Are big changes headed to Hanscom?
A proposal involving land swaps and leasing, and construction of new hangars and ramps, a road, and access to the taxiway at Hanscom is on the table.
The proposed changes are in a preliminary stage and will be a long time coming, said Ken Schwartz, planning and design service leader at VHB, a planning, permitting, and engineering consultant firm.
The environmental notification form, ENF, which VHB sent to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Office, MEPA, on Jan. 17, is a preliminary filing. Over the next year, the public will be invited to provide input and comments at different stages of the project approval process, he said.
A site visit on Feb. 6 drew well over 50 people, Alex Strysky from MEPA said the state agency is involved for two reasons: the project involves a lease with MassPort and an increase in impervious surfaces that exceeds environmental thresholds.
MEPA will review the conceptual design which, as it stands, affects 47 acres and includes adding 27 new hangars for on-site aircraft storage on what is now a partially wooded site, new paved surfaces and renovation of a historic Navy hangar. The impervious acreage increases from 15.1 acres to 39 acres.
The hangars will decrease the number of planes flying empty, as the general aviation businesses will be able to store more aircraft onsite, according to the ENF. The building placements will minimize visual and noise impacts to local residents.
Additionally, the work will support future electric vehicles including planes and provide resiliency in the face of climate change, the filing says.
The area outside the historic Navy hangar was open during the site visit. Trucks could be seen parked inside the front doors.
The Massport acreage, formerly trailer housing, across what is now a parking lot beside the Navy hangar was unused and overgrown. Throughout the visit, planes took off and landed on the adjacent airfield.
The expansion and commercialization of Hanscom Field is a threat to the historic places in and near Concord, according to the website SaveOurHeritage.com. Part of the organization’s stated vision is to prevent the gradual decay of historical, cultural and environmental resources by pollution, noise and development.FSOH-NorthAirfieldDev-Alert-final_1-31-23
Written comments on the notification are due by Feb. 14 and can be made online at https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/EEA/PublicComment/UI/searchcomment Search for project number 16654 or Hanscom. Or send email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: EEA #16654: L.G. Hanscom Field North Airfield Development ENF.
All written comments, submitted online or via email, will be addressed by the project proponent in the next draft of the proposal, Strysky said.Hanscom-North-Airfield_ENF-011723_1-51 Hanscom-North-Airfield_ENF-011723_52-end-1