The proposed airport hangar project off Hartwell Road has engendered regional concern.
The Concord-based advocacy group Save Our Heritage this week notified some 200 entries on its mailing list about the plans to build and renovate almost 500,000 square feet of hangar space.
Titled, “Proposed massive development at Hanscom – is this what our towns want?” the detailed four-page mailing also addresses the plan for “reconfiguring Taxiway Romeo to support larger and heavier aircraft.”
An environmental notification form has been filed with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office in connection with the project, which owners want to complete in 2026. The agency is accepting comments through Feb. 14.
On Monday, MEPA is hosting two events that the public can attend: a 3 p.m. walk-through at the Hartwell Road access to the project site and a 6:30 p.m. virtual “consultation session” via https://vhb.zoom.us/j/84330574548?pwd=eThiOXY3a05YQWRzcGphKzZ0aFpYZz09.
There is no screening to participate in the site visit, according to a MEPA spokeswoman. “However, attendees will be required to stay on the project site throughout the visit and may be subject to security protocols at the airport,” she said.
Alex Strysky, veteran MEPA environmental analyst, will preside over both events.
The so-called North Airfield development features 27 new hangars on 28 acres of Massport land, alongside the repurposed 63-year-old Navy hangar, which is privately owned. When completed, the project will increase the total hangar space at Hanscom Field by 50 percent.
Save Our Heritage is encouraging its supporters to participate in the public events and comment period. The organization has been contesting what it considers Hanscom Field expansion for more than two decades, including opposition to FedEx cargo and Shuttle America passenger flights.
The group’s raison d’etre is the impact on Minute Man National Historical Park and the surrounding historic landmarks, as well as Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The notice to supporters says “the proposed development may have far-reaching effects” on these areas.
The Save Our Heritage memorandum said the hangars “would essentially double the combined infrastructure of the three current Hanscom fixed-base operators. FBOs attract airport activity.”
The project is not “explicitly identified as an FBO, the group acknowledges, but “would provide services generally associated with FBOs, such as hangar space, storage, aircraft maintenance – and the sale of aviation fuel (for ‘self-fueling’).”
Save Our Heritage also points out that the owner of the Navy hangar, now listed as RRV Realty Ventures, has secured an access agreement to Taxiway Romeo. A pending land swap agreement between RRV and the Massachusetts Port Authority “would allow RRV to fund and upgrade Taxiway Romeo to support not only the current Design Group III aircraft but also larger and heavier Design Group IV aircraft.”
“For decades, Hanscom-area residents and their elected town and state representatives have worked diligently to balance the needs of the airport with the need to protect these irreplaceable resources and surrounding neighborhoods from the adverse effect of continuous expansion of the airport,” the notice said.
The environmental notification form is available from Ken Schwartz at [email protected]. Comments may be submitted by email to [email protected].
Has MassPORT stopped use of leaded avgas at HAF, as at Logan? What is the water runoff plan? Will it continue in the Shawsheen and Merrimac watersheds? The project sits on Bedford’s protected drinking water aquifer. Will fuel be stored and sold there? What is in de-icing fluid? Is it safe?
Leaded gas is grandfathered in, not going anywhere until an as safe and reliable replacement is invented and the FAA approves it. It was only possible to stop leaded gas in cars overnight because those don’t fall out of the sky when the engine stops. Pilots would not use it if it were possible.
Part 2. Today there are piston engines planes that do not use leaded gas. But the planes that did not come with one of those are grandfathered in, much like classic cars if a certain year or earlier bit not need to meet today’s emulsion standards. Massport knows this.
Massport is trying to sell this expansion as environmentally friendly. How is expanded the use of private jets, light and noise pollution, increased fossil fuel use, chemical deicing and water use, all well as increased surrounding community road traffic, anything but environmentally unfriendly?.