Aviation Advisory Committee
October 21, 2009
The Aviation Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following memberspresent: Chairman Carlos Diaz and members, Mike Harris, Theodore Elbert, and Randy Compton. County staff present: County Administrator (Hunter Walker), and County Engineer (Roger Blaylock).
Chairman Diaz called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.
The minutes of the August 19, 2009 meeting were approved.
Diaz stated that the there is now a courtesy vehicle available with insurance at no charge to the user.
Blaylock presented an update on the drainage issue at the new hangars. He stated the contractor has sawcut the asphalt and re-laid to the appropriate grade. Also the hangar general contractor has been adjusting doors to try to get a tighter seal on the bottom as well as warranty work.
Black widow infestation and restrooms
Diaz thanks the county for taking care of the black widow infestation in the restroom and hangars. He also thanked the county for keeping the restrooms cleaned.
Diaz stated we have some airport lighting outage, at least one white runway light out and numerous blue taxiway lights out. Diaz called Ingram to come out and fix. Dale Holbertstated the REILS on the south end of the runway are inoperable; there are 9 taxiwaylights out on the south end, south of the center, most of these are on the east taxiway; twoof the threshold lights are inoperable on the south end; one threshold lights on the north end; wind sock lights are not working both north and south. Glass stated the wind sock comes on with a photocell.
Diaz stated in reviewing the FBO lease it was brought up that there is a clause in the lease contract that had indicated the lease fee payable to the County was to be increased according to a formula after a certain number of years and those years have passed and that an adjustment had not been made. There has been considerable discussion at these meetings as to the reason for this and rather it should be applied or not. Mr. Dave Glass would like to address this issue now.
Glass stated that on the matter of the lease payments, we pay a substantial sum everymonth both in flowage and square footage of office and maintenance space. The squarefootage fee remains the same; the flowage has not been too great recently. Right now fuelis $4.30 retail. Our original bid on the lease was based on the 5400 foot runway coming in. If we didn’t have the Navy flight training program we would be in serious trouble because we don’t have that much civilian students getting additional ratings or the initialprivate pilot rating. Glass eels that any increase in lease payments now would be uncalled for.
Diaz stated the reason for the escalating cost was the market projection. It was based onthe 6000’ runway coming in.
Elbert stated in this case the lease needs to be re-written. Elbert recalls that there were two things in the lease concerning the lease fee that needs to be corrected. Elbert recommends the county re-write the lease with the FBO with something that makes moresense for the FBO.
Compton stated it seems it should be an addendum to the lease.
Harris stated that he has read on the EAA website that there are going to be some policy changes on general aviation as far as managing the facilities and having managers for HAZMAT and if there is a possibility of the rules changing does the lease change whenthings like this come into effect.
Walker responded if this committee is supported of this, as staff we can go back and do an addendum, memorandum, or whatever the attorney will feel comfortable with.
Elbert moved that the committee recommend to the county that the lease be amended in accordance to conditions to deal with the FBO problems they are having and also with the needs of the county. Compton seconded; motion carried.
Walker stated staff will set up a meeting with the FBO and the county attorney to go over these items and then take to the Board of County Commissioners.
Whiting Aviation Park
Walker stated at the conclusion of the last regular meeting, McCutchan had mentioned the limited access use agreement was to be completed and approved by the Navy and County and he felt this committee should be briefed on the Whiting Aviation Park and the limited access use agreement.
Presentation on the Whiting Aviation Park by Pete Gandy
Gandy stated there was a joint land use study that was undertaken between the County and the Navy back in 2003. At the conclusion of that there were some recommendations that came out regarding zoning as well as other criteria to be employed around NAS Whiting Field and the outlying fields to prevent encroachment. Looking at potential encroachment around the base and the outlying fields was an aspect of the joint land use study; we did not want to run the risk of loosing that base and the economic contribution it makes to Santa Rosa County and any BRAC base realignment and closure action. Back in 1995 Whiting Field popped up on the BRAC list as a candidate or comparison with other bases for closure. It was quickly removed through the effort of our congressional leaders. That was a wake up call to all of us. We really needed to take a look at what we can do to enhance the military value and protect that mission out there to keep that base here. In 2005, I was asked to chair the two-county BRAC Committee with specific concern for NAS Whiting Field that we were doing everything we could to make sure it did not come up on the BRAC list again. Since the joint land use study was implemented there was about 20,000 acres here in SRC that has either been acquired or otherwise protected working with the Department of Forestry and others to make sure encroachment did not become a problem. The first piece of land that was acquired after the joint land use study was about 236 acres for almost $800,000 and that was back in 2003. At the time the land was acquired to prevent encroachment the Commodore at the base raised a suggestion to the county that it would be beneficial to the base if that land that had already been acquired could be turned into some type of aviation park where by some of the contractors that repair and maintain aircraft out of state for the Navy could relocated closer to the base and that would save the Navy a lot of time and money as far as getting aircraft out of the state and getting it back if they could just roll it across the runway and take care of it in the park. That’s were the concept got started. At the same time, the Navy expresses interest in this we approached the Undersecretary of the Navy in Washington and explained to him what had been proposed and what the County was proposing to do. He gave conceptual approval at that point to move forward into developing some type of agreement that would allow this to happen. We negotiated with the Navy starting in May 2008, Captain Sadsad and his staff were very helpful and supportive of the effort and we negotiated an agreement along with a operating agreement that would support the actual implementation of the limited access use agreement for the runway. That was followed all the way up the chain of command from the base to Jacksonville, Navy Southeast Command, to Naval Facilities command to the Chief of Naval Installations Command, to the Chief of Naval Operations and we meet in May of this year with the Undersecretary of the Navy for installations on our Washington D.C. trip and explained what we were trying to do and he said there was no reason not to go ahead and move forward and approve it. There was $1.09 million approved in DefenseInfrastructure Grants from the State back in 2003 that faciliated the acquisition of the property, additional acreage was also picked up to protect the AICUZ (Air Installation Compatible Use Zone) zones around base. The adjacent 32 acres were purchased in December 2001 for about $150,000. The second handout in your packet (in file) the proposed aviation Park property which was acquired in 2003 and then the initial piece of property acquired in 2001 about 32 acres and they are both adjacent right to the air field. Additionally a $500,000 grant application was prepared and received to prepare for the PD&E associated with the 269 acre Whiting Aviation Park. The associated taxiways and the master planning and design of the infrastructure were funded through State Defense Grants and DOD advanced planning grants. Over the years the county has been reimbursed by the Navy for the lands that have been acquired to the tune of a little over $5 million dollars. The next handout (in file) is a picture showing NAS Whiting Field along with the out line of where the acreage is for the planned park, the planned park is down on the south piece of that property. The limited access agreement was signed and implemented on July 31, 2009, it is a 30 year lease, and it will allow the county to go ahead and develop those 269 acres and secure tenants to go into the park. We are looking at an entrance once the park is constructed and is proposed for 2010. The agreement permits use of the 6000’ runway on south field at the base and taxiways, they will charge the County a minimum of $20 per landing, there will be a fee involved to aircraft coming into and out of the park, the park is specifically design for aircraft maintenance manufacturing, there will no commercial aircraft coming and going from that park, and the agreement does not permit passenger use or cargo in and out of the base. It precludes any use by a tenant to do any flight training. The Navy has complete control at all timesof the comings and goings of aircraft, there will be a fence and gate constructed there at a taxiway that will adjoin the Navy taxiway going into the park, that will all be done at county expense; but, the Navy control tower will control all aircraft coming and going into and out of the park, prior permission is required for aircraft coming from outside area to be able to come into NAS Whiting Field, at all times the Navy exercises control over access to the park to make sure it does not interfere with their primary flight training mission. The Navy will maintain the security on the Navy side of the fence and the County is responsible for security outside the fence, and it has to meet Navy requirements. The 6000’ runway access puts Santa Rosa County in a good position to be able to track tenants; especially those that work on Navy aircraft to bring them closer to the point of where the training takes place.
Diaz questioned if the type of business that will be allowed in the Aviation Park has to be aviation related or just Naval related?
Gandy responded, “It does have to be aviation related; however, it would not have to be just naval or military work, it could be commercial work”.
Diaz questioned, “Does the agreement limit the number of flights that can come in a day”?
Gandy, “It limits it up to 75 landings a day”.
Walker stated the 75 landings will be for take off and landing. Walker further stated there have been some companies contact the county with interest to come to the Aviation Park.
Elbert questioned the weight restrictions?
Gandy responded the only weight restriction will be what the 6000’ runway can accommodate.
Elbert questioned if Gandy has interacted with the GRASI process?
Gandy stated he is aware of what is going on with Gulf Coast Region Airspace Strategic Initiative (GRASI); they have had a series of meetings going back for the past year, it is a joint effort, Department of Defense, Navy, and Air Force along with civilian aviation airports in the Panhandle area as well as general aviation, FAA is involved, they tried to involve all of the user of air space in this Gulf region because it is getting crowded and see what the needs are, the requirements are, it is anticipated there are going to be additional traffic coming into this Gulf Coast region, a new airport going in at Destin, and also they have picked up new missions, the combat systems operator course for the Air Force was moved from Texas to NAS Pensacola and they had their activation this month, they are going to be training about 400-500 students a year. Gandy stated he is not a member on the GRASI committee; however, he gets the minutes from all of the GRASI meetings.
Diaz questioned Walker if the county sent a representative to the GRASI meetings?
Walker responded we got a point of contact, and believes we get the meeting information through Ms. Simmons and through the point of contact Mr. Roy gave us.
Diaz questioned if the small civilians airports will not have a representative at those meetings?
Walker stated not unless they choose to attend. The County is not considered a stakeholder as we do not schedule air space; therefore we are not going to be on the committee.
Diaz questioned who gets the final report that comes out of the GRASI meetings?
Gandy stated the report will go to every stakeholder that has been involved in this process; however, he feels it will be public information and anyone can get a copy of it.
Diaz questioned if it will have any regulatory force, what will it be used for?
Gandy stated the primary purpose is to maintain safety in the Gulf Region with all the aircraft activity and requirements for air space.
Diaz stated he is concerned that all the civilian airports have no voting representation or a way to put input into the process.
Compton is questioning if they are talking more restricted air space which is going to make it even tighter for flying around.
Gandy will get Walker a copy of all the participants in the GRASI initiative to share it with this board.
Pensacola Flight Watch, Inc., Issues
Dale Holbert stated it seems to take too long for the lights to get fixed. Holbert will contract Randy Roy to be Site 8 depicted as an active airport. Holbert gave an update on Pensacola Regional Airport. Holbert gave an update on the Discovery Park.
Blaylock stated it is in the county’s work program to paint the taxiways between the hangars.
Walker stated that the county did deal with the spider infestation. There has also been a rash of break-in. We have made sure the sheriff department was involved, that the tenant was notified and filed a report; we have been looking a security cameras. No items were reported stolen.
Blaylock stated DOT has restored funds for the phase II for new hangars on the South side. We will be looking to build A size hangars.
The next meeting will be at 5:00 p.m. on November 18, 2009. Meeting adjourned at 6:00p.m.