Hollister Irritates Would Be Developer

Rejected builder takes airport gripe to FAA
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
By Colin McConville

HOLLISTER – A developer whose ideas for a project with jet hangars and a fuel farm at the airport, which have been rejected by city officials, has taken his complaint to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Last June, before the city put out a formal request for proposals for private development at the Hollister airport, ABVision submitted plans for six jet hangars and a fuel farm there, according to a report from Interim Airport Manager Mike Chamble ss to the Fede ral Aviation Administration. Later plans from ABVision, also rejected, were scaled back a bit.

“I’ve noticed that there is no jet aircraft based in Hollister as of today. I expect that to change in the near future,” Andy Barnes, owner of ABVision, wrote in a proposal to the city.

In response to rejections to his proposals from city officials, Barnes has taken his complaints to the FAA. According to a May 2008 report from the FAA, Barnes’ informal complaint contends that the City of Hollister had violated Airport Sponsor Grant Assurance 22 by refusing to accept his plans for a fuel farm at the airport. The Airport Sponsor Grant Assurance brought the funds to help pay for part of the $615,000 remodeling of the runway.

Barnes said “protectionism is going to progress in Hollister.” He also contends that if airport commissioners and council members allowed him to develop the unused land at the airport, he could bring in at least 40 high-paying jobs to the area.

“The people of Hollister are the ones losing out,” Barnes said.

After the city sent out the RFPs last spring for development of the land on the west side of the airport, Interim Airport Manager Mike Chambless said the city expected to get in quite a few offers from developers. The only one they received was from Sierra Pacific Associates Inc. Sierra’s proposal calls for the addition new hangars on the west side of the airport. In its proposal, the company would like to offer a bonus, paid to the city, with every hangar that is rented in the new development to help the economy grow in the area.

Hollister Firebase AircraftOne of the major differences between the developers’ ideas is that Barnes’ proposal didn’t include room for expansion of the Calfire base – a long-planned project there. The plan from Sierra would have the hangars wrapping around the station on the west and south sides. Editor’s Note: It is interesting that the previous airport manager ran into major issues after being caught  trying to change the Calfire Base project demensions after the project was approved.


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