Jet Ranch receives airport officials recommendation

Supporters of the Jet Ranch hangar project being proposed for the Carson City Airport told opponents Wednesday the project won't have as big an impact as nearby residents fear.

Airport Authority members recommended Wednesday that the Jet Ranch be built. The proposal will be presented to the Planning Commission next week.

There are roughly 175 hangars on the grounds now. No more than 17 more aircraft would be flying in and out of the airport as a result of this project, said Gary Handelin, a member of the authority.

A potential maximum increase of "about 10 percent" would result from the Jet Ranch, he said.

Roughly 40 people came to the meeting, which touched on issues such as flight patterns and airport security.

The assurances did not convince everyone.

"So far I haven't anything that would change my mind," said Jan Moritz, who lives near the airport and opposes the project.

The main Jet Ranch building would be roughly 32,000 square feet and nearly 60 feet high and sit near the center of the airport on about 3.3 acres. Office and administrative space would take up about 3,200 square feet of the total. There would be 12 other hangars built: five of them within 18,750 square feet of space and another seven contained in 26,350 square feet, according to the city.

Early concerns were that the owner, Tom Gonzales, would be using his main hangar for a large plane. Representatives of Gonzales said it's more likely he'd be flown in an aircraft that seats only eight or nine passengers. He's expected to rent out the smaller hangars to other pilots.

Gonzales "can only be in one plane at a time," said Mike Reynolds, a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

They also discussed a proposal to have members of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps watch aircraft from the end of the runway to see whether they are traveling at the appropriate height, currently 800 feet above ground level, and take down tail numbers of the offenders.

Those pilots flying low or off-course may face sanctions - if the authority approves another proposal being considered that might allow pilots caught flying poorly numerous times to be fined and possibly evicted from the airport.

A sanctioning mechanism will provide the airport with more than "the ability to cajole," said Supervisor Richard Staub, who also sits on the authority.

While the other authority members also said both were good ideas, having youths do the monitoring might be a problem. Pilots could put youths on the spot if the authority decides to hold hearings when pilots fly low or break other rules, said Yvon Weaver, airport manager. She suggested members of Experimental Aircraft Association as possible volunteer skywatchers.

Most of the airport officials believe airport rules allow for the authority to sanction errant pilots, though it's a concept that will be reviewed before a policy is implemented.

Though aircraft noise has been a complaint, there have been safety concerns as well. Two plane crashes in the Apollo Drive area have happened in recent years.

The Board of Supervisors would weigh in on the project only if someone appeals the decision made by the Planning Commission.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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