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New airport fuel standards approved

City Council recently approved new fuel standards for Boulder City Municipal Airport with a 3-2 vote.

At its Tuesday, June 8, meeting, Councilwoman Judy Hoskins and Councilwoman Tracy Folda voted against them and said they were concerned because they only allowed for truck-to-truck fuel transfers “in extraordinary or emergency circumstances with the explicit permission and direction of the airport manager and/or fire chief.”

Folda suggested removing that rule from the standards because she said it was being done at the airport and including it could create a problem.

Hoskins said she agreed with Folda.

“I know that I’ve done a lot of research … I know that most airports have it where you cannot do truck-to-truck (transfers), but that doesn’t mean that it’s a rule and regulation with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration),” she said.

Airport Manager Marissa Adou said those transfers are unique operations and the only ones being done were when Bob Fahnestock, owner of BFE LLC, refuels his truck at the airfield.

“He has a large tanker out there and he’ll have that refueled there,” she said.

Usually airport fuel is transferred from a storage tank to a truck that goes to the planes to refuel them.

During public comment, Fahnestock’s attorney, Cami Perkins, submitted a written statement that said these standards were one of several attempts by city staff “to implement airport standards which are not in the best interest of the citizens of the city and are designed to discriminate against BFE.”

Boulder City Fire Chief Will Gray said the truck-to-truck fuel transfers create a safety hazard and are a big risk.

“A lot of airports like McCarran, they have firefighters with crash trucks, so when you do a high-risk operation like truck-to-truck transfer … if something happens you can have fire trucks by FAA standards to that event within two minutes,” he said. “That’s impossible in Boulder City.”

He said in an extraordinary, or nonroutine, circumstance they could be prepared for it and be standing by in case something happened.

Councilman James Howard Adams said he wasn’t comfortable with truck-to-truck transfers being a regular activity at the airport even though it was currently happening, but was OK with it during extraordinary or emergency situations and keeping the rule in the new standards.

“From what I’m hearing from our fire chief, he doesn’t feel comfortable that they are properly equipped or prepared to allow this to be a regular activity happening at our airport,” he said.

Councilwoman Claudia Bridges agreed with Adams and said it concerned her “very much” to have that practice occurring regularly.

“Just because it’s been someone’s regular practice … it’s not OK for them to continue doing it,” she said.

Mayor Kiernan McManus asked what course of action a company that was performing these transfers had if they had to stop them because of the new standards.

City Attorney Brittany Walker said the standards would be effective 21 days after their publication. The company would then within 90 days have to explain how they will comply with the new standards. They would also be required to be fully compliant. If they applied for a permit and were denied or approved and then had it revoked, they could appeal.

In terms of what is allowed or not allowed for the leaseholders at the airport, Walker said their contracts are subject to all the airport standards.

“I think it’s a perfectly appropriate provision,” said McManus.

In the final standards, council did remove the requirement that the mobile fuel trailers needed to be permanently affixed to the trucks.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council also unanimously approved moving forward with issuing a request for proposal to build a residential development on Tract 350.

Tract 350 is approximately 45 acres of land adjacent to the northeast portion of the golf course and south of Adams Boulevard. It was approved for sale by voters in 2010.

The RFP will encourage multiple responses from each application so that they can explore multiple densities. It will also include the exploration of creating a special improvement or limited improvement district to pay for stormwater improvements along Bristlecone Drive, a deed note that the golf course may not remain there forever, the requirement for a park in the proposed development, how the parcel would be purchased (in a single or phased takedown), and that the city would not entertain variances for the subdivision.

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

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