After a lengthy discussion about a draft of covenants for the Sunnyside Municipal Airport last night (Tuesday), the Airport Advisory Board decided the covenants should be added to the Sunnyside Municipal Code.
It was Mayor Jim Restucci who proposed the change, stating it is his understanding that a set of policies “…would have more teeth.”
Restucci said he understands covenants are typically used in housing developments that have a home owners association. However, enforcing covenants is not easily done.
He said a new chapter in the Sunnyside Municipal Code could be drafted using much of the language in the covenants. That would make the rules more easily enforced.
“The added benefit is that anyone will be able to read it and it will be law,” said Restucci, noting current codes regulating use of the airport could be moved into the new chapter for ease of access.
When reviewing the draft of the covenants that were proposed, advisory board chairman Larry Dolan said he did not read any language that regulates what can and cannot be stored at the airport.
He said there is a tenant who stores an RV and other vehicles at the airport. He asked what language in the drafted document makes it fair for all tenants. He said another tenant may wish to store an RV, but is prohibited by the terms of their lease.
Restucci and the other members of the Sunnyside Municipal Airport Advisory Board could not find any language to determine the rules regarding storage.
Ted Durfey said the lease contracts contain some rules. “But, this (covenants) needs to align with the contracts,” he said.
Restucci said the tenant currently storing vehicles that are not airplanes has been using his hangar space for storage for a number of years. “He uses his space in accordance with past practices,” Restucci said.
To address the issue, he suggested a grandfather clause. However, many of the board members indicated there should be written in the clause a specified time limit that spells out when the tenant has to have the non-aircraft vehicles removed.
Durfey said aircraft are the priority at the airport, but the lease does allow certain vehicles to be stored at the airport. He said although some might believe the storage mentioned in the lease allows vehicles to be stored in the hangars, the language is vague.
Sunnyside City Manager Don Day said the FAA prefers policies and an airport plan. He said the airport plan and policies can allow for specified storage, but the FAA is becoming more stringent about vehicles being stored openly.
“The FAA wants to get airports to prioritize aviation,” said Day, stating adhering to the FAA rules and regulations ensures funding approval.
The board agreed to allow Restucci to prepare a draft of the new airport policies to be added to the Sunnyside Municipal Code. Once the board approves the policies, it will forward them to the Sunnyside City Council for final adoption.
The Sunnyside Municipal Airport Advisory Board will not meet again until Feb. 18, 2014. On that date Restucci said he will have a prepared draft of the new policies.