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Details of expansion plans for Jet Aviation facilities are provided
Jet Aviation presented their plans for expansion of facilities for private luxury aircraft at Hanscom Airport to the Lincoln Conservation Commission on Feb 19, 2014. The plans include:
- new 40,000 square foot hangar – within Lincoln wetlands buffer zone
- additional 12,000 square feet (sf) of office space –within Lincoln wetlands buffer zone
- new 94,000-plus square foot of aircraft taxiway (2.1 acres) – within Lincoln wetlands buffer zone
- new limosine access road and parking – through Lincoln wetlands buffer zone
The purpose of these plans is to accommodate and attract Gulfstream 650s, the largest private luxury jets used for international travel with a maximum capacity of 12 passengers and a price tag of $65 million per jet.
Development plan for Jet Aviation expansion. Note the new hangar, new parking, new paved taxiways, and new road. These all impact the wetlands buffer zones shown by the dashed white lines. Click here for a larger view of this plan.
Each of the above building plans is in some measure within Lincoln wetlands buffer zone -- a condition which would normally preclude development for local small businesses or residential owners. Massport leases the land to Jet Aviation, and contends that this airport expansion is a critical government function and should be allowed to proceed despite wetlands impacts.
Under the law, there are both state and local wetlands laws that a project needs to comply with. Local conservation commissions oversee compliance with both the state and local laws. However, in this case Massport claims that their tenant, Jet Aviation, only needs to comply with the state laws, and can ignore the (typically stricter) local wetlands laws.
Massport claims that providing facilities for private luxury aviation is an "essential government function" and therefore requires exemption under local laws. Further, they claim that all Massport activities are an "essential government function" including the leasing of their property to tenants, and therefore any tenant projects, no matter what their nature, should be exempt from local laws.
The broad exemptions from local laws claimed by Massport represent a long term threat to the role of the communities in establishing land use and development policies, and provide Massport tenants with special privileges (including exemption from property tax) not available to other businesses.