Locals fly off the handle over airport hangars
Park East residents are incensed about a line of airplane hangars being constructed just 10 feet from their backyards.
They say the hangars at the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport are ugly, block their views of the mountains and reflect traffic noise from Highway 82.
As of Thursday, 46 residents from the subdivision signed a letter that was delivered to City Council at its regular meeting Thursday. The letter says the residents feel “frustration and disappointment” with City Council for approving the hangars so close to their homes.
One of the primary owners of GWS Airport Hangars LLC is Steve Carver, the owner of the Hotel Denver. Carver could not be reached for comment.
But city manager Mike Copp defended the approval process, saying “it was not done in a vacuum.” The proposal for the hangars went through a “full-blown development process” before being approved.
Park East residents are also upset that if the airport is closed by City Council, the hangars could be used for light industrial uses.
“This lease allows as one option a change in the use of hangars to other permitted uses in the (light industrial) district in the event the city ceases operation of the airport,” the letter said. “It now seems clear that the developer of the hangars has anticipated the potential future closure of the airport and has essentially obtained pre-approval of a light industrial business park immediately adjacent to our homes.”
Glenwood Springs planner Jill Peterson rebuts the letter’s claim. She said any change in use for the hangars would have to be looked at by the city’s Community Development Department, then be approved by City Council.
The future of the airport is unclear. To find the “highest and best use” for the land where the airport now sits, City Council recently created the Ad Hoc Airport Committee.
The uses for the land have been narrowed down to three choices: leave it as an airport, use it for a new Glenwood Springs High School, or develop it as a residential, commercial and light industrial mixed-use development.
Whatever the land’s use in the future, residents who now live in the hangars’ shadows are upset that the views from their yards went from mountain vistas to sheet metal.
“We have lost our view of the mountains and significant property value as a result of the construction of these hangars,” the letter says.
Residents say the hangars were built with an inadequate setback, just 10 feet from residences on Sky Ranch Drive.
Peterson said 10 feet is all the setback required for light industrial uses, which is the zoning that governs the entire airport.
The hangars are around 30 feet tall and, in all, will run about 800 to 900 feet along the northeast side of the airport’s runway.
Ron Lloyd, a Park East resident who lives on Sky Ranch Drive, now has a hangar just in back of his house. In delivering the letter to City Council, he said the hangars are ugly and don’t belong so close to his and other neighbors’ homes.
“First of all, they were so unnecessary,” he said. “They are so ugly and they were built for only a handful of people.”
In the weeks since the sheet metal buildings were built behind his house, Lloyd says he’s lost an hour of sunlight because of their height, the view of the mountains from his house is blocked from both the upstairs and downstairs levels, and the traffic noise from Highway 82 bounces off the sheet metal shells of the hangars and right back into his house.
“It’s ruined our neighborhood,” Lloyd said. “I wouldn’t want to buy there now. . It’s a slap in our face. It’s not only ruined our views, it’s ruined our property values.”
“(The hangar owners) got everything they wanted. City Council gave it to them on a silver platter,” Lloyd said. “Not one councilman considered the impacts to the subdivision.”
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.