Minimum standards approved for airport

Commissioners rule on YVRA activities

Vendors at Yampa Valley Regional Airport selling anything from food to repair services now have standards describing what percentage of their earnings go to the airport, how much insurance they need to operate and more.

On Tuesday, Routt County commissioners unanimously approved minimum standards for airport activities. With those minimum standards, development at the airport can take place in an orderly fashion, county officials said.

"Anybody who comes in to the airport has certain standards they have to meet," Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said.

The minimum standards were first drafted by the Yampa Valley Regional Airport Advisory Board, which was replaced by the Yampa Valley Airport Commission last year. About a year and a half of work went into the standards, Sullivan said.

The minimum standards include guidelines for activities that have yet to take place at the airport, such as a flight training school, a flying club and a commercial airplane repair operation.

Until now, the airport had negotiated separate contracts with each commercial vendor but had no unified document to follow while conducting those negotiations. Separate contracts will continue to be signed with each vendor, but now there are principles guiding those contracts, Sullivan said.

"Obviously it's something that many airports have and most airports need," said Jim Parker, aviation director for the airport. "It certainly is a useful tool. It makes the playing field level for everyone. Everybody that's interested in any type of commercial aeronautical activity at the airport, with minimum standards in place, they know what the very minimum requirements are for them to operate."

The airport commission has to develop standards for hangars, such as how tall the hangars should be, how much they will cost to lease and what direction they should face, Sullivan said. Those standards likely will be completed in the next few months.

Without the minimum standards the county just adopted, commercial growth at the airport could have been, "inconsistent and vary greatly and not be of real good service to anybody," Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.

The guidelines provide a basic framework for what sort of developments are possible, he said.

"It's something we needed to get done and get updated and expanded and that's what we did," Ellison said.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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