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Possible airport expansion in the wings

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Warrenton-Fauquier Airport

A special exception to permit development of the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport in Midland won support from the Fauquier Planning Commission on Feb. 16.

The board of supervisors will now consider the matter, likely next month, after holding a public hearing.

The improvements include a new terminal and hangars. The county has $2.08 million budgeted in its capital improvement project plan for the airport through 2021. It received a $500,000 donation last year from Ralph and Barbara Crafts of Marshall for a two-story airport terminal occupying about 7,000 square feet.

The terminal will have a lobby, pilot’s lounge, offices, conference room, kitchenette and restrooms.

The bulk of the needed funding --- $4.6 million – will come via the Federal Aviation Administration and Virginia Department of Aviation.

The state aviation office is also providing $860,000 to improve State Route 610, the access to and from the airport.

The county supervisors and economic development office see an improved airport necessary to spur economic growth in the county overall and in the vicinity of the airport itself.

A 2015 study by the Timmons Group noted that Warrenton-Fauquier is one of two airports in the state without a terminal and consequently has a high priority for federal and state funding.

But the study also identified water and sewer improvements that must be made if the airport is to reach its potential.

The county has $6.4 million in the CIP to pay for design work for utility improvements for the Midland/airport area.

New well areas are being explored in the interim. The existing drainfield can serve the septic requirements of the terminal, according to the county staff report.

Besides recommending approval of the special exception for development of the airport, the planning commission also recommended approving of an exception for an above ground water storage tank only to be used for fire suppression.

Lewis Ray of Midland said during the public hearing held before the vote that Midland residents were concerned that the water would be taken from wells. The information that the water for the tank would be trucked in would not be was not previously known to them, he said.

There was also some concern about what the height of the water tower will be, he said.

Contact James Ivancic at jivancic@fauquier.com

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