GJ airport urged to adopt policy for facilities lease

Grand Junction Regional Airport needs to come up with a policy that governs the leasing of hangars and other buildings, a consultant told the airport board on Monday.

“A clear, well-defined policy that is not subject to interpretation” is necessary for several reasons when airports such as Grand Junction’s are trying to work out their relationships with tenants, Michael A. Hodges, president of Florida-based Airport Business Solutions, told the board.

Hodges spoke to the board and 22 people in the audience Monday in a workshop. The airport authority board will consider next week whether to hire Airport Business Solutions to guide it in drafting a policy, a process expected to continue through the spring.

One important feature of a leasing policy is to make clear that airports are subject to Federal Aviation Administration guidelines intended to make sure airports have control over the land — and buildings — on them, Hodges said.

Leasing policies have to include clauses making it clear that the FAA will require that airports lease to tenants for specified lengths of time, generally 30 to 35 years at the longest, and that at the end of leases, the land and improvements revert to the airport.

“It’s really about control,” Hodges said. “I really can’t emphasize that enough from the airport’s standpoint.”

The federal agency wants airports in control of the lands and buildings that serve them, for financial, security and other reasons, Hodges said.

All airport leases have reversionary clauses requiring that lands and improvements revert to airport ownership at the end of leases, authority Chairman Tom LaCroix said.

What the airport is lacking, though, is a general policy.

The board is now accepting public comment on the provisions such a policy should contain and another workshop is scheduled for Feb. 7 with a public-comment session scheduled March 20.

The airport board is planning to adopt a leasing policy on April 10.

If his company is hired to handle the process, Hodges said,  he was willing to meet individually with tenants.


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