Hills-based Raznick & Sons, had excluded a structure that had once been proposed for a sensitive area at the foot of the runway. A parking lot will now occupy the "clear zone," an area at each end of a runway where the Federal Aviation Administration and the state Department of Transportation's Division of Aeronautics strongly discourage construction.
"They took the project back and made it into something we can live with," said Councilwoman Dorothy Maron.
The Oxnard Airport Authority and the Oxnard Planning Commission had recommended adoption of the zoning changes, but not so the Ventura County Airport Land Use Commission, which in January decided that the project was not in keeping with airport-related uses.
Pilots, airplane owners and operators of businesses at the airport had objected that the shopping center was an invitation for an airline disaster because it would put buildings in the airport's approach. They also objected to Raznick's plan to put a parking lot in the airport's clear zone, citing state guidelines that also discourage foot traffic in the area on either end of a runway.