Monday, November 16, 2015

Airport EXPANSION is Back??

*** Updated 2 Dec '15The agenda item proposed for the land purchase was removed from the agenda and postponed to a budget modification hearing (to fund the project, it was 'thought' -but apparently, someone thought better of the idea and merely proposed $30K for a study of the issue and an appraisal - stay tuned.) 

Many years ago when we moved to this lovely rural valley, there was an airport that seemed mainly a glider and small airplane operation. Of course that was back in the time that Deer Creek reservoir was covered with sailboats and the valley was filled with alfalfa fields, dairy farms and low density housing.

But, times change. It seems only a decade or so ago that the last proposal to expand the airport was soundly trounced by local residents in public meetings. Well, apparently that expansion plan never really died and appears to be back. 

An interesting scenario is developing.  A few weeks ago the Heber City Council, KPCW report, in a work meeting“discussion,” found a “consensus” to “Acquire Land on Heber Parkway for the Heber City Airport Runway Protection Zone (RPZ).”    Current RPZ map 

BUT, that property is under contract, or has been sold, to Maverik for a new gas station and last week, the Heber Planning Commission (Agenda) found that all of the requisite rules had been met and gave “Final Approval” to build and operate the facility.   This location may not be within the current Runway Protection Zone (apparently it IS, after further research, however. . . ) and the Planning Commission has the authority for 'commercial' approval.

However, this Thursday, 19 Nov, Heber City Council's regular meeting has this agenda item: “#11. Approve the Purchase of a Parcel of Land Located on Heber Parkway for the Heber City Airport Runway Protection Zone (RPZ).”    

If the gas station did go into operation, there is a possibility that it would be within the RPZ, IF THE AIRPORT WERE EXPANDED TO INCLUDE LARGER AIRCRAFT.

The price of the property is, reportedly, $1.5 million, and Heber has a vague Email “promise” that the FAA will refund the purchase price under the “Uniform Relocatíon Act appraisal,or reappraisal,” if the money is available, next year.

Before Heber City puts the purchase price upon its taxpayers for the benefit of The Premier Airport In Utah Serving Park City and Deer Valley,” many questions should be answered:

As the Maverik proposal has received FINAL Approval from the Planning Commission meeting, does Heber City have the authority to override that decision?(click the link below to
Would an "Alternative Analysis" allow Maverik's proposed use under "future actions of a proposed plan" for the airport? If the current property Zoning and rules allow a gas station, would this be an ex post facto decision to purchase the property?
As the suggested purchase price is reportedly the same as Maverik's price, would Maverik be a willing seller? Or is Heber planning eminent domain action? Or the FAA?

If Maverik has that much, or a larger, investment, is Heber prepared for a lawsuit from Maverik if the deal is quashed?

IF no future commercial use of the property can be considered, could the value be lower than $1.5M when the FAA appraisal is made under the "Uniform Relocatíon Act appraisal,or reappraisal." What if it finds a LOWER valuation? What "Master Plan" is being referred to and what is a "non-primary entitlement on the land purchase? (Email Brownson to Anderson 10/26)
Where has the MONEY for this purchase been budgeted? What is the source? Does Heber have an extra million laying around?Why buy viable property tax and sales tax paying land for government (non)use? Or will be be resold? To whom?

Is it true that the airport is of no direct financial benefit to Heber City?

If safety (from a possible airplane crash) is the most critical issue, why was the high School approved to be built where it is? Is it 'safe' to build a school bus garage in the current RPZ?

It appears this whole purchase proposal is based solely on a possible, or actual, 'improvement' or expansion of the airport. Do Heber residents really want to expand the Airport? Is an expansion what is really NEEDED for Heber Valley? Is this what COUNTY residents want?

Expansion wasn't very popular the last time it was proposed.

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