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City to take possession of airport hangars

After talking in circles for literally hours, City Council finally decided to let 28 airport hangars revert to city ownership when their current leases expire July 2 and directed staff to create new ones.

During the almost eight-hour special meeting Tuesday, May 19, council approved having staff draw up new regular leases and directed them to have appraisals of the facilities completed.

“Just for the record, I just want to say I’m not really pleased with how this has come about,” said Councilwoman Tracy Folda. “I really would have liked there to be a better notice and plan. That’s just my own opinion. I feel a little bit rushed at trying to figure this out with the time that we have permitted.”

According to the city, a regular hangar lease requires the tenant to maintain cleanliness and minor maintenance similar to private and industrial storage buildings.

Airport Manager Willy Williamson said with a regular lease the rent would cover the hangar “as-is.” Additionally, the utilities would be transferred to the city and, over the next few months, he and his staff would perform inspections on the facilities.

Mayor Kiernan McManus said it wasn’t his “intent to see people run out of their hangars.”

He and Councilwoman Judy Hoskins said hangars’ occupants should have been aware of the leases’ terms and that the hangars would revert to city ownership upon completion.

Hoskins added it was a clear case of “buyer beware.”

“Overall, these 28 hangars are pretty simple hangars,” said Williamson about switching over to a new lease. “There’s not a whole lot of problem(s). … It’s just a fluid thing. He (a hangar owner) doesn’t make any changes to what he’s doing. We don’t require him to do anything different.”

Williamson also said the new rent agreement would be standardized “to make sure it’s a level playing field for everybody.”

Councilman James Howard Adams asked whether an outside contractor would need to be hired to do all the inspections.

“The annual inspections will be farmed out to the professionals,” Williamson said. “It’s better for them to do it.”

He said the cost would be approximately $1,000 per hanger per year. He also said staff could manage the day-to-day of the rental agreements.

According to City Attorney Steve Morris, the new leases would be for the hangar and the land it occupies and be between the city and the occupant. The land or hangar could not be sublet.

This approval came after a five-hour discussion on how to handle the current lease agreement, which has been in effect for 30 years. According to the agreement, once the lease expires, the hangars revert to city ownership. The lease was between the city and Nunno Corp. Ltd. It allowed them to build hangars and lease the land they were on. Throughout the 30-year term, Nunno recouped its cost by subleasing the land and selling interest in the hangars. At the end of the term, the city would then gain the hangars as assets.

“The whole hiccup in the beginning was because I had a concern about what happens to the current tenants within this contract,” Folda said.

City Manager Al Noyola said the hangar appraisals will be completed in two to three weeks and then the final lease with the rental costs will be presented to council members. He also said his goal is to have them finished soon enough so that the current hangar occupants can review them before their current leases expire.

During the public comment several of the hangar tenants spoke and all said they wanted the current lease extended and not have the property revert to city ownership. They said they were under the impression that the leases would likely be extended and nothing would change.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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