Airfield neighbors: Lease deal doesn’t fly
Residents wonder what Milton gets from 40-year lease
The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors is considering a proposal from Prime Group Holdings to build a hangar and a two-story office building at the County Airport.
The 40-year land lease deal, said Board of Supervisors Chairman Ed Kinowski, would not lengthen the runway, increase air traffic nor do harm to the airport’s Karner blue butterfly habitat. But any talk of new construction at the airport and long leases have some residents around the airport worried.
Just four years ago, the neighbors successfully quashed a $2.5 million plan to extend the runway, a plan that would have required the demolition of at least two homes and the county-owned hospice, Gateway House of Peace.
“The airport is in my backyard,” said Tony Licata who spoke at Wednesday’s public hearing on the proposal with the Board of Supervisors. “You are giving them a 40-year lease? What is the town going to get out of this? My (town) taxes were just raised. I’m worried about the lack of information. I think there is more here than meets the eye.”
Licata said he is concerned that the county will eventually privatize the airport, making it a commercial hub. Another neighbor John Olenik has similar concerns.
“I think the board should take a serious look if a 40-year lease is to the county’s benefit,” Olenik said. “I want to know what the county will get out of it, what the town will get out of this? Who is protecting the homeowners around the airport? Who is in control here? We don’t know.”
The proposed agreement, which would run from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2058, would rent the land to the self-storage company for $22,551.40 per year, with an option to increase the rent. The agreement would include the use of 2.82 acres of land for a 19,600 squarefoot hangar with an att t g t t t hd30000 f t
He said Prime Group Holdings, which is located on Railroad Place, would also improve the facilities, which he said “have been needed for quite some ti ” Administration will also review environmental impacts, Harris said.
Olenik said he is expecting Milton Supervisor Scott Ostrander to help residents better understand the deal by answering their numerous questions. However, on Thursday, Ostrander would only say that the runway will not be extended and homes will not be affected. He gave no opinion of how he will vote on the lease.
“I’ll review it and make my decision when I vote,” Ostrander said.
Malta Supervisor Vincent Delucia said he is for the project.
“A 40-year lease is standard,” Delucia said. “It won’t increase air traffic, it will not affect the butterflies. I think it’s a good thing for the county.”
Residents in two Milton developments near the Saratoga County Airport question a proposed lease for a hangar and two-story office building.