Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Randall Airport (06N) owner pushing aviation community proposal

TOWN OF WALLKILL - Wearing an all-white shirt, suspenders, shoes, pants, hat and round, black sunglasses, Charles Brodie finished mowing the lawn at Randall Airport late Monday morning, hopped off his tractor and climbed through a window of his home to meet his guests.

His modest home on the airport grounds, originally a shed and trailer once used by a balloon company, is crammed neatly with tools, cans of oil and model planes besides furniture. And on the walls, in the drawers, on the tables and in the filing cabinets are the plans for Brodie’s longtime dream for his airport - an aviation community.

The idea began before he even bought Randall Airport in 1984 for $285,000.

“If this were a marathon,” Brodie said, “this would be the 26th mile.”

Stan Tso is Brodie’s longtime friend and attorney. He said the time for the aviation community at the airport has finally come. Middletown and the Town of Wallkill are on the upswing, he said, with the opening of nearby Orange Regional Medical Center and Touro College in Middletown.

Sometimes called “airparks” (which Brodie doesn’t like) or “fly-in communities,” the idea is a place where homes and airplanes coexist. Where pilots park their planes in their garages instead of a car.

Brodie, 74, has said that 68 percent of the airport property is “absolutely forever-and-ever non-revenue producing.” That part of the airport cannot be built on because it’s strictly for airport use. But Brodie has 153 adjacent acres that could be developed. The airport has a 2,810-foot runway and is 77.25 acres.

Current plans call for 30 estate homes with access to taxiways that lead to the Randall Airport runway. There’s also 76 proposed homes that could either be one- or two-family homes, apartments or townhouses. Then there’s a 120-room hotel, up to 21 airport hangars and a medical building near East Main Street.

The airport now serves mostly as a parking lot for light aircraft and hang gliders.

This is something Brodie has wanted to change for years. Back in 1990, when Brodie first moved to the airport, his idea was for the project to be completed by 2003.

But his plans got stalled, Brodie said at the time, because of the climate of the aviation industry after Sept. 11. He couldn’t get funding, he said.

By 2006, Brodie’s idea for the aviation community was 55 estate homes and 102 duplexes, triplexes or quadplexes. There was a hotel, conference center and office building. There were plans to include an airplane service station and dealership, which is where he wanted Cirrus Design Corp. to come in. The company competed with Cessna making single-engine, four-seater planes.

“Flying, aviation is my life. It’s what I love most,” Brodie said.

Now, once again, Randall Plains is back in front of the Town of Wallkill Planning Board. It was reintroduced last month as a three-phase plan. Brodie said the plan was given preliminary sketch approval by the Planning Board. Now, developers are beginning the state environmental reviews and working on securing financing. Plans call for the project to break ground in August 2018.

Brodie said he’s received plenty of offers worth millions of dollars over the years to buy the land. But he’s turned it all down. He believes his idea is still the best use for the property.

“I just tell them no, it’s not for sale. It doesn’t interest me,” Brodie said. “The development has to be what the vision says it has to be.”

Read more here:  http://www.recordonline.com

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