Council to discuss airport tenants’ concerns

Monday meeting will address dispute over fence, other issues

Grand Junction City Council members have scheduled a 5 p.m. workshop Monday at Grand Junction City Hall as a way to hash out concerns among general aviation tenants, the airport’s volunteer board and Grand Junction Regional Airport staff.

Tensions have run high in past months between some general aviation tenants and the airport’s management. Tenants have complained that a federally funded fence that was explained as a buffer against wildlife appeared to abruptly include a gated security fence that separates tenants from the general public. Some tenants also are concerned that agreements for their leaseholds were not conducted with parity and they are concerned about investing in hangars and improvements if the capital projects are returned to the airport when the leases expire.

Others question the board’s record-keeping of taking minutes at regular meetings.

One tenant, Bill Marvel, said he has taken his concerns to a number of elected officials and he’s pleased that council members will be asking questions. Marvel recommends that city and county officials change the airport’s management structure to include an elected official as the airport manager.

Currently, the city and county recommend and appoint board members to the Airport Authority Board. The airport manager serves at the pleasure of the airport board.

“To me it’s kind of a rogue operation that is not accountable to anybody,” Marvel said.

In response to tenants’ concerns, the airport board and staff lately have been making an effort to address issues through press releases and establishing a system for speedy email correspondence.

Board members have said they have explained plans for the wildlife fence and other issues over the years through their public meetings but few people attended.

Council members cannot vote during workshops but may direct city staff to form policy in a certain direction.

Gated access on Navigators Way and Aviators Way is expected to go into effect completely on Nov. 7. The two roads access the airport’s eastern end, which houses general aviation tenants and businesses, not the commercial side. Individuals who have obtained security badges can enter through the gates. Visitors without security badges will need to use the call box to be escorted to a tenant’s business or hangar.

Also on Monday night, at 6 p.m. the airport is hosting a public open house to discuss plans for a new terminal and runway.

This meeting and other meetings about the airport expansion are designed to meet environmental assessment requirements. The open house is at the Merlot 2 Meeting Room at the Marriott Courtyard in Grand Junction, 767 Horizon Drive.


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