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It’s time to dismantle airport and hangars

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my disappointment with the lack of substantive information in the article, “Hangars built even though their future’s up in the air,” which appeared in the Dec. 5 issue of the Post Independent. It appears from the text of the article and the slant of information contained therein that the author only interviewed the manager of the airport, hardly a nod to investigative journalism.

Among the missing information or misinformation contained in the article:



1. The article states that the city leases to the developers the land on which the hangars are being built. The article also states that each hangar is large enough to house two small planes; the hangars, however, were designed to contain three stalls each, for a total of eighteen spaces. I’m sure the citizens of the city would be shocked to learn that City Council is squandering the city’s resources by leasing this prime real estate for a mere $600 per month (that’s for all six hangars together). Why is City Council wasting valuable city resources for the benefit of only a few individuals (many of whom are likely not citizens of Glenwood), rather than making the best financial use of this land to benefit all citizens of the city?

2. The article states that Steve Carver is building the hangars. My understanding is that at least one other individual, our state representative Gregg Rippy, is backing this project. Others may be involved. Did Mr. Masse do anything to confirm the identity of the developers, other than contact Mr. Carver?



3. The article details that the total length of all six hangars will stretch to 800 to 900 feet along the runway. It fails to mention that the builders of the hangars may have violated the building plan approved by City Council, which shows a slope at the property line of approximately four feet, by increasing the elevation pad beneath the hangars by up to eight feet in some locations. Moreover, the hangars are set back a mere ten feet from the property line, far closer than many other Colorado communities allow light industrial buildings to residential lots.

4. The article also fails to mention that the building crews have, at various times since construction began in late summer, violated the operating hours for the zoning district by beginning work prior to 7 a.m. (for at least a solid week this construction, which abuts a number of Park East residences, began at or before 6:30 a.m.). Of course, these violations by the builders pale in comparison to the frequent 5:30 a.m. summer take-offs that also violate the operating-hours restrictions of the zone district in which the airport now lies.

5. Finally, the article closes by mentioning that if the airport is closed down, buyers of the hangar space will get their money back. First, how does one purchase public property? Did Mr. Masse obtain and review a copy of the purchase agreement permitting such an acquisition? Second, and more importantly, did Mr. Masse bother to inquire from whose pockets this refund will come? Certainly the developers would not back a project like this in the face of the possibility that they would lose their investment by having to provide refunds to these purchasers. Perhaps the airport manager was mistaken that the purchasers of the hangar space will obtain a refund if the airport is closed down. At the very least, however, it is clear that our City Council renegotiated the agreement with the developers to include a term requiring the city to reimburse the developers for their costs of investment (actual dollars spent constructing the hangars) if the city no longer permits use of the hangars. Is this really how we want our city funds to be used, to buy out wealthy developers who made a risky investment in a time of flux?

Although many of us in Park East found ourselves frustrated with violations of the time restrictions by the pilots who use the airport in the summer, rattling our walls and waking us and our children at 5:30 a.m., we were willing to live with that occasional disruption as part of our lives. However, the building of these hangars has had a significant negative impact on our neighborhood. That impact led to an inquiry into City Council’s mishandling of city resources that has pushed many of us such that we no longer desire merely the dismantling of these hangars but the closure of the airport and the transition of that land to a use that is truly beneficial to the citizens of our city, rather than just a few privileged individuals.

Sincerely,

Kristin Taylor Randall

Glenwood Springs


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