County will co-sponsor airport project

Pahrump Town Board members agreed to move forward with the proposed Pahrump General Aviation Airport this month voting to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nye County on the project.

More than four years ago, the town and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) entered into an agreement to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the proposed facility.

Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said FAA officials requested that both the town and county sign an MOU to identify which entity will assume the responsibilities for the project, which has been at one stage or another for more than 20 years.

“They wanted us to delineate who was going to do what if the transition occurred. It took a bit of time because the district attorney was concerned that there might have been some county commissioners who didn’t want to co-sponsor the airport, but rather supported the airport. The chair put the item back on the agenda and we were really pleased the vote was there to clarify that the county wants to co-sponsor the airport. The county has been great in trying to get up to speed,” she said.

FAA Airports Division Manager Mark McClardy noted the administration needs more clarification on which entity will be responsible for administrative duties on the project, including the airport’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

Holecheck said allowing the town to continue with the initial process would be the best course of action.

“I don’t know if the county would agree with it, but I would suggest when the FAA wants us to delineate who does what, just leave it as it is and let the town take care of everything they’ve been doing. That includes monitoring and submitting the AIP grants. I turn in quarterly reports and have telephone conferences. The point is we should just leave the responsibility with the town. I’m hoping the county would appoint a commissioner as an airport liaison,” she said.

Additionally, board members sought support from the county for the installation of toilet facilities at Calvada Meadows Aeropark on Bell Vista Road — a private facility.

Nye County Building and Safety official Bill Browning told the board he’s been in contact with state officials regarding sewage disposal systems in nitrogen restricted areas within the community, as they pertain to private property and nitrates creeping into aquifers.

“The Pahrump Regional Planning District is considered a high nitrogen area by the state for Individual Sewage Disposal Systems (ISDS) and Non-Sewer Toilet Systems (NSTS). We have worked with them in the past and they have made exceptions in cases like this because it’s not a real high-use system. It is a state issue because it is a commercial property, but they do make exceptions based on use and location. They understand that the whole Pahrump Regional Planning District is in a high nitrogen area,” he said.

Town Board Chair Harley Kulkin drafted a letter to county officials requesting their support for the project.

Kulkin urged commissioners to clear the way for the installation of residential toilet facilities at the site according to the agenda backup materials.

County codes require a waiver be obtained for any deviation of the property.

Kulkin noted that a commercial restroom cost roughly $40,000, while a residential facility would cost approximately $2,000.

“The area surrounding the Calvada Meadows is privately held land with a combination of residential dwellings as well as commercial structures. The town’s understanding is that frequent emergency landings are requested to be made on the private airstrip. When such landings occur, oftentimes private restroom facilities are needed. The association would like to build at their sole cost, a restroom under residential codes for such purpose,” he requested.

Board members voted to forward the letter to county commissioners for their support.

The airport was activated in July, 1987.

Aircraft must request permission before landing at the airport.

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