Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Restoration of World War II-era hangar at Katama Airfield ready for take off

After years of complicated legal wrangling between the state, The Nature Conservancy, and the town of Edgartown, plans to replace the dilapidated World War II-era hangar at the Katama Airfield finally got the go-ahead on Monday when Edgartown selectmen Michael Donaroma and Margaret Serpa approved amendments to the conservation restriction at the airfield. Selectman Arthur Smadbeck did not attend the meeting.

The 90-acre grass airfield purchased by the town in the 1980s is in an area governed by conservation restrictions held by the Nature Conservancy, the town, and the state. Any amendments to the conservation restriction had to be approved by the state legislature. Town voters approved the hangar expansion at a special town meeting in 2010.

“So this allows the commission to put up a new hangar,” Mr. Donaroma said as he contemplated the stack of papers waiting for the selectmen’s signatures.

“A replacement of the old hangar that will fit in real nicely,” replied Edward (Peter) Vincent Jr., chairman of the Edgartown conservation commission, who also sits on the airfield commission.

The final documents allow the renovation and expansion of the existing hangar at the airfield, from a “50 foot by 53 foot structure to a 60 foot by 100 foot structure.” The agreement comes with conservation restrictions on additional acreage.

The amended conservation restrictions call for an additional 62.5 acres of land (the Nickerson parcel and Atwood realty trust parcel) to be placed under the conservation restriction; 2 acres will be returned to a natural state; and a town-owned 21.2 acre parcel off Pennywise Path will be turned over to “the care and control” of the conservation commission. Use of that acreage is spelled out in the agreement: “5 acres shall be restricted for conservation purposes; and the remaining 16.2 acres shall be restricted for conservation, parks and recreation, water supply, installation of a solar array not to exceed 6 acres …”

For plans that took years to come to fruition, signing off on the restrictions seemed anticlimactic at the brief but significant weekly selectmen’s meeting.

In conclusion, Mr. Vincent said: “Now all we have to do is get it built.”

In other business, building inspector Leonard Jason sailed through his annual review. Mr. Jason said he’s currently dealing with a “few issues” that include evicting a tenant.

“It’s never-ending,” said town administrator Pam Dolby.

Selectman Margaret Serpa gave her stamp of approval on Mr. Jason’s work: “Lenny does his job and that’s what we want him to do.”

The selectmen went into executive session with town counsel to “consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property.”


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