Great Barrington airport hearing continued to Monday to answer more questions

The Great Barrington Select Board will continue its hearing Monday on a proposed special permit that would allow six hangars to be built at the airport. The Select Board is continuing the hearing after seeking more information on the number of daily flights at the airport, along with more details on planned nighttime training exercises by the Massachusetts National Guard.

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GREAT BARRINGTON — Select Board members want more information before deciding whether to sign off on a permit that would allow construction of new hangars at Walter J. Koladza Airport.

After posing new questions at its public hearing last week, the Select Board continued the hearing to Monday to allow time for Berkshire Aviation Enterprises to provide the number of daily flights at the airport. It also is seeking more details about the frequency of nighttime Black Hawk helicopter training exercises conducted by the Massachusetts National Guard.

Berkshire Aviation is seeking a special permit that would allow it to build six hangars for storage of airplanes in private garages. Currently, planes are either tied down on the field, and some are stored together in older, semi-enclosed hangars.

Some abutters and neighbors oppose the permit, saying it could pave the way to future expansion. But town officials and the airport's engineer said a special permit with conditions would actually allow the town to regulate the airport by giving it more oversight.

Christopher Rembold, town planner and assistant town manager, told the board that it can add as many conditions to the permit as it wants.

The airfield does not currently conform to local zoning in its location amid farmland and houses, since it began operating before the town enacted those bylaws. The special permit would formally allow it to operate as an airport.

In a preliminary review, the town's Planning Board said the hangar plan meets environmental requirements and is otherwise sound.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.


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