GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A plan to build a private, small aircraft landing strip near Battlement Mesa earned the approval of Garfield County commissioners earlier this week.
The so-called “Juniper Hills” landing strip is to be located on roughly 40 acres owned by Larry and Danna Knox of Lebanon, Ore., near County Road 306 about three miles southwest of Battlement Mesa, according to the approved plan.
The landing strip area was originally created when Energy Transfer Co. (ETC) reclaimed a 30-foot-wide natural gas pipeline easement on the Knox property.
The easement has since been graded and revegetated in anticipation of using it as a landing strip, Larry Knox indicated in his application.
ETC said it has no problem with the landing strip being over the pipeline. The airstrip will be approximately 2,575 feet long and 40 feet wide, oriented in a southeast-to-northwest direction, and will be enclosed by a 4-foot electric fence, according to the plan.
A small hanger will also be built on the site, but no refueling or maintenance facilities, Knox said at the Oct. 14 county commissioners meeting.
He said no more than five small, Cessna-type airplanes would be on site at any given time, and added it will mostly be for his own use and occasional guests.
County staff had originally recommended against allowing the airstrip, until the airstrip’s impact on wildlife, vegetation and other environmental concerns were addressed. Staff recommended approval after that plan was submitted.
Commissioners approved the plan on a 2-0 vote.
Industrial zoning proposed
In another land-use matter before the commissioners this week, the board referred to the Garfield County planning commission a proposal to rezone the Travelers Highland subdivision and public improvements district west of Parachute from commercial to industrial.
Property owners in the subdivision, which includes a mix of retail and commercial businesses, said during a recent meeting with the commissioners that they would welcome the zoning change.
The proposed new industrial zoning could also be expanded to include some neighboring properties located along U.S. Highway 6 in the vicinity.
The rezoning proposal will be formally considered at public hearings before both the planning commission and the county commissioners.