Air Force, Local Leaders Seek Compromise over Proposed Textile Plant outside March ARB

21 March 2016

Officials from March Air Reserve Base in Southern California and local authorities are hoping to avoid a potential conflict over a proposed textile plant that would be located in the airfield’s Accident Potential Zone 1.

The project still is in the preliminary stages, but the commander of the air reserve base has said the $31 million, 185,000-square foot manufacturing plant could jeopardize the installation’s mission, reports the Press-Enterprise.

At a meeting of the March Joint Powers Authority last week, Brig. Gen. Russell Muncy said locating a plant in the base’s accident potential zones would raise concerns about the safety of its flight operations.

“The desire is to minimize density along these corridors,” Muncy said. “Ideally, if an airplane were to come out of the sky, you want it to hit nothing.”

Ultimately, the plant could make the base vulnerable to realignment or closure, the commander said. “Encroachment is the quickest way to render any military installation ineffective,” he said.

Danielle Wheeler, executive director of the joint powers authority, indicated the conflict could be resolved.

“There’s been lots of discussions about [this] project today,” Wheeler said, referring to her office and officials from March and the neighboring city of Perris. “We’re making great headway.”

Muncy similarly was optimistic a mutually beneficial solution to the issue could be found.

“We’re looking at ways, ‘How can we get to a win-win for the community and still protect the base’s operational capability?’” he said. “I think we’ll get there on this. When you’ve got good communication you can work through anything.”

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Dan Cohen

Area Defense Communities