Oroville will receive money to fence airport, build two helipads

By Gary A. DeVon

Managing Editor

OROVILLE – Oroville has been granted $616,567 from the FAA to completely fence the perimeter around the city’s Dorothy Scott International Airport.

The city has also applied for $16,225 from the state Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics division which it will receive to help pay the city’s share of the grant from the federal government. The federal agency, as well as the city, agrees that fencing the airport to keep deer off the runway is an important step. The fence is also intended to bring additional security to the airport.

At their Tuesday, May 5 meeting, the Oroville City Council passed a resolution saying that it had matching funds to the FAA grant. Councilman Tony Keopke made the motion to approve the resolution and it was seconded by Councilman Jason Blotsky.

“Fencing around the perimeter will include the buildings and the open hanger area and leave out the parking area,” said Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works.

“One of the larger issues is the north end of the runway. It is a safety area and there is a road involved… we are looking at gating the north access road,” Noel said. “We’ve decided, and the FAA agrees, it makes no sense to fence for deer and leave the ends open.”

Three property owners expressed concern about the gated area which would be along Westlund Road. They said they use Westlund Road, which was built by the city to service its Skyview Industrial Park, as the access their property.

They asked if the fence could be moved from the north side of the road to the south side.

Noel explained that moving the planned eight-foot fence would put it in the Safety Zone required by the FAA. The road itself already is not optimum for the situation as tall trucks traveling to and from the industrial parks could represent a hazard.

“We already have one safety concern, the FAA is not going to allow us to put another hazard in the safety zone,” said Noel.

There were several questions directed to the property owners about what other access there was to their land as landlocked property can not be sold and that no easement agreement existed between Oroville and the land owners for use of the city’s road.

Although the city is not required to grant access because the property owners do not have an easement, the council assured them the city would work with them in trying to come up with a better solution then a gate in the future.

There are plans to one day move the runway and this could resolve the issue and allow the fence to be moved.

“Management-wise I think we can find a way to work through this,” said Noel.

In addition to the fence, the FAA grant will allow for the construction of two permanent helipads at the airport.

The council meeting was also advertised as a closed record hearing on a request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Oroville Reman and Reload. The company has requested a CUP to allow for expansion of its hours of operation.

Councilman Jon Neal asked if the residents living near the manufacturing company had been informed of the company’s request for the increase in hours of operation.

“All the property owners within 200 feet of the external boundaries of the company received a direct mailing,” said Johnson.

The company reloads lumber and other products trucked to Oroville from Canada on to railcars for shipment within the U.S. They also do custom manufacturing of wood products. In the past, Reman and Reload has had a long battle with a former neighbor over noise.

Neal said the city was listed as the lead agency as far as noise and asked if Oroville had the means to test and enforce noise regulations.

“We have a regularly certified device and I have received training with it. If there is a need we will call for a certified expert,” said Johnson.

The council voted to approve the Conditional Use Permit for Oroville Reman and Reload.