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Hangar owners call for changes

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Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 7:00 pm | Updated: 1:09 pm, Tue Apr 30, 2013.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that it would delay the closures of all 149 federal contract air traffic control towers until June 15. Last month, the FAA announced it would eliminate funding for these towers as part of the agency’s required $637 million budget cuts under sequestration. Glendale Municipal Airport is among the 149 towers set to close.

Richard Goldman said closing the control tower at the Glendale airport is not a problem. He said pilots throughout the country fly in and out of small municipal airports every day that do not have control towers.

Like other hangar owners at Glendale’s airport, Goldman has invested tens of thousands of dollars in not just his aircraft, but his storage unit as well. Goldman was offended by an earlier story in The Glendale Star that referred to him and other hangar owners as “hangar renters.” He said one hangar owner spent as much as $250,000 on his hangar.

Goldman said when he and others bought their hangars, the city could not afford to build the airport. He and others went out and found agents, he said, and builders leased the land, built the hangars in 1999, and sold them on a 40-year lease. He said the city has limited authority through the fee-simple, absolute process he and other hangar owners have gone through.

Because of the strict language of the leases, Goldman said the FAA is trying to get cities to issue no more than five-year leases.

“Walter Fix (Glendale Airport Administrator) is working on that,” Goldman said. “He and the city feel they can revise the lease agreements through rules and regulations to encroach upon and control what we do in our hangars.”

“(Glendale Mayor Jerry) Weiers has done nothing that I can tell ... We e-mailed (Yucca Councilmember) Sam Chavira, and he didn’t respond.” -- Richard Goldman

To further bolster the hangar owners’ case, Goldman recited the Arizona Constitution, which Goldman said states, “nothing can be written to change a contractual agreement without proper compensation. If they try to do that, we’ll sue.

“Fix is going full blast with Jamsheed Mehta (acting assistant manager and the city’s transportation director).”

As for Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, a pilot who has a hangar at the airport, Goldman said, “Weiers has done nothing that I can tell. When he left the state House, we lost the ability to e-mail. My wife called his wife, Sandy, to get Weiers' e-mail. We called his assistant, Anne, and asked for one hour to meet with him. We e-mailed (Yucca Councilmember) Sam Chavira, and he didn’t respond.”

Goldman said the hangar owners have been told by Fix that the airport control tower would close, but the airport would remain open. But, Goldman said he and others are not worried about the control tower closing.

“We don’t need an airport manager,” Goldman said.

He believes what is needed is a volunteer airport manager.

“We don’t need towers; no big deal,” he said.

He pointed to other airports around the state that operate without a control tower: Scottsdale, Deer Valley, Payson, Show Low, Goodyear, Buckeye, Casa Grande, Sedona, and Marana. Flagstaff and Prescott airports do have control towers.

“Nobody’s upset about the tower closing” Goldman said.

Back to the hangar issue, Goldman said the FAA grant assurance was something the city went into of its own volition.

“We’re not the ones in violation,” he said. “The city is in violation, not us, and it won’t stand up in court. They have to honor our contract. The only thing to end this is ratify our contract to the end of the lease. We’re not going to give up.”

At the day of his interview, Goldman said he and two other hangar owners were ticketed because they refused to let officials inspect their hangars “without warrant.” Goldman said the reasons outlined on his ticket were “failure to adhere to rules and regulations,” and “refused to allow inspections.”

Goldman said he and his group of hangar owners have a petition with 70 names signed of people unhappy with the current airport administration. The petition calls for the removal of Fix and Mehta.

“We want them gone," Goldman said. “Weiers knows state law. Ask him how he feels about the city’s rules and regulations. Tell Weiers we’ve got that petition and we want Fix and Mehta out of there.”

Weiers said last week that he is aware of the issue.

“I actually own my hangar,” Weiers said. “I understand their plight and the city’s situation. I’ve offered suggestions myself that could work. We have to figure out a way to resolve both concerns.”

He said he has concerns about the FAA funding, “but it’s about property rights out there. I’d like to see us things work out so everybody’s happy.”

Weiers said he talked with Goldman last week, and has an appointment for this week. As for Fix and Mehta, Weiers said their employment is out of his hands, and the city manager hires and fires.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.

2 comments:

  • Piper posted at 5:08 pm on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    Piper Posts: 1

    I was a tenant at the Glendale Airport for more then 18 years I very much enjoyed my time spent there. For as long as I was there they have been complaining about the hangers. At first there were only hangers at the south end 3/4 empty because the rent was to high. An group was formed to force the city into lowering the rent. The hanger were on leased land and privately own, just like the newer hangers are at the mort end. The FAA came down on the city then because there were renters that were not aviation use. The city forced them out even their own (Glendale Police Dept.) storing cars as evidence. The aircraft owners were all over the city to let them build hangers. I even looked into getting a lease to build hanger. The city fire department decided they had to have sprinklers and the cost was two high.

    The city decided to lease the land BUT the land had too much of a slope so they obtained a Fed. Grant to level it and put in the taxi ways that all the hanger own enjoy today. The city leased out the land with restrictions and requirements. The biggest mistake the city made they did not fully enforcing the regulation from the start. I do NOT work for the city and yes they have made me angry in the past but I have to say the city did every thing they could and more for the hanger owners that the owners just do not want to acknowledge. As far as the grants if the city had not spend the time and money to get them the hang and taxiways would not be there today.

    Now to the tower, I have been flying for more the 45 years and I fly in and out of uncontrolled airports all the time. Most general aviation pilots do the same HOWEVER, Glendale Airport in within Luke's air space. The only reason the Glendale Airport can operate is due to a signed agreement with Luke AFB and in that agreement it states the Glendale Airport Most have a tower in operation. Now I would hope they never enforced that issue, however the first time a pilot from Glendale or a visiting pilot enters Luke's airspace and cause a near miss or a midair they could close the Glendale Airport the next day if there is no tower operating.

    I'm sorry to say this but the few that are still crying about the city at the Glendale Airport are nothing more the boys with their expensive toys wanting thing their way because they do not believe rules apply to them.

     
  • Glendale Airport User posted at 10:28 am on Sun, Apr 21, 2013.

    Glendale Airport User Posts: 3

    The Glendale Airport needs to quit worrying about anything beyond what to do for the survivability of the airport. Glendale airport is largely a Ghost Town compared to what it used to be. The reason for that is when the Stadium was build, everyone got greedy and had dollar signs in their eyes that Glendale Airport would instantly turn into a Scottsdale like Jetport. As such all support for the current, active money spending, General Aviation tenants disappeared and the businesses and FBO geared their prices and services as if there would be corporate jets all over the place spending money like there was no tomorrow. The maintenance support for GA aircraft priced themselves out of business, the FBO quit flight training, and moved out all their "little planes" to make room for the Jets that never came. The restaurant was even forced to close due to wanting something bigger and better. Most severe, however, was that the owner of the Glendale Airport Hangars business which has a 20 year lease on all of the General Aviation hangars and tie downs (Mr. Van Houten) determined that he should be getting more rental money for his hangars and tie downs because they were on an airport next to a sports stadium. Therefore he, under pretenses of "making improvements", kicked every airplane out of the tie downs and hangars. After he painted them and scrubbed the floors (his version of improvements) he then cheerily sent letters out to the former tenants announcing the hangars and tie downs were ready to be rented again, BUT AT ALMOST DOUBLE THE PREVIOUS COST. The result of that is now, 5 years later, his Hangars and Tie downs that used to be 100% rented and had a waiting list, are 98 % empty and have been empty since 2007. With no Hangers or Tie Downs available at a reasonable price, airplanes left the airport and activity dropped to nothing at the Glendale Airport. So, what did Mr. Van Houten do ? Review Business 101 about pricing for the market ? NO, he reviewed "Lawsuits 101" about finding a reason to sue someone because of your own errors. Well, un-fortunately it worked because a generous, ill informed jury, awarded him over 2 Million of the Glendale Taxpayers dollars because supposedly he was "discriminated" against by the Airport. The discrimination supposedly was because the newly built PRIVATE HANGARS (referenced in this article) were not being exclusively used for aviation, and he was not allowed to do other than store airplanes in his hangars. That lawsuit award was almost two years ago. It is now 2013 and his hangars and tie downs are still 98 % empty (interesting side note, is that he has raised his rental prices twice on his empty Hangars and Tie Downs since the trial) but the alleged discrimination issues were resolved and verified by subsequent inspection. So now, guess what ? He is suing the airport AGAIN. Who knows what for this time, however the Airport is once again spending lawyer money instead of using it to enhance the viability of the airport and the Taxpayers are paying the price for supporting an airport that will never support itself until the REAL ISSUES are handled and something is done to get airplanes to return to Glendale and make a market for legitimate businesses to open up at the airport. I personally have NEVER been bothered in the slightest by the activity of the PRIVATELY PURCHASED hangars, so I think the airport and city should get off that activity monitoring and get busy with the really significant issue at the Glendale Airport which is, how to make Hangars and Tie Downs available to airplanes. That will only be accomplished by getting rid of the Glendale Airport Hangars business that is sitting on all available Hangars and Tie Downs and is not legitimately conducting any business but just being some out of state Corporations loss leader tax write off and banking lawsuit money instead of being a legitimate business that facilitates General Aviation growth at the airport.