Reprinted from the Daily News – by Rick Orlov, Staff Writer) With San Fernando Valley activists feeling the city ignores or misunderstands their concerns about Van Nuys Airport, the City Council on Wednesday approved a study looking at creating a separate commission to oversee the facility.
Currently, Los Angeles World Airports and the Board of Airport Commissioners oversee Van Nuys, along with Los Angeles International and Ontario International airports.
“Los Angeles World Airports staff has focused on LAX with Van Nuys Airport receiving little if any attention over the years,” said Don Schultz, a longtime community activist. “Look at the years it has taken to finalize a simple project such as the Propeller Park.
“Ontario International Airport has also voiced deep concerns as to how LAWA staff has ignored their needs and they are pursuing becoming the masters of their own destiny through the state Legislature by divorcing themselves from the LAWA family.”
A separate Van Nuys operation would allow LAWA to deal solely with LAX issues, Schultz said.
Councilman Tony Cardenas said many other residents who live in the area feel the same way.
“This airport is an asset for the city and is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the country,” Cardenas said. “We have to make sure that it continues to thrive.”
The proposal asks LAWA to report back in six months on three options for the airport, including plans for greater community oversight, creating a separate commission or the possibility of turning over the airport to private operators.
Wayne Williams, a member of the Van Nuys Airport Advisory Council, said he believes there needs to be more attention paid to recommendations made by the advisory panel.
“I think we have a very good panel these days, one that represents all interests at the airport from propellers to jets as well as the community,” Williams said. “I’m not sure we need a separate commission as much as a way for our recommendations to be heard and acted on.