Helicopter stirs woes for owner of air park
AGUA DULCE – County prosecutors are being asked to investigate the owner of the Agua Dulce Air Park on suspicion of operating a helicopter at his Sierra Highway home without a heliport permit. In a Jan. 6 letter to county District Attorney Steve Cooley, 5th District county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich asked prosecutors to review a notice of violation issued by county zoning-code enforcers to airport owner Wayne Spears for maintaining a heliport without a permit at his residential compound in the 7900 block of Sierra Highway. “We had reports from our code-enforcement department of a helicopter taking off and landing,” said Paul Novak, Antonovich’s land-use deputy. “You can’t take off and land a helicopter without a conditional use permit for a heliport.” Spears, whose plans to expand the Agua Dulce Air Park have made him the center of controversy in this town of 4,000, did not return calls for comment. His attorney, Mark Armbruster, said Spears has grounded his helicopter since he learned of the violation in December. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita “This immediately has ceased, and he has not flown in and out of there since,” Armbruster said. “He is arranging to have (the helicopter) towed out.” Antonovich’s request comes as the county Regional Planning Commission considers a permit allowing expansion of the air park, a contentious issue that has split the unincorporated community between the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys for decades. Novak said the two issues, which involve different properties, are not connected. “They are two entirely separate cases,” he said. Novak said county officials have received e-mails and phone calls from area residents about helicopter operation on the property. He said there were two helicopters on the property, and one has been removed. The county Department of Regional Planning on Oct. 4 cited Spears, who was ordered to comply with zoning ordinances within 30 days upon receipt of the notice, or the case would be referred to county prosecutors. Armbruster said Spears never received the October letter. “The supervisor wants the D.A. to investigate our options to bring the property into compliance as soon as possible,” Novak said. “The supervisor would like the helicopters removed from the property (as soon as possible.)” A conviction could mean up to six months jail time and a $1,000 fine for each day a violation occurred. There also might be liability for $2,600 in county noncompliance and collection penalties. Spears, owner of Sylmar-based Spears Manufacturing and a tycoon in polyvinyl-chloride or PVC pipe, took over the airport in September. An expansion permit allows an extended runway, 55 aircraft storage hangars and four service hangars. Many residents fear a larger facility would bring more planes – even jets – and more noise. Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!