William "Bud" Field, owner of Bud Field Aviation, wants to build 11 corporate jet hangars, one 20,000-square-foot terminal for pilots and charter flight passengers, and his own fuel sales operation on the undeveloped southwest side of the Hayward Executive Airport.
If built, city officials say the 164,000-square-foot development would mark the biggest individual development at the city's airport, with the possible exception of an Air National Guard station, which is expected to close in coming years.
"This will definitely add a new dimension to the airport, both in terms of hangar spaces and fuel prices," Field said. "All in all, it's a good thing for the city, for the airport."
Opponents argue that the large-scale expansion would bring more noise and nuisance problems to nearby neighborhoods of Hayward and San Lorenzo, and detract from the businesses already selling fuel there.
The committee, headed by three members of the Hayward City Council, will take a look at the plans today during a public hearing at Centennial Hall.
The most adamant opposition so far has come from rival businesses at the airport.
Field has been doing business at the airport since 1972, and already has hangars on the heavily developed north side of the airport near Hesperian Boulevard.
But now he wants approval for a ground lease allowing him to become a fixed-based operator, or FBO, which means his new development off West Winton Avenue would provide services and sell fuel to airport users. Currently, only two companies the Hayward Jet Center and AtlanticAviation are authorized to sell fuel at the airport.
Both are on the airport's northeast side and are vociferously fighting Field's plan.
"He'd be taking customers away from the existing FBOs, not just serving new customers," said Hayward attorney Ron Peck, who represents the Hayward Jet Center. The companies argue that there is not enough fuel demand at the airport to justify another FBO at the site.
"Competition is good," Field retorted Thursday. "I think the two of them have basically been sitting on their butts for a lot of years. They've just been willing to kind of bide with what they get."
Opposition ratcheted up Monday with the publication of a half-page advertisement in the front news section of The Daily Review claiming the development would "double or triple" jet noise, jet traffic and pollution at the airport. The advertisement, from an unidentified source, urged residents to attend today's meeting.
Field argues that the allegations overstate the development's projected impact.
"We're talking about a total of maybe 25 additional airplanes over there," he said. "That's 50 operations a week."
City Manager Jesus Armas said an examination of Field's plan by the city's hired consultant, Aviation Management Consulting Group, will be presented at today's meeting.
Armas said the airport is already well below its peak levels of traffic. The airport had 253,000 operations every year in 1990; by 2000, it had gone down to 162,000 and fell to 128,000 in 2005.
Most of that decline can be attributed to fuel costs and the rising price of aircraft, Armas said.
The Hayward City Council also on Tuesday night voted to approve the construction of a new helicopter landing area west of the airport's runways, but the project is unrelated to Field's proposal.