Planners support private helicopter pad near JWA

Costa Mesa’s Planning Commission has unanimously recommended approval of a private helicopter pad for an industrial building near John Wayne Airport.

If given final approval by the City Council, the 40-by-40-foot pad on the roof of 3132 Airway Ave. would be solely used by Mike Manclark, CEO of Leading Edge Aviation Services, to park his personal helicopter.

On Monday, commissioners recommended that his chopper only be allowed two takeoffs and two landings each day, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. No helicopter repair or refueling would be allowed. Manclark now parks his helicopter on JWA property, about 200 yards away from 3132 Airway.

The commission’s decision was met with protest by other Airway Avenue tenants, who worried about the helicopter blades spewing up dust and debris into nearby air ducts.

They were also worried about losing value on their properties as a result.

Their concerns echoed ones raised in 2011, when 3132 Airway’s owner, Kevin Coleman, first requested the pad. The Planning Commission at the time did not recommend approving the project, and Coleman dropped the proposal before it reached the City Council.

Newport Beach city officials also contested the pad, believing it would expand JWA’s footprint in the area — a long-standing sticking point for many Newport residents.

When asked about Coleman’s revived proposal, Newport’s development director, Kim Brandt, echoed the city’s earlier comments but provided no new concerns.

Commissioner Colin McCarthy downplayed the Newport angle, saying the city would not be affected.

“We’re struggling to find where Newport Beach is in the flight path of this thing,” he said.

The pad has received prior approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration and the county’s Airport Land Use Commission. It would be one of about five throughout Costa Mesa and the second along Airway Avenue.