GREAT BARRINGTON — Can an airfield do anything about military aircraft using its airfield?

That's one of the questions the neighbors of the Great Barrington Airport have about the property's possible expansion under a special permit that would officially allow the airport to operate in a residential zone.

"I suppose as airport manager I could restrict the use," said Ken Krentsa, who runs the airport on Egremont Plain Road. "But if the military needs to train in the environment the Great Barrington Airport provides then I'm all for it."

However, the military's Black Hawk helicopter training missions disturb residents near the airfield — a complaint that surfaced during a public hearing on Feb. 13 that attracted over 60 people to Town Hall. The airport will go before the Select Board again on Monday to continue the hearing.

The airport wants to build three hangars on the property to the north of the 2,579-foot runway.

Although it has been in continuous operation since 1931, the airport has never been officially zoned. It was grandfathered in when zoning was adopted in 1932 that placed the airport in a residential area.

Now the owners want the town to issue a special permit for an aviation field to allow the airport to "quell any concerns about the legal status of the property," according to their application.

In order to issue such a permit, the Select Board must vote in favor of the permit in a supermajority of four of five members.

Airport owner Rick Solan told the Select Board that there is nothing the airport can do about military exercises in the airfield. Yet when The Eagle reached out to Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col. James Sahady, he said he decision was in the hands of the airport.

"They could say no if they wanted to," Sahady said.

He added that the military and the airport have a long relationship.

"We've been using the airport since 1980," Sahady said.

Reach staff writer Eoin Higgins at 413-496-6236 or @BE_EoinHiggins.