By Cornelia de Bruin
Triplicate staff writer
By a unanimous 4-0 vote that followed minimal comment, Del Norte County Planning Commissioners agreed to allow Fort Collins, Colo. resident Pat Stryker to build a 10,000 square foot hanger so she'll have protection for her Gulfstream IV jet when she visits Crescent City.
Stryker is a part-time resident of Del Norte County.
Dan Brattain, owner of Cal-Ore Life Flight and head of the Airport Advisory Commission, said the commission supports the project.
"We met, and although we didn't have a quorum, we took a poll vote and had the unanimous support of nine people," he said. "This is exactly the right type of project for the airport, we run the airport at a deficit and this could generate about $15,000 in revenue to help offset that."
Brattain added that Stryker's plane, owned by Bohemia Air, LLC, is a "first-class aircraft and needs a hanger to protect it from the salt air."
Commissioner Ellen Brown agreed the project is a good idea.
"This could be the start of more at the airport," she said. "With all the tourism we get, we should encourage this type of development."
The approval was delayed by a review of the site by planning department staff and representatives of California Fish and Game. It also needed a sign-off by the California Coastal Commission. The area where the site is located, the third to be considered, is defined as wetlands because an 18-inch wide drainage ditch runs through it. The ditch, built by the Army Corps of Engineers during the 1940s, drains a wetland area before it runs about 1 mile to drain into the Pacific Ocean.
"This site is an easier one, because it doesn't require the demolition of existing structures," said Ernie Perry, director of the county's community development department.
Stryker is required to build a holding pond to contain water that drains from the structure's large roof, and to install an oil and water separator to clean the water used in washing the hanger's floor.
In addition, a representative of Elk Valley Rancheria will be present when footings for the building are dug.
"Because the site is on fill, there's not much chance of finding artifacts," said Perry.
The Native American presence is required, however, because of the site's proximity to Point St. George.
Newly installed commission chairman Jack Reese voiced his vote of confidence before the vote was taken.
"I don't understand why this area is designated as a wetland, it's only an 18-inch ditch that carries a little water," he said. "The county needs to be aware these are the kind of projects we need, and I support it wholeheartedly."
The project will take about four to five months to construct. Commissioners did not discuss when that might begin.