Torrance Municipal Airport

Chronology of Development

1939 - U.S. Bureau of Public Roads purchases a portion of the old Weston Ranch. The site was to become a part of a transportation experiment to encourage the air transportation industry.

1943 - The U.S. Corps of Engineers acquired the air strip from the Bureau of Public Roads. A 150 X 5000 runway was constructed and other military development was completed. The Lomita Flight Strip became an important advanced staging base for the P-38 Lightening fighter-interceptor squadrons being rushed into the South Pacific.

1946 - The Army vacated the field early in the year, and the War Assets Administration took control. The Civil Air Patrol began using the field. The airport was managed by E. Y. Tarkington, who allowed private pilots to use the airfield. The area surrounding the airport began to be gradually developed.

1946 - The Federal Bureau of Public Roads made a revocable grant of the Lomita Flight Strip to the City of Torrance.

1948 - U.S. executed a Quitclaim Deed granting approximately 385 acres to the City of Torrance. The U.S. retained rights to the runway known as the Lomita Flight Strip. Many restrictions and conditions were placed on the property. The most important condition was "That all of the property ... shall be used for public airport purposes, and only for such purposes, on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination."

1948 - The City prepared an Airport Layout Plan which proposed the the airport be developed as a "hub" airport providing air carrier service.

1949 - Airport Manager E. Y. Tarkington turned management of the airport over to a Fixed Base Operator (FBO), Collins-Dietrich.

1956 - The U.S. delivered another Quitclaim deed granting the City almost complete and clear title to the property which came to be known as the Torrance Municipal Airport.

1956 - The City adopted it's first Airport Master Plan. The Master Plan still contemplated air carrier service and acquisition of land lying between the airport and Hawthorne Blvd. As the country climbed out of the post-war slump, and development surrounding the airport quickened. East and Southwest of the airport residential housing began to replace citrus orchards. West of the airport development was slower because the area frequently flooded during storms.

1956 - Quinten Engineers, Ltd. was retained to develop a more comprehensive Airport Master Plan. It was recommended that the City acquire the area West of the airport.

1957 - A one million dollar bond issue to acquire the Meadow Park area as an airport clear zone was defeated.

1957 - Torrance City Council amended the City Charter to create the Airport Fund. Airport Fund monies are to be used to (1) pay principal and interest an airport bonds, (2) to pay the cost of operating and maintaining the airport, (3) to acquire, or improve the airport, and (5) the balance transfered the Ommi Fund for other City uses.

1958 - On February 4 the City formally took over management of the Airport from Collins-Dietrich Air Services. The City soon began construction of a second runway south of the original airstrip and made other improvements. Airport development was made possible by five Federal Aid to Airport Projects (FAPs).

1961 - The Control Tower was completed (FAP 01).

1962 - Article 15 of the City Charter was further amended to assure that the property would be operated as an airport until bond indebtedness was satisfied.

1962 - The Perimeter fence was completed (FAP 02).

1962 - The Airport Master Plan was revised to restrict airport use to General Aviation and executive use.

1962 - The Walteria sump completed and low cost residential housing in the area west of the main runway increased. The first opposition to the airport was noted.

1963 - The second runway, an enlarged taxiway and field lighting were completed and 8 acres were added to the clear zone in the Meadow Park area (FAP 03).

1964 - In an effort to assure airport/community compatibility, the City began efforts to rezone the area West of the airport. After a lengthy process, the City used Urban Renewal money for redevelopment. The outstanding result was the Meadow Park Development.

1965 - FAP 04 was completed to improve the public landing areas.

1966 - Further improvements were made to the landing areas completing FAP 05. All told the Federal Government and the City had made over $1,000,000 in improvements to the airport.

1970 - The City began working on it's second Airport Master Plan.

1972 - The City Council directed that community goals serve as guidelines for the new Airport Master Plan. Daniel, Mann, Johnson, and Mendenhall (DMJM) was selected and hired to prepare the Plan.

1973 - The draft Airport Master Plan was completed and an Environmental Report (EIR) was begun.

1976 - The Meadow Park Development completed. (Completion date is "soft" information, no solid and final completion date was ever made).

1976 - The Airport EIR was completed.

1977 - The City Council began to consider adopting the new Airport Master Plan. The proposed Airport Master Plan contained ten elements. There were three land use elements: Aeronautical, Non-Aeronautical, and Off-site. Other elements were: Circulation, Operational, Recreation and Cultural. Aesthetics, Financial, Pollution, and Noise. The final cost for the twenty year Plan was expected to be $4.6 million 1976 dollars. The Master Plan was found to be so large and complex that consideration was very slow to procede.

1978 - Efforts to have Reeve's Field on Terminal Island re-commissioned as an area Reliever airport for training were made. The City adopted an Noise 0rdinance (2794) and installed an Noise Abatement system. A Noise Abatement trailer, with handicapped access, was located just west of the control tower to monitor 11 remote "listening" sites. FAA control tower leases were re-negotiated. Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Radar Landing System (RAILS) installed.

1980 - Sky Park Development completed. (Competion date is "soft" information, no solid and final completion date was ever made).

1981 - A summary of the various Master Plan elements was prepared to aid the City Council's deliberations. The Master Plan was finally adopted. The various elements were only adopted after careful review by City Commissions and the Land Management Team (LMT). That Plan, with some modifications, continues to guide Airport development and operations.

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