Airport to vote on Vineyard Wind heli hangar


The Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission (MVAC) will hold a special meeting at 9 am Thursday to vote on whether to choose Vineyard Wind 1 to lease the currently derelict Dutchess Hangar.

The hangar was approved for bidding as surplus property at a prior commission meeting in February, and a request for proposals (RFP) was issued. The hangar lease also includes the approximately 19,190-square-foot property that it sits on.

As of now, the building is being used for ad hoc storage for equipment and materials, as well as seasonal storage for airlines that service the Vineyard.

Airport director Geoff Freeman told The Times Vineyard Wind 1 was the only entity to submit a proposal. Its intent for the hangar is part of a multiphase operation to support the offshore wind farm development, along with maritime activities in Vineyard Haven related to that development.

If chosen by the MVAC for the lease, Vineyard Wind 1 would use the Duchess Hangar as a “helicopter support hangar,” Freeman said. He added that the company would have an agreement with the airport that its helicopter operations do not affect the Island community and neighborhoods surrounding the airport.

“They will have very, very strict standards if they are chosen, with very defined flight patterns that will not overfly residents. Their impact on the ground from takeoff and landing will also be in an area that will create much less noise, that would not impact the surrounding residents,” Freeman explained.

Because the hangar is not suitable for renovation, Freeman said, Vineyard Wind 1 would raze the existing structure and build a new one, if it were selected for the lease.

He noted that in constructing the hangar, the wind farm would be required to comply with all Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas standards, which was stipulated in the RFP. 

Freeman added that all green initiatives the airport is working toward — such as increased solar and sustainable energy use — will be incorporated into the construction of the new hangar.

He stressed that there would be no aviation activities happening until 2023, if Vineyard Wind 1 were to be awarded the bid.

If the bid is approved, the company will work through the permitting processes required by the airport, the town of West Tisbury, and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, then begin demolishing the existing hangar and building a new one.