Steamboat City Council to decide if city should take on airport hangar maintenance |

Steamboat City Council to decide if city should take on airport hangar maintenance

The Steamboat Springs Airport as pictured from above.
John F. Russell

— The Steamboat Springs City Council will soon decide whether the city should maintain common areas around the new private hangars at Steamboat Springs Airport, despite language in a signed ground lease that calls for the private developer to do the work

City staff estimates it will cost the city about $15,000 per year to do the work, which includes snowplowing, landscaping, and pavement maintenance at the hangar development.

The executive hangars were recently built by Aviation Development Group.

The Steamboat Springs City Council has approved the first reading of a change in the 40-year lease that would have the city assume the common area maintenance.

The second and final reading will be considered on Tuesday following a public hearing.

The current master ground lease between the city and the hangar development calls for the hangar development to cover this common area maintenance, but city staff and the developers said they did not realize this until late last year when they reviewed the lease agreement after it was signed.

Further complicating the question of who is liable for the maintenance is the city’s recent discovery that its 12-year-old lease with another private hangar development at the airport also calls for the developers to cover the common area maintenance.

But this has not been the case, as the city has covered the maintenance around the older hangars.

Aviation Development Group pointed to this arrangement as a precedent and asked the city to amend the lease to relieve them of the maintenance duties.

Several hangar owners also called on the city to take on the maintenance, saying leases they had signed did not indicate they would be responsible for the common area upkeep.

In addition, prospective owners of the new executive hangars said their purchases of the hangars were being held up by the pending decision on the maintenance.

The council found itself in a tough spot in late February when it discussed the issue for the first time.

Some council members questioned what kind of precedent they would be setting if they agreed to take on the common area maintenance at the hangar development when, for example, private property owners downtown and at the base of the ski area are responsible for maintaining their sidewalks and other common areas.

Council President Pro-Tem Scott Myller asked the hangar developers what he should tell his “non-airplane owner friends” in the community if the city decided to take on the hangar common area maintenance.

Michael Dunn, the manager of Aviation Development Group, responded that it was a tough question and it would be easier to answer if the city hadn’t set a precedent by maintaining the other hangar development at the airport.

He pointed out the city benefits financially from the hangar development through fuel sales and fees.

In the end, the council ultimately voted to direct the city to draft an amended lease that has the city assume the maintenance.

Some council members called it a good business decision.

The council will weigh the final reading of the amended lease on April 7 after a public hearing.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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