City has eye on the airport
The meeting will be at 5 p.m. at council chambers in city hall, 710 W. Ave. A.
“ This all ties into capital improvements planned there,” said City Manager Robert Bradshaw. “We want to get a focus on what we’re doing out there.”
In September, the Texas Transportation Commission approved a grant of more than $600,000 to be used for improvements including replacement of an Automated Weather Observing System ( AWOS) and engineering, environmental assessment and design plans for anticipated pavement and lighting work.
The engineering and environmental assessment work will be the first part of a fouryear state plan for a few million dollars worth of improvements at the airport, city officials have said. Improvements are to include security fencing, lights, security cameras, runway repairs and taxiway and runway extensions.
Development at the airport could translate to boosts for the Port Aransas economy. While many folks drive to Port Aransas for vacations, some fly here aboard their private planes for long and short visits.
According to Randy Hansen, the airport’s manager, on a nice weekend, as many as 80 small planes might land at the facility, which lies just northwest of the intersection of State Hwy. 361 and Beach Access Road 1A.
Airport issues were put on the agenda for today’s council meeting after the city’s Airport Advisory Board met on Tuesday, Dec. 6, and voted unanimously to make a number of recommendations for council action. Among them:
• Increasing fees for vehicle parking spaces. Right now, a pilot can pay a $40 annual fee and leave his or her vehicle there, year-round, so that the vehicle is available each time the pilot lands there. The board has recommended upping the fee to $100 a year.
• Hiking the fee for reserved aircraft parking spaces. Currently, a plane owner may reserve a paved spot for $306 a year. The board is recommending that it go up to $600 a year.
• Increasing hangar lease fees from the current $400 a year to $1,000 a year.
Paul Davis, chairman of the airport board, said the board favored the fee increases after surveying what similar airports charge.
“We were charging much less than others, and we’re bringing that into line,” Davis said, adding that the board wants to see additional revenue generated for the Port Aransas airport.
The board also voted to recommend that the council approve:
• Establishing a regular meeting schedule for the airport board. Up until now, the board has had no set meeting schedule, meeting at the discretion of the chairman. The board is recommending that meetings be set quarterly.
• Starting a new rule that either the airport board chairman or vice chairman has to be a Port Aransas resident. Right now, no one on the board has to be a resident of the city. Davis is the only person on the board who is not a resident. He lives in Rockwall but travels to Port Aransas for meetings.
• Calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct an air space study to determine what kinds of uses are safe and unsafe at the airport.
• Asking the council to have the city attorney look into whether current lease activities comply with Texas General Land Office requirements. For instance, at least some hangar leases state that planes must be kept inside hangars, but some planes that are too big to get into hangars are being kept outside the structures, Davis said. Another suggested request to the city attorney has been a clarification on the legalities of operating a business out of an airport hangar. One business operates out of a hangar at Mustang Beach Airport, Hansen said.
Questions? Comments? Contact Dan Parker at (361) 749- 5131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.