The Oceano Airport is not for sale now or in the foreseeable future, the Board of Supervisors said emphatically on Tuesday.
“The airport is not for sale. I’d like to repeat that as many times as I can,” said Supervisor Katcho Achadjian.
Achadjian and his fellow supervisors were clearly annoyed at Los Osos developer Jeff Edwards, who has called a series of meetings that would explore the future economic potential of the 58 acres of county-owned land on which the airport sits.
Edwards’ move “caught me off guard,” Achadjian said. He said he would have liked Edwards to give him “the courtesy of coming to my office” to discuss his plans. Achadjian represents Oceano on the Board of Supervisors.
An Edwards e-mail that circulated last week announcing the first of six meetings alarmed pilots and others associated with the airport. Many of them attended the supervisors meeting to speak.
Chairman Frank Mecham said they might be better off talking to Edwards about his plans in the corridor outside the supervisors’ chambers, since the board had “no interest in selling the airport.”
A handful spoke anyway, delineating the small airport’s rich history, and pointing out that it is both a community asset and a vital link in the county’s safety chain, used in searches and transport.
Achadjian added that the airport has a million-dollar annual economic impact on the county and pointed out that should the county give up the land, it would have to pay back millions of dollars in federal money allotted to the site.
Edwards, who was in the audience, said he was simply trying to institute “a discussion, not a decision.” He said he was looking at the airport as “an asset for the future.”
However, he was unable to provide specifics about why a person who does not live in the community would call a series of meetings to discuss the future of development on land he does not own and that its actual owners say they have no intention of selling.
“Let’s get the facts on the table,” Edwards told supervisors, and “set emotion aside.”
None of the five supervisors took him up on his offer. “It’s not something we’re interested in,” said Adam Hill.