Dear Editor:

We want to alert the people of Grand and San Juan counties to the very real possibility of a new public airport in our midst just over the San Juan County line.

Many Spanish Valley residents moved out here for the quiet and wide open space. When we bought property out here 10 years ago, Skyranch was zoned for six houses. We knew Skyranch could become a “sky park,” but with six houses and literally zero development after many, many years, we took the risk. Six houses/six planes was not a huge deterrent for us. While Skyranch has been virtually dormant, it has become surrounded by homes, families and neighborhoods.

“Skyranch” is a little-used ranch airstrip that is now undergoing a radical transformation of realignment, and repaving. Skyranch is not the “old” Grand County airport, which is in the same vicinity; Skyranch is located between Coronado and Mt. Peale. The “Old Airport” was moved from Spanish Valley to its present location 18 miles north of Moab at Canyonlands Field in approximately 1974.

Skyranch is being readied, ostensibly, to host operations from Redtail Aviation due to their temporary displacement from Canyonlands while it is being upgraded to accept larger regional jet traffic. But the long-term plans of the murky consortium of foreign investors and local developers who own both Redtail and Skyranch suggest the creation of a new airport with 50 to 60 aircraft storage hangars and public fueling facilities. This could easily create 300 to 600 arrivals and departures per month, at any hour of the day in our previously peaceful and safe neighborhood. One would think that Grand County and the City of Moab would be very concerned due to the increased approach and departure air traffic over Moab and Spanish Valley. The prevailing wind in Spanish Valley is from the south, which means that planes will be on final approach from the north, flying low over the residents of Grand County. Years ago, they took a wise step to prevent helicopter tour businesses from gratuitous operations over our residential neighborhoods, but now seem unconcerned about what constitutes the equivalent of an aviation version of “Cloudrock.”

It is time for both counties to become involved, and announce some meetings that can be attended by all interested parties, so we can learn the truth and have some input into whether this travesty of zoning malfeasance can go forward as planned or will have some sensible restrictions put on it.