Airport board adopts new lease guidlines

Leasing arrangements for hangars at Grand Junction Regional Airport have always been available. But a written document outlining guidelines for how those leases should be conducted has not been available until now.

After a committee hammered out the details for the past year and a half, the new airport policy, adopted this week, should work to quell some concerns expressed by general aviation tenants, Airport Authority Chairman Denny Granum said.

“Nothing’s perfect for everybody, but I think it’s a positive step,” he said. “The problem was with the previous administration. There were no guidelines. Now we have something that’s a footprint.”

Roughly two years ago, general aviation tenants at the airport protested over having a lack of clear guidelines over leasing policies.

The top argument was over a statement in the leases that hangars could be turned over to the airport after the lifespan of a lease expired, and that 30 years was not long enough.

The guidelines state that tenants with infrastructure on site after a lease expires can be removed by the tenant, and hangars that are not removed become property of the authority.

Other key components of the new leasing guidelines offer longer potential extensions for leases. Just as before, leases are offered for 20 years with an opportunity to extend 10 more years. Now, though, longer lease options are available for “extraordinary investments in facilities,” the document reads. In addition, leases up to 50 years are available to hangar tenants under terms that include proper maintenance of properties, provided that the property is not located on space needed by the airport for further expansion and that a lease extension does not violate terms of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Dana Brewer, an airplane mechanic and owner of Monument Aircraft Services, moved his business in 2011 from Grand Junction Regional Airport partly because he didn’t trust the terms of his lease. When Brewer bought the hangar there, he said he was forced to accept the timeline of the previous owner’s lease and wasn’t able to start anew with a 30-year lease.

Even with the new leasing guidelines, Brewer said he won’t move his business back to the Grand Junction airport from his base at Mack Mesa because Grand Junction’s guidelines are “still kind of gray.”

“I’m mean, obviously they are working in the right direction,” Brewer said. “They drug their feet. Back in 2002, it was an issue then.”

In conducting its research, the committee consulted ground lease forms in use by 40 other public airports in the western U.S. and took into account current leasing policies at 14 of those airports, the document said.

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