New land would expand airport


    Staff Writer

    Stevens Field, the Archuleta County airport, may soon have a larger footprint, following the proposed acquisition of slightly more than 28 acres by the county.

    The property comes with a $200,000 price tag.

    The purchase of the 28.63-acre parcel, Archuleta County staff said, will solve ongoing easement problems at the airport, with the property being a triangle of land located between the runway and taxiway.

    “Right now, the land is being acquired to solve the easement problem,” said Todd Starr, county attorney and interim county manager.

    A tentative purchase agreement is in place with Do Over Enterprises to buy the property for $200,000, said Starr. The property was appraised at $200,000 in December 2012.

    But, before the property can be closed on, the Board of County Commissioners must approve the purchase. It is expected to be considered for approval at the Feb. 5 BoCC meeting, to be held at 1:30 p.m.

    Should the BoCC approve the acquisition, Starr estimated the county would close on the property in March.

    The purchase of the property first came up in discussions with  county officials around November 2012, Starr indicated. Starr recently held two executive sessions with the BoCC to discuss the possible land acquisition.

    Despite the $200,000 purchase price and declining property tax revenues creating significant financial strain for the county, Starr and BoCC Chair Clifford Lucero view the purchase as a good opportunity and indicated that the county will not pay the full purchase price from out of its own coffers.

    “This is a perfect opportunity,” Lucero said.

    When asked why the property acquisition was being considered amidst continued financial strain, Starr said, “Because it’s available now and it’s crucial to the airport, and we can acquire it with … ninety percent grant money. And we can solve a very expensive problem using other people’s money.”

    The vast majority of the purchase will be funded through a Colorado Department of Transportation Aeronautical grant, with Archuleta County paying $20,000 of the cost as a match.

    Starr said the purchase is budgeted in the airport fund, but may require a line-item adjustment in the budget.

    Additionally, Starr indicated that the purchase is in line with the county’s strategic plan for the airport because it eliminates easement problems the county has long dealt with.

    Beyond solving the easement issues, Starr said there are currently no other intended uses for the property, but added that, in the future, the land could be considered as a site for additional hangars.