Regional Airport Discussions are Subsiding After Withdrawal

The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday morning. As always, the meeting opens with public comments. John Bandstra addressed the board with his concerns about the proposed regional airport and the 28E Agreement.

Bandstra is a rural resident in Mahaska County who read excerpts from the 28E Agreement. The documentation of the 28E Agreement has been dated back to 2012 and involves the cities of Pella and Oskaloosa, while affecting a majority of Mahaska County. The initial document regarding the proposed airport has enough gray area to continue this debate for a half of a decade later.

The South Central Regional Airport Agency headed up the project and the airport was intended to be built on almost 600 acres of farmland. This proposed location would greatly impact farmers and rural resdients, something that Bandstra felt deeply concerned about.

“The disconnecting of 220th Street would require farm vehicles to travel 210th Street and then Highway 163 in an east west direction to 220th Street.” Bandstra stated, “Using 210th alternative Street to travel in an east-west direction was not considered a reasonable travel option.The alternative is for farm equipment to use Highland Avenue.”

Bandstra noted that slow moving farm equipment have to travel approximately 1180-feet along Highway 163 to move at an east-west direction. Bandstra wrapped up his comments, thanked the board for their time and handed out a printed copy of the 28E Agreement for reference.

The board meeting ensued and at the conclusion of the meeting Mark Doland made an observation of the chosen vocabulary in the agreement — another gray area. The discussion of ‘each’ being written in the agreement as Doland termed as individuality. Instead of having the word ‘all’ written — where all parties would then have to agree — ‘each’ is used and each entity has the decision to vote for one part of the whole.

“We believe we’re acting in good faith. We believe we have sought out a reasonable resolution,” Doland said. “We’ve asked for permission. This time we were not asking for permission, we were making a declaration. We are no longer a part of the airport.”


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