The Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission voted Thursday to take the first steps toward opening up nine additional acres of land for development in the airport business park.
The business park expansion will still need approvals from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and the Federal Aviation Commission, among other agencies. It has been under discussion by the airport commission this year as a way to generate more revenue for the Island’s only commercial airport.
At their meeting Thursday, airport commissioners approved a lease lot layout drawn by consultants at McFarland Johnson that would create 10 new lots ranging in size from .13 to 3.5 acres.
Commission chairman Bob Rosenbaum told the Gazette Friday that the expansion would not only generate more revenue for the airport but also provide opportunities for new Vineyard businesses.
“There’s been talk about everything from a supermarket to a hotel,” he said.
McFarland and Johnson project manager Matthew O’Brien of McFarland said the plan now goes to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for review as a development of regional impact (DRI). He said the plans will also be presented to the Edgartown planning board for comment.
The airport business park includes 55 acres east of the airport runways plus 17 acres around the airport entrance road. Lots in the business park are currently leased to 46 tenants. Income from leases is projected to bring in about $1.6 million for the airport this year, according to most recent budget.
If the plan is eventually approved, the airport commission will solicit tenants for the lots through a request for proposal (RFP) process.
The vote was 6-0 to approve the plan and send it on to the next steps.
In other business Thursday, Mr. O’Brien updated commissioners on the runway repaving project set to get under way in October. He said contracts have been signed with Lawrence-Lynch Corp. of Falmouth to begin work next month. The project, which is being funded with a $10 million federal grant, is due to be finished by May.
Commissioners agreed to a five per cent pay raise and change in title for airport manager Ann Richart, who will now be called the airport director. Ms. Richart’s annual salary will increase from $158,900 to $166,900. She will also continue to receive a $1,100 monthly housing stipend.
The raise was recommended by the personnel subcommittee after a performance review of Ms. Richart at their last meeting. Subcommittee chairman Don Ogilvie pointed to the airport’s receipt of the $10 million FAA grant for runway repaving and reconstruction and the completion of the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting/Snow Removal Equipment Building under Ms. Richart’s leadership during her first two years on the job.
“The committee voted unanimously in support,” he said.
Ms. Richart did not attend the meeting.
Airport Laundromat owner Nicholas Catt has withdrawn his proposal to build a car wash on Lot 34 of the business park, land use subcommittee chairman Peter Wharton reported.
“They will be coming back to us with a new proposal, business to be determined, but we look forward to seeing what that next proposal might be,” Mr. Wharton said.
Mr. Catt’s car wash would have been built one lot over from the Shell station, car wash and convenience store owned by Louis Paciello, set to open this month.
Assistant manager Geoffrey Freeman gave a post summer review of airport operations and said he is working with LAZ Parking to streamline issues with using the Island Card on the new automated parking machines. He said next year the airport will look for ways to alleviate traffic congestion during peak flight times.
“Thankfully this summer went pretty well,” he said.