Big Bear Airport Board to Review Lease Policy

Thursday, February 7, 2008
Airport board reviews lease policy
By BRIAN CHARLES
The Big Bear (CA) Grizzly

The Big Bear Airport board isn’t changing lease agreements with hangar renters yet. But change is coming. Airport board vice president Gary Steube read his recommendations to a quorum of the board at the Feb. 6 meeting. Steube said all the airport leases should be updated to the most current format, which requires an operable airplane to be stored in the hangar. “There are three different versions of the airport hangar rental agreements. Every lease needs to have the same language,” Steube said. Steube also said the board should have the final say on whether a tenant is evicted. “I don’t want this like airports in Orange County where there’s a hangar czar,” he said.

The hangars will be inspected annually by the airport manager, and if the hangar isn’t compliant the airport board will have an eviction hearing during open session of its monthly board meetings, Steube said. “This is so interpretive, we want to give people due process,” Steube said.

The call for change comes after General Manager Garry Dokter asked the board to modify the hangar rental agreements. Dokter said he is trying to change the culture at the airport and encourage hangar renters to store functional airplanes and not junk. Dokter supports the board being involved in the eviction process. “It gives the entire board a better idea of what we’re facing,” he said.

Steube said he didn’t support an earlier idea by Dokter to require FAA annual inspections as part of the lease agreement. Hangar renters who build planes at the airport don’t have annual inspections during construction. Gliders don’t need an annual FAA inspection at all, Steube said. Having a hard and fast rule requiring FAA annual inspections would push those type of pilots from the airport, he said.

The airport board will vote on the lease agreements March 5. The board members present Feb. 6 agreed that absent airport board members Jay Obernolte and George Berge should get a chance to weigh in on the decision.

Editor’s Note: It is not unusual for a municipality to review airport leases and monthly hangar rents. When a disagreement arises in these matters, it is best handled by the local pilots who are renters or hold leases. If you do not have an airport association we strongly suggest that you form one to (unemotionally) deal with ongoing airport operational issues such as rents and fees.

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