Plans are moving forward for a new hangar that will serve as a base of operations for medical helicopters at the Greeneville-Greene County Municipal Airport.
On Tuesday, the Greeneville Regional Planning Commission gave the OK to preliminary and final site plans for a new hangar for Med-Trans, which conducts business locally as Wings Air Rescue.
In 2014, Med-Trans submitted a letter of intent to the Airport Authority, indicating a desire to place a new hangar and offices at the facility to accommodate the medical helicopters, their crew and maintenance staff on an around-the-clock basis.
Plans have been in development since that time, including arrangements for funding.
Med-Trans will lease the area of the local airport where the helipad and hangar will be constructed. The company will also fund construction of the facility, meaning no local or airport funds will be used for the project, Airport Authority Chairman Janet Malone explained.
Plans approved by the local planning commission on Tuesday call for the helicopter hangar and helipad to lie as close to the existing runway and taxiway as possible, limiting the need for the aircraft to fly over parked cars while landing at the airport.
Commissioners were unanimous in their approval, with the caveat that landscaping plans must be submitted to the town before a building permit can be issued.
Much of the discussion focused on landscaping, as airport officials have proposed landscaping that varies from that which the town would typically require.
“We don’t want vegetation that can attract birds” around the helipad and hangars, Malone explained. She added that the area of the airport where the new facility will be located is not visible to the general public, only those who enter the airport.
She proposed additional landscaping near the airport entrance accessible to the general public, near the facility’s fixed-base operation, where fuel is sold.
“It’s rather bare,” Malone said, adding that plants could be placed along the fenceline near the fueling location and along the rear and side of other hangars near the entrance.
Costs associated with the landscaping are the only cost the Airport Authority will incur related to the project, Malone noted.