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Controversy surrounds private airport hangar lease

By Meg Dickens
Freelance Writer

For several months, concerned citizens have been approaching the Johnson County government about private airport hangars in the community. While the details mostly remained behind closed doors, the owners have expressed concern over possible county plans regarding this property. After hearing back from the Airport Committee following its October 5 meeting, this issue may make its way into a courtroom in a different way, as owners have threatened possible legal action and have a lawyer on standby.
The first instance mentioned in the courtroom was to move the hangars at the owners’ expense. To this suggestion, the owners came forward to explain that this would be more expensive than building a new facility altogether, which they could not afford. After going through the Airport Committee, an agreement still was not reached.
The two groups seem to be at an impasse. The owners wish to renew their leases, and the county does not seem to want the same. Although plans can be made, no actions can officially happen until 2025 and 2026, when all but one lease expires. There is a debate between the owners and county on whether a related contract exists. The county claims it does,
while the owners point out that officials reportedly claim to have never seen the contract.
A lot of miscommunication seems to surround the issue. The owners received a Comparative Market Analysis listing possible relocation areas. One owner returned this list with corrections after reportedly speaking to the airport heads and coming back with inaccuracies in 12 of the entries she had time to check since receiving the list a few days prior. Said owner gave out copies to the county commissioners and assorted officials in attendance. Yet another owner pointed out the cost increase was “more than 800 percent” of current costs.
At this time, there is no indication of which way this issue will go. As asked, the County Commission did not vote on the issue yet. The owners conferenced to decide how they should proceed but were yet to make a decision. Keep an eye out for more news on the hangar controversy.