TAUNTON — It’s arguably anyone’s guess as to why a new and previously agreed-upon 20-year lease for plane owners and businesses at the city’s municipal airport is being held up.
“I don’t think it makes sense,” a frustrated Charles Malo of Rehoboth said as he returned to his seat, after asking for a status update on the so-called ground lease.
Malo, who said he’s in his 51st year as an active pilot at the East Taunton airport, was among a small group of airplane owners at City Hall on Oak Street attending Wednesday night’s monthly Airport Commission public meeting.
Taunton Municipal Airport Manager Daniel Raposa said City Solicitor Jason D. Buffington has been reviewing the lease agreement.
“It’s a matter of language,” Raposa said.
“It’s not a big deal,” he said, adding that “it possibly will have to be re-submitted for signatures.”
Commission chair Fred Terra said he’s hopeful everyone who agreed to terms of the lease will have the document by the end of June.
Jerry Field of Middleboro, another owner who keeps a plane at the airport, said lack of a documented agreement — for anyone who no longer needs a hangar and is looking for someone else to assume a lease — could make it “tough to sell.”
Field noted that he and others signed the leases months ago: “Why is it so complicated?” he asked.
The ground lease, which is based on square footage, affects not only those who use airplane hangars but also businesses that operate at the airfield.
Field and Malo are among a group of 10 who belong to the Wood Hangar Association, a name derived from the older-style wooden hangars they use for their aircraft.
Commissioners also said they continue to move toward establishing self-fuel capability so that pilots have more flexibility in terms of flying hours.
Raposa said the commission is considering applying for a grant that would fund 80 percent of the project.
Pilot Doug Cooper said the time has come for Taunton to follow suit with other airports that already provide pilots with self-fueling capability.
“It would be as if there was only one gas station in the city open from eight (a.m.) to five (p.m.),” Cooper said.
The commission formally adopted a motion for extended summer hours of operation Thursday through Saturday. Instead of closing at 5 p.m. the airport this summer will be operate those nights until 8 p.m.
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