Weiser Airport granted variance for new hangar

Washington County Commissioners on Monday voted to grant a request by the Weiser Municipal Airport for a variance that will allow a new hangar to be built at the facility.
 About half of the airport, according to airport manager Jim Metzger, lies within a flood plain. The new hangar, a 100x60-foot structure to be built by crop duster Jim Bain, lies within the designated flood plain area.
 Under FEMA regulations, airport structures within a flood plain must be built two feet above grade, which would have made the ramp going into the hangar too steep for FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) standards, Metzger said.
 Metzger, representing the airport, sought a variance from the FEMA rule. Monday’s vote was crucial for Bain who Metzger says flies out of several other area airports but has decided to make the Weiser Airport his home base.
 It also helps pave the way for future variances. Construction on new taxilanes is scheduled to begin Aug. 17, making room for approximately 12 new hangars that will accommodate growth and subsequent increased use of the facility.
 Most of the new hangar sites have already been purchased and variances must be granted for each one.
 “There are some restrictions that have to be met in order for us to grant a variance,” explained commissioner Lyndon Haines. “They can’t just build a normal hangar, they have to do some other things and once they agreed to that, then we could grant the variance.”
 Now that it has been granted, Bain can build his hangar at an acceptable grade, but must adhere to FEMA’s requirements.
 “They have to build venting under the building,” Haines said. “It’s basically just piping so that if the water comes, it moves under and through the building, and the utilities have to be built at a certain height so that water won’t affect their electric and gas, etc. They are saying that if you have them do these things, you’re okay to grant them a variance.”
 Funds for the new taxilanes come from a $405,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant. Another $33,000 comes from a required match from the City of Weiser and a projected $11,000 from the State of Idaho for a total of almost $450,000.
 The FAA grant comes under the $2.2 trillion CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act passed under the Trump administration on March 27, 2020. It is an economic stimulus bill signed into law in response to the economic challenges presented during the COVID pandemic.
 The Act includes $10 billion in funds awarded as economic relief to eligible U.S. airports. The package originally funded 100 percent of eligible projects, but that percentage has now terminated. The Act, however, continues to fund approximately 90 percent of eligible projects, with a matching percentage from cities and states.


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