Tue, Apr 03, 2012
Current Owners Frustrated Over Taxes, Regulations, NIMBYS
Since being designated as a reliever airport for Buffalo Niagara International (KBUF), the owners of Buffalo-Lancaster (NY) Regional Airport (KBQR) say they have been the target of a determined group of city residents who have complained about noise and fought further growth of the facility. Couple that with high taxes and strict regulations, and the owners say the airport is on the market.
The Buffalo News reports that owner Tom Geles decided to sell the airport after he was rebuffed in his bid to lengthen the runway by NIMBYs and town Supervisor Dino Fudoli.
Fudoli told the paper that he doubts that the owners are really serious about selling, but if it is sold, he hopes it would be operated in a way that "is more respectful" of those who live near the airport.
The field has one 3,200 foot runway, which also serves as the taxiway, and the principal commerce comes from hangar rental and fuel sales. About 75 airplanes call the airport home, which is being run by five children of the original owners. It has received over $9 million in AIP grants since being designated a reliever airport in the mid 90's.
Flight School owner Bob Miller, who until recently based his business at KBQR, told the paper that the airport needs to grow to be able to survive. He and Geles would like to see a taxiway constructed for safety reasons, as well as a runway extension to 5,500 feet to accommodate light corporate jets. Fudoli said he'd support the taxiway only if the airport agreed not to extend the runway.
The story has been told over and over again. When the airport was first built, it was in a largely rural area in an industrial corridor. But as housing developments were built nearer to the airport, neighbors began complaining about the noise, and have fought to prevent anything they perceive would increase that noise. They also say the airport is used largely by "hobbyists" from out of town who fly low over their homes. The NIMBYs also say that previous improvements were approved without their input, which Geles says is not true.
Miller reportedly recently moved his flight school and its four aircraft to Genesee County Airport because of the uncertainty of Lancasters' expansion plans. But he's already facing opposition from nearby residents at his new location.
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