Bureau of Land Management seeks public input on potential land conveyance in Colorado City

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ST. GEORGE — The Bureau of Land Management has opened public comment for a proposed land acquisition that would benefit the Colorado City Municipal Airport.

The Colorado City Municipal Airport is looking to collect 180.9 acres of mixed public and private land to ensure it abides by federal aviation standards. The proposed conveyance would consist of approximately 141 acres of public lands, which would be transferred to the Colorado City, Arizona, in order for the town to comply with Federal Aviation Administration safety zone recommendations at the Colorado City Municipal Airport.

“Public lands are supposed to be accessible by the public and are also open to mineral entries for mining activity,” Rem Hawes, BLM public affairs specialist, told St. George News. “Because federal aviation standards have changed in terms of safety and security for airports and runways, those lands are now in the areas considered to be the needed safety and security buffers around the airport.”

The land would be used to ensure lands near the airport, he said, which are considered in the Object Free Area, Runway Visibility Zone and Runway Protection Zone, are free from obstructions that the Federal Aviation Administration believes create safety concerns.

BLM previously assessed the land included within the proposal and included it in its 2008 Arizona Strip Field Office Resource Management Plan as public land that was difficult to maintain or access, Hawes said. This decision is what allowed the town of Colorado City to apply for the conveyance.

“The BLM doesn’t regularly do land sales,” he said. “This is a special case — obviously — because they are lands that are surrounding and are now in what the FAA considers the safety zone for the airport.”

In order to prepare for the conveyance, Colorado City submitted an application, which the BLM accepted and is now assessing.

“One of the things we always consider when we look at these types of proposals is what the effects would be on the local economy or to jobs in the local area,” Hawes said.

The land is not currently used for significant mining activity or anything particularly profitable, but the airport is used to increase accessibility to popular tourist locations, like Zion National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.

The town of Colorado City published two documents last year: the environmental assessment and the Federal Aviation Administration’s Finding of No Significant Impact. If the conveyance is approved, the town of Colorado City will purchase the land from the BLM at a discounted rate because the land is being used to benefit the public, Hawes said.

The Arizona Strip Field Office is now collecting public comments on the proposed land conveyance and will accept mail and email statements until Jan. 9. Written comments may be mailed to the BLM Arizona Strip Field Office at 345 E. Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah 84790, or faxed to the office at 435-688-3258. Emails should be addressed to blm_az_asdo_comments@blm.gov, and all comments will be made available to the public.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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