Kremmling town board examines restrictions that would come with airport expansion |

Kremmling town board examines restrictions that would come with airport expansion

Courtesy photo This aerial view shows the restrictive zones that would be put in place if Kremmling's McElroy Field is expanded.

The possible future expansion of Kremmling’s airport occupied much of the town board’s attention during its Wednesday meeting.

The focus of the board was its review of the Federal Aviation Authority’s Airport Overlay District for McElroy Field. It designates zones in and around Kremmling that may be affected by future expansion of the airfield.

Grand County Planning and Zoning Director Chris Mancuso was present to answer questions.

Tuesday’s discussion was to inform the board prior to the meeting between the FAA, Grand County Commissioners and Kremmling officials scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 26, at the Grand County Courthouse in Hot Sulphur Springs.

The purpose of next week’s meeting is to get local approval for the overlay. Mancuso explained that approval of the overlay by the county and the town is necessary to secure continued federal funding for the airport.

Prepared by the airport engineering and construction firm, Armstrong Consultants of Grand Junction, the FAA’s Airport Overlay District breaks the area surrounding the airfield into four zones.

Zone A is the “Runway Protection Zone” where some height restrictions would be required on any future buildings. Zone A on the overlay map is divided into two parts, on the east and west ends of the McElroy’s runways.

Zone B is the “Approach Zone” which extends farther east and west than Zone A. Zone C is the “Air Traffic Pattern” area where aircraft may circle as they approach the airfield. Zone D is the “Airport Influence” area.

Mancuso stressed that the “overlay does not change what is there.” She described it as only a “planning tool” that will not force current landowners within those zones to do anything to existing buildings.

Most of the town board members’ questions and concerns were about Zone A. Mancuso explained that existing buildings within Zone A, including residences and the Grand County Fairgrounds, will not be affected by the designation.

She said the only possible exceptions in Zone A may be the FedEx building and the northernmost row of mobile homes in the trailer park located along the southwestern end of the airfield. No changes will be required of either unless airport expansion actually takes place.

The overlay is part of the FAA master plan for McElroy Field that could handle possible expansion over the next 20 years. Mancuso said that any lengthening of the runway “would not be that much and might not be for several years.”

The board members expressed concerns by the zone designations that might restrict or prevent property owners from future construction.

Mayor Tom Clark said he wanted “super clarification” on all possible restrictions.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, Town Clerk Sharon Cesar reported that the sales tax revenue income for 2007 was “positive.” She said the town had collected a total of $680,300 in sales taxes, which was $21,349 more than in 2006.

Also, at Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved a resolution designating April 1 for Kremmling’s municipal election and directing Cesar to select election judges. Three town board seats are up for election: those held by Peggy Colburn, Ken Bentler and Jim Sloan.

Cesar said that six petitions had been taken out by potential candidates for the town board. The deadline for returning election petitions is Friday, Feb. 29.

Kremmling Police Chief Scott Spade also reported on a recent incident during which two of his officers had responded to West Grand High School on a suspected late-night intruder. The officers drew their firearms as the suspect exited the building.

The individual proved to be a male teacher working late that night.

Spade defended his officers’ actions, explaining that it was a policy he had established after recent police training on how to deal with intruder incidents that have happened across the nation in recent years. He said his officers will continue to respond to the schools “fully armed and ready to be active” to deal with potential criminal incidents as well as to ensure the officers’ safety.

Public Works Director Doug Moses reported that his department is still receiving complaints about snow removal on the town’s streets. The town board expressed their support, thanking the department’s staff for their hard work in dealing as best they can with the heavy snowfall this winter.

Moses also said that his department has been awaiting the delivery of a new John Deere road grader, but it has been delayed. He explained that he has been reluctant to use the town’s old road grader to scrape the streets because of concerns that it will break down before it is used as a trade-in for the new equipment. Because the new road grader’s arrival date is still unknown, he now plans to use the old one to “cut the ice” that has frozen on several of the town’s streets.

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