A 15-story office building and 15-story hotel will be built across the street from John Wayne Airport after the Irvine City Council sided with the Federal Aviation Administration and overrode local and state decisions that had labeled the project a potential air hazard.
“I need to put my trust in someone to help me resolve that conflict,” said Councilman Jeff Lalloway, who made the motion to hire a consultant and bring the issue back for a vote Sept 12. “When public safety is involved, this is way too important of an issue just to dismiss.”
Developer Greater Far East will have to wait until July 25 to see if the council will overrule the commission because some council members said they didn’t have enough information to decide whether to overturn the Orange County Airport Land Use Commission’s (ALUC) April 20 decision or uphold it.
An intense battle over a lucrative John Wayne Airport lease further ratcheted up Tuesday, with promises of legal action after Orange County supervisors granted the lease to a firm that was ranked fifth out of six by the county’s evaluation panel.
Members of the public raised concerns about a shortage of housing options for homeless people, a troubling county economic future, and alleged improprieties by supervisors in choosing a major airport contractor.
The delay comes as the firm that county officials ranked highest among bidders for the contract is seeking a federal investigation into supervisors’ decision to award the contract to the fifth-ranked firm.
A nasty fight over a fuel contract at John Wayne Airport could get even nastier today as county supervisors engage in a last-minute agenda scramble to re-approve a contract for a low-ranked bidder amidst calls for a federal probe into the process.
Supervisors lambasted top airport officials for what they consider poor management of lucrative airport contracts for private plane services, and then rejected the staff recommendation for a big contract.