Proposed Approach Protection Zone Land Acquisition
385-acres Eccles Flying Hat Ranch.

For Friedman Memorial Airport there is no higher priority than the safety of our airport users, visitors, and the community that surrounds us. Based on a mutual decision and in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority (FMAA) has an opportunity to increase the level of safety for both airport users and the surrounding community by purchasing approximately 385 acres of land, currently part of the Eccles Flying Heart Ranch, for the purpose of protecting the existing approach and departure areas south of the airport.
This proposed purchase is in addition to the airport’s successful purchase of 64.6 acres in 2019 for its Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) and obstruction removal project.

Why is this land acquisition necessary?

A:  This acquisition is necessary for the protection of the airport’s approach and departure areas and to ensure land use compatibility around the airport helping to maintain and improve the safety of the airport and the community. FMAA feels strongly that it must acquire the additional property to ensure the area remains clear of uses incompatible to airport operations, both natural and manmade. By purchasing the land, the airport is in a better position to effectively enforce compatible land-use practices, ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of airport users and neighbors.

Will this land be used for airport expansion?

A: No. The airport is not looking to purchase the land for airport or runway expansion, but rather for the purpose of preserving approach and departure areas for the airport by protecting the land, in its current condition. 

The first step in the process is the completion of an Environmental Assessment. The specific purpose and need in the Environmental Assessment will make that clear. The project is supported by the City of Hailey council members, appointed FMAA Board members, as well as the Blaine County Commissioners.  

A small portion of the property adjacent to the Atlantic Aviation facility will be evaluated as part of the Environmental Assessment for future potential aircraft parking and hangars consistent with the current Airport Board adopted airport master plan and FAA approved Airport Layout Plan.  The Board may consider at a future time whether the necessity has been established to develop this small portion of the land.

How will this acquisition benefit the community?

A:  This acquisition is a win-win for both the valley and the airport. The land would serve as a natural barrier to encroachment and as a valuable investment for the future. The property, in its pristine state, would only continue to appreciate. In the event the Friedman Memorial Airport would need to be relocated in the future, the fair market value of the proposed property would support a handsome reinvestment in a new airport.

How will the acquisition be funded?

A: Funding for both the required Environmental Assessment and acquisition of the land is expected through FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants at an 93.75% share coming from the FAA. The remaining local share of 6.25% will come from the airport budget.

 As a reminder, SUN operates as an enterprise entity which means all airport revenues are derived from airport user fees (i.e. landing and fuel flowage fees, aircraft and vehicle parking fees, hangar and airline rents, etc.). Conversely, all expenses are offset with airport revenues. No general tax funds  from either the City of Hailey or Blaine County are used to support operations and maintenance expenses at the airport.

Does the airport really need this since flight operations are down?

A:  Yes. Although operations may be down due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the airline and tourism industry, the fact is there will still to be a need to protect the approach and departure areas from encroachment and/or incompatible land use.

Could this sale be postponed until we better know what the future of airport operations is?

A:  Again, although operations may be down due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the airline and tourism industry, the fact is there will still to be a need to protect the approach and departure areas from encroachment and/or incompatible land use.

Who will be responsible for the upkeep of this property?

A: Should the purchase be approved by the board, the FMAA would be responsible for the upkeep of this property.

What will happen to the original structures on this land?

A: The Airport Authority understands and values the land’s historic and cultural significance. The property may include structures eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. For that reason, the Authority has no plans to remove, destroy or significantly modify any potentially historic structures on the property. FMAA will retain the historic character of any eligible buildings