Local News

12/7/2012

Airport ordinance debate unresolved

Background: Stambaugh Aviation said it was considering packing up its operations and moving to Florida in September.

Mark and Scott Stambaugh, owners of the company, said regulations set by the Glynn County Airport Commission, the agency from which it leases a hangar to repair and maintain Boeing airplanes, are crippling its growth and took issue with new regulations included in a drafted ordinance update.

Stambaugh's problems with the airport commission began in 2009, when several of the company's customers received letters threatening seizure of their aircraft. Customers were told that if a plane was stored for more than 90 days on airport property, it could be seized.

Members of the Glynn County Commission, Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority, Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce and other community leaders met with the Stambaughs shortly after they mentioned considering the move to inquire about problems the company says it is facing and to discuss what can be done to keep it from moving to Florida.

The company employs 102 workers.

What's New: The Stambaughs maintain that little has been done to remedy their situation, but the airport commission and development authority hope that progress will be made soon.

"Since the issue came to the forefront ... the airport commission, development authority and county commission have been working to try to identify the (specifics) of Stambaugh's concerns," said Nathan Sparks, executive director of the development authority.

The bulk of the company's concerns have been narrowed down to the ordinance update that the company's owners contend is overreaching.

"We feel like we're part of this community, but we just have this airport manager and airport commission that is anti-business friendly," said Scott Stambaugh.

Steve Brian, executive director of the airport commission, says he wants to work with the company to resolve its concerns and keep it in Glynn County.

He plans to invite the owners to meet with the consultant drafting the ordinance update early next year.

"We're going to work on every issue they have," Brian said.

But Scott Stambaugh is wary of another meeting. Previous meetings have proven unsuccessful and had strict rules on what could be discussed, he said.

"I'm sure we'd be willing to talk," Scott Stambaugh said. "Until I see the terms of the meeting, I can't say if I'd attend."

He says the company isn't threatening to move. It's invested in the community and would like to continue to be active in the Golden Isles.

"We're being forced to consider moving to Jacksonville," Scott Stambaugh said. "We have a business. We have customers and contracts."