Good Evening Mayor and Members of the Council.
My name is Eric Paul
I’m president of the Redlands Hangar Owners Association. We built and own 37 hangars on airport land we lease from the City. I’ve kept an airplane at Redlands Airport for 54 years.
I think a little airport history is in order.
The City bought Redlands Airport from private owners in stages from 1962 to 1966. The City wanted no part in developing the airport and solicited private investors to lease land and construct hangars. In 1968 Lou Stolp answered the call and leased the majority of the available land and built the lobby and 28 hangars. By 1974 he had built 59 hangars. Lou’s lease has been re-sold to new investors three times since and each has added more hangars which now number over 200. The City has never built a single building on our airport. Every building on Redlands airport was built by private investors.
Without private investors, Redlands Airport would be a vacant lot with a runway.
From the day the City purchased the airport until 2003 the airport was managed by Public Works. They were a friendly bunch, eager to help. If you missed a payment or a deadline you received a courtesy call from City hall.
In 2003 the airport was transferred to Municipal Utilities and everything changed. No more courtesy calls. In 2005 the City rescinded the land lease held by Aerodynamics Inc. on Parcel 5 over a payment dispute forcing them to sell their hangars to the City for 60 cents on the dollar.
Now Coyote Aviation is facing a new battle. Everyone knows Coyote had every intention of exercising their lease option. There was confusion over when the notification should take place. The notification deadline passed with no courtesy call from City hall.
The City feels the airport land lease rates are below market value. The City sets the rates and ties them to CPI to keep up with inflation. If they’re too low it isn’t the lease holders fault.
Since 2006 all the City departments have been given new names. Give the airport back to Public Works or a department with the same kindness and restore the once friendly and helpful atmosphere. A simple courtesy call to Coyote would have solved this entire fiasco.
Coyote assumed all the financial risk and built a first class hangar complex with a perfect payment history. Rescinding their lease for an oversight was mean spirited and a step in the wrong direction. You’ve killed future development at our airport. Who would chance developing more hangars or bringing a business to Redlands Airport knowing you could lose everything over a technicality.
It’s time for the City to take the moral high ground. Send Coyote to bed with no supper but restore their lease and give them their lease extension.