ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Voters in Orange County blocked plans for an
international airport, effectively killing any chance such a
facility will be built anytime soon.
Plans to turn a former Marine base at El Toro into an
international airport were defeated when voters approved rezoning
the land as parkland. The 4,700-acre piece of land adjoins the
cities of Irvine, Tustin and Lake Forest.
The vote marked the end of a 10-year debate that pitted
residents of the southern part of the county against their
neighbors to the north.
"It's been an issue for years," said a spokeswoman for the
Anaheim/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "People in
the north were generally pro-airport and the [residents in the]
south did not want jets flying over their homes."
The tourism industry generally favored the concept of an
international airport here.
Los Angeles Airport is about an hour's drive from Anaheim, and
John Wayne Airport in Orange County operates at near-capacity and
with restrictions on noise and times flights can take off and land.
Those factors have prevented John Wayne Airport from attracting
However, because of the relative proximity of Los Angeles
Airport, the airlift situation is not grim for Orange County, the
There also is Ontario Airport, a nearby facility that is
underused and less than an hour from Anaheim, she said.