Los Angeles Business Journal

Advisory Council Signs Off on Van Nuys Aviation Project

By Business Journal Staff Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council on Tuesday voted to recommend acceptance of a report that a new hangar project would not cause any environmental impacts.

The council voted 8-1 in favor of having the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners accept the declaration in connection with three hangars proposed by Clay Lacy Aviation to be built on the last piece of vacant property at the San Fernando Valley airfield.

Advisory Council member Gerald Silver voted against the recommendation. Member David Rankell abstained.

Clay Lacy Aviation, the storied charter and aircraft management firm, has proposed building 62,800 square feet of new hangar space, 17,300 square feet of office space and 136,200 square feet of ramp space on 5.8 acres adjacent to the firm’s current leasehold.

Because the project will not have any environmental impacts, a negative declaration will be submitted to the airport commission instead of a full environment impact report, said David Full, vice president at consulting firm RS&H that is working with Clay Lacy.

“There is going to be no increase in based aircraft as a result of this project,” Full said. “There is no increase in airport operations as well.”

The new hangars would be used for aircraft that Clay Lacy Aviation currently keeps on land it subleases from Syncro Aviation Interiors Inc. and would improve the efficiency of Clay Lacy’s operations, Full added.

Silver, who also serves as president of Homeowners of Encino, raised concerns over long-term impacts.

Curt Castagna, president of the Van Nuys Airport Association, which represents the major tenants at the airport, and president of the Aerolease Group that has hangar space at the airport, supported the hangar project even though it would compete with his business.

“To make this airport a world-class operation, projects like Clay’s need to happen,” Castagna said.

The vacant property, which faces Valjean Avenue and borders the Airtel Plaza Hotel on the south, has long been known as the Retlaw property after Retlaw Enterprises Inc., which is connected to the family of Walt Disney.

In the 1980s, Retlaw signed a 40-year lease on the property for either an office building or to keep jet aircraft. That lease was terminated because Retlaw failed to obtain appropriate permits and did not have the financing required for the improvements.

In 2001, Los Angeles World Airports once again sought interested developers but rejected all bids in March 2002, stating that the Van Nuys Airport master plan was still in the works and the board wanted to wait until it was finished before deciding what to do with the space.

Clay Lacy Aviation received a lease for the property in late 2013.