Jet Ranch project can move forward

The Jet Ranch hangar project proposed for the Carson City Airport will continue as planned, even though two petitions circulated around the city against the project garnered more than 100 signatures.

Jerry Vaccaro, who with his wife owns a business on Highway 50 East, flied an appeal asking the supervisors to stop the project. Supervisors denied the appeal during their meeting Thursday.

"They're not playing with a full deck," Vaccaro said of the supervisors' vote. "They set aside safety because they want to collect tax dollars."

He said the airport authority and planning commission didn't adequately consider safety issues or other potential impacts on nearby residents that could be related to a project of this size, for example.

The 3.3-acre hangar development is being constructed by industrialist Tom Gonzales. There are roughly 175 hangars at the airport now, and this could add up to 17 more, depending on whether Gonzales opts to subdivide a large portion of the space.

Vaccaro also called for change in representation on the Airport Authority Board. He has concerns about conflicts-of-interest because most of the members are involved in the local aviation businesses.

Authority members could benefit later with more business contacts or income though they aren't being compensated now for helping projects being constructed at the airport, he asserted.

It would take a change in the authority's charter to change the written requirements for each member. Only the Legislature can make that change, said Carson City Manager Linda Ritter.

Another resident, Dottie Kelley, simply wants safety issues addressed before the project commences. A plane crash landed just feet away from her home last June. Airport officials have said realignment of a runway would greatly improve safety because it would make flying in and out of the airport easier for pilots.

"We would ask this and other projects be put on hold until the runway realignment is realized," she said. "We're not complaining about the planes, we just want the runway moved."

Realignment is expected to be complete by 2010 or 2011 and would move traffic away from homes next to the airport and instead route the aircraft over the city's east side industrial area.

Most of the project would be funded with Federal Aviation Administration money, but the airport needs to continue raising matching funds.

James Wilson, Gonzales' attorney, said his client has spent almost a million dollars and expects to begin the project by August. The issue now is construction, at least for his client, not airport safety.

Supervisor Shelly Aldean, however, said city officials need to consider safety when approving this type of project.

"In 2005, no one was aware of the magnitude of this project," she said. "And safety issues are germane."

Experimental Aircraft Association members are expected to start in early June observing planes from the runway early next month.

"Please protect us," Kelley added. "It's your duty."

Money to kick-start the realignment project could come from a bond, said Supervisor Richard Staub, who also sits on the authority.

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

In other business, the supervisors also:

• Approved Combs Canyon II, which would consist of 19 single-family homes on 25 acres north of Timberline Road and east of Combs Canyon Road. Combs Canyon l, approved in September, will bring 25 homes to a 57-acre site. Sites would be set back farther from the road than originally proposed to allow for vehicles to travel through more easily.

• Postponed investigation of whether the liquor license held by Bhupinder Lally should be revoked. He is in the middle of selling Winnie Liquor, 262 W. Winnie Lane.


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