Proposed airport hangar goes to public hearing

The LUPC was presented with plans to construct a 15,000 square foot hangar on an undeveloped lot at the Martha's Vineyard Airport.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s Land Use Planning subcommittee was presented with plans to construct a new aircraft hangar at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

The project, brought to the commission by Peter Rogers, leaseholder of the currently vacant lot within the airport hangar complex, aims to build a 15,180-square-foot steel hangar to accommodate eight small private aircraft, in Hangar G.

The lot is currently undeveloped, and partly forested, said DRI coordinator Alex Elvin, and the construction will require removal of vegetation and paving of asphalt over existing permeable ground surface. 

Although the lot was identified in the 2016 Airport Master Plan as a potential site for a future hangar, said Elvin, the master plan also states, according to staff review, that “the airport has adequate aircraft hangar storage” and “additional hangars should only be constructed if there is a clearly demonstrated demand for the additional space.” 

The hangar will be managed by Peter Rogers and Gary BenDavid, who will be operating as Vineyard Hangar G, LLC, and will sublet tenancy for grounded private aircraft.

According to airport management, said Elvin, “there is a need for an additional hangar at the airport,” as there are currently several leased hangars that have undergone changes, such as one that is slated to be replaced by a helicopter hangar. 

According to the application, Elvin relayed that potential denial of the project runs the risk of resulting in litigation, to which commissioner Doug Sederholm inquired as to what grounds a denial would cite in said legal challenges. 

Elvin cited a letter to the commission from airport manager Geoff Freeman stating that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) “views any denials of legal aviation activities at a federally obligated public airport to be considered possible unjust discrimination.” Elvin clarified, “The airport cannot discriminate against uses of the airport, as long as they are legal.”

Freeman told the commission that per FAA regulations, the MVC “cannot interfere with legal aviation activities, operations, or aircraft types.” Additionally, noise concerns or projected flight patterns cannot impact the decision of the commission. 

The project will feature two indoor parking spots for each plane grounded in the structure, totaling at least 16 permanent parking spaces. 

According to the proposal, the Hangar G LLC plans to work with Vineyard Land Surveying and Engineering to come up with a stormwater plan capable of surviving a 25-year storm, in addition to mentioning plans to add rooftop solar collectors. Plan specifics, such as total energy capacity through solar, have not been submitted. 

In agreement with MVC transportation planner Mike Mauro, the commission waived an independent traffic study and moved the proposal straight to a public hearing, which will be held Nov. 10.