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City outlines plans to demolish old hangars at Ogden-Hinckley Airport | News, Sports, Jobs

Jamie Lampros, Special to Standard Examiner

The terminal at Ogden-Hinckley Airport is pictured Friday May 20, 2022.

OGDEN – City officials are proposing a five-year program to pay for the planned demolition of the old hangars at Ogden-Hinckley Airport, part of a master plan to make the airport more attractive to commercial airlines and travelers and improve the city’s financial situation.

But the program comes amid an ongoing federal lawsuit brought by hangar land tenants who say their hangar improvements are going to be unconstitutionally taken away from them.

Brandon Cooper, Ogden’s director of economic development, presented city council during a business meeting on Tuesday with a plan to spend $250,000 a year to demolish 35 sheds over the next two years and another 52 over the next two years. next three years.

The demolition program targets sheds that are too old, in too poor condition “or whose underlying land is necessary for higher/better use,” according to a planning document.

Council member Richard Hyer asked Cooper about how tenants are being treated when their lease expires, including whether they are able to maintain occupancy through month-to-month rentals pending demolition.

“We try to balance tenant needs and lease terms and conditions with the master plan,” Cooper said. “In strategic areas, we will absolutely eliminate them.”

The council took no action on the demolition budget plan, which is part of the council’s broader review of the city’s proposed spending for future fiscal years.

Airport manager Bryant Garrett said in an interview that five hangars – around 60 years old or more – have been demolished so far with existing funding. A demolition cost $90,000 because the hangar was connected to a building the airport wants to keep, he said.

Garrett said some hangars don’t contain planes. The master plan states that once a shed has been on municipal land for more than 40 years, a tenant would be required to sign a facility lease agreement in addition to the ground rent they paid for years. under the old leases. However, with some sheds, the city would no longer offer leases and the city would take over or demolish the sheds.

“We’ve had people in sheds who are no longer flying and storing items from their homes, like boats, RVs, trailers,” Garrett said. “If you went to a mini storage place, you would pay a ton of money for that storage. So if you’re just paying ground rent here, it looks like you’re getting a really good deal.”

Garrett said a major concern is that there are only a limited number of properties available at airports where planes can access runways and taxiways.

The tenants’ lawsuit, heard in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, seeks an injunction to prevent the city from terminating long-term hangar leases. The Ogden Regional Airport Association alleges the city’s plans will allow the city to illegally take improvements built into hangars after land leases are not renewed.

The city unfairly ended a practice that leaseholders have a right of first refusal when their lease expires, the suit says. New leases since 2017 have not offered a right of first refusal, and the city claims in court documents that it has never promised perpetual land leases.

Doug Lawton of Ogden, a retired F-16 pilot and commercial airline pilot, rents space for his private plane in an airport hangar. He is not one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit but said he believed the tenants had legitimate questions. He also wonders if Ogden can attract a robust commercial airline business, no matter how much officials upgrade facilities to accommodate it.

Regarding the lease situation, Lawton used the example of a landlord who buys a house on land he does not own, with an amicable lease. “Then somewhere along the line they start to change to allow them to take your house away from you, without pay,” he said.

Lawton described the airport hangar project as a transaction of eminent domain without proper compensation at fair market value. “The city is getting to the point where they’re saying, ‘We’re going to take back our land and everything on it.’ I suspect they have some perverse methodology where they can justify saying that. But the shed owner lost all the money he spent on the shed.

While Allegiant and Avelo airlines operate a few flights from Ogden Airport, Lawton said market forces are a headwind against other flight numbers and airlines, such as the proximity of plentiful flights from Ogden. Salt Lake City Airport.

He also questioned Ogden’s appeal to leisure travellers. Other than Snowbasin, “we don’t have anything,” Lawton said, that “will attract people in droves” to fly in Ogden.

Garrett said the airport’s plans aren’t based solely on a desire for more commercial air service. “A lot of people want to build new sheds here and we want to help accommodate them,” Garrett said. “Mostly corporate hangars with big planes, which are pretty hard to find now. I receive 10 to 15 calls per week from people wishing to acquire a shed.

He added: “We are trying to attract more aircraft, more pilots, more business, to hopefully create jobs and further economic impact on the town of Ogden and surrounding communities.”


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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion