Board’s Comments on Hangar Impact Report Focus on Local Concerns

Regional resistance to a proposed mammoth hangar construction project at Hanscom Field off Hartwell Road has coalesced around the issue of emissions from private jets.

In Bedford, according to the Select Board, the concerns are more about the impact on everyday life: traffic, noise, safety, drainage, demand on water and sewer infrastructure.

The board has approved submission of a seven-page response to public comment as part of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) process that regulates the project. The comments are in response to the developers’ draft environmental impact report.

North Airfield Ventures and Runway Realty Ventures are proposing almost 400,000 square feet of new and refurbished hangar space on the so-called North Airfield area, including the existing Navy hangar. The plans also feature more than 100,000 square feet of aviation support space.

Get The Bedford Citizen in your inbox!

In a letter to Rebecca Tepper, Secretary of the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Select Board acknowledged that air quality is a concern. The letter asks for “a deeper analysis of the project’s impact on air quality,” including “without an assumed reduction in ferry flights.”

Overall, the board wrote, the impact report “relies on repetition and surface-level inquiry more than deep analysis, which results in an incomplete, and in some cases misleading, assessment of the impact of the project on the environment and surrounding communities.”

In that context, the Select Board’s public comment – drafted by member Emily Mitchell – presented additional “asks” on other topics.

  • The plans feature storage for up to 85,000 gallons of fuel and the Select Board requests more details about a planned holding tank for petroleum waste products that get into stormwater. 
  • In a companion memorandum, Department of Public Works Director David Manugian wrote that the applicant “should provide further analysis on the safety of vehicles entering and exiting” the fuel storage area “at the elevated curve in Hartwell Road with known speeding complaints.”  
  • “Bedford residents consistently log the highest number of monthly noise complaints to Massport,” the letter says, and town officials “urged the proponent to minimize or absorb ground noise.” The response was perfunctory, the Select Board feels, and the developer should be told to “revisit assessment of the likely impact of noise pollution, incorporating real data gathered in person from existing operations rather than relying on modeling methods.”
  • The board requests that the developer “revisit” the dismissal of the suggested “internal service road” off Hanscom Drive in Lincoln and through the airport “to take project traffic off Bedford roads.” The impact report’s assessment of impact on local roads “fails to account for traffic patterns and infrastructure that may complicate planned travel routes and expected daily trips.” 
  • The Select Board also noted that proposed routes through town for construction and fuel delivery overlap with areas of traffic congestion, school buses, kids walking to school, and sharp turns. Some of the proposed routes make no sense, the memo points out, such as Routes 4 and 225 to the intersection with Hartwell Road.
  • The DPW memo also expressed concern “with regard to the amount of fill required for the design, and the impact to local roadways and traffic.”
  • Release of the latest five-year Hanscom Environmental Status and Planning Report (ESPR) is scheduled for next week. Pertaining to the comprehensive report reviews and projects the Select Board asks that the developer “review all assessments and models against the 2022 ESPR.” The draft impact report relies on the 2017 report.
  • In addition, the Select Board expressed “concern” about the proximity of the project area to areas of ongoing mitigation efforts from long-standing environmental contamination. The fuel-storage area is close to this section, the letter notes.
  • “The project’s expected impact on ferry flights lies somewhere between ‘eliminate all’ and ‘eliminate none,’ because the developers relied on “a limited set of data.” The letter noted that definitive numbers may not be possible because “identifying information on operators and the purpose of flights are not publicly available.” 
One of the diagrams of the proposed utility infrastructure of the Hangar expansion at Hanscom Airfield as published in the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

The DPW memo also noted: 

  • “Additional capacity analysis for both water and sewer demand should be performed by the town’s consultants at the applicant’s expense,” for both the Navy hangar parcel and the adjacent area where most of the new hangars are proposed. “Each parcel will need to have its own water and sewer connection and associated permits.”
  • “Hartwell Road has existing drainage pipes that discharge to the project site but are not shown in the utility plans.”
  • An “existing conditions site survey” was not included in the report.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

All Stories

Do you have a garden where you take care of either flowers or vegetables?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
  • Junior Landscaping
Go toTop