Friday, October 23, 2015

Silver Springs Airport (KSPZ) lease agreement being updated

Lyon County Board of Commissioners directed county manager Jeff Page and staff to enter negotiations with Silver Springs Airport LLC, which has new partners, on an updated Master Lease Agreement for the Silver Springs Airport.

The airport property is owned by Lyon County, obtained years ago from the federal government, and operated by Silver Springs Airport LLC.

During the Oct. 15 county commission meeting, Page said he initiated the idea of amending the lease agreement, noting the current one has 37 amendments and he wants to get rid of those and make simply one lease agreement.

After talks with Page, SSA replied with a letter to him indicating its willingness to begin the process to update the master lease agreement but with one request that the lease be for 99 years instead of the current 50-year lease.

Page said he had talked with attorney Jim Cavilia, legal counsel for Silver Springs Airport LLC, about drafting a tentative lease agreement. The letter from Silver Springs Airport LLC says once his draft version is done, it would be sent to Lyon County District Attorney Steve Rye for his review and collaboration.

It said once a completed draft is finalized, the SSA would propose a meeting with the Silver Springs Advisory Board to present the draft agreement “and to vet any concerns that may arise” and then to the Board of Commissioners for its consideration.

At the meeting, Kay Bennett, principal with SSA LLC, and airport manager, said, “I want to say thank you to the county manager and county staff for the enormous cooperation” given to the airport over the years and she looked forward to continue working with them. She announced the addition of two partners.

In an interview after the meeting, Bennett said the revision of the lease is the beginning of the process “to enable the airport to reach its full potential.”

At the meeting she said, “We know USA Parkway is moving forward and continued that they have been and will continue working with developers with the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, with the airport consultants, Armstrong Consultants, the state of Nevada and the Nevada Congressional delegation” and she felt the county would be proud of the end result.

She announced two business partners who have joined her with Silver Springs Airport LLC, Marco and Joel Lucich, which took effect in August, she said.

“I am still the name, the face (for the airport operations). I am staying on,” she said and remaining the main “spokesperson and decision maker for the Silver Springs Airport.”

As for the requested length of the lease agreement, the letter to Page said, “This adjustment will provide a much stronger basis for enticing outside investment both in and around the airport as it provides the stability and reassurance that any investor would be seeking. These investments will generate significant benefits to Lyon County and Silver Springs by specifically targeting commercial use, creating the backbone for much needed employment opportunities and a commensurate increase in tax benefits to the county of Lyon.”

Bennett indicated Nevada law allows for an airport lease up to 99 years but noted the Federal Aviation Administration, which has provided many grants for improvements at the airport, might have some issues “but we are working with the FAA on solutions.”

The letter signed by Bennett as owner/manager and Joel and Marco Lucich as partners in Silver Springs Airport LLC also talks about its desire to add properties to the airport master plan and for “the much anticipated runway expansion to the east.”

She said they intend to add lands owned by Silver Springs Airport LLC to the lease agreement and property owned by Lyon County in the area, needed to expand the runway. The letter notes Lyon County obtained its property--former Nevada Department of Transportation right-of-way--a few years ago working with Kay’s late husband, Hale, and NDOT. She said SSA LLC plans to donate its land in question to Lyon County.

Bennett said the extended runway is needed “to make the airport more suitable to a greater variety of aircraft” for landings and takeoffs, to accept heavier and larger aircraft, including all corporate aircraft.

The runway extension, she said, is planned to be 8,900 feet long by 100 feet wide from the current 6,000 foot-by-75-foot runway dimensions.

Regarding the new business partners, she said, “I have partners with the ability and the means to effectively move the airport forward.”

As a result, Bennett said, the expanded airport will be a facility “that can generate lots of local employment and commerce,” to provide “the backbone for much needed employment opportunities.”

Regarding impacts on the surrounding community with airport infrastructure improvements, Bennett said the proper time to discuss that will be as they get further along with the master lease agreement revision, “a good time to talk about the nuts and bolts.”

She hoped the revised lease agreement could be completed and approved before the end of 2015, “the sooner the better.” Bennett added, “If there will be impacts, we’ll address it.” 

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