Accomack Authorizes Hangar Construction Agreements

Accomack County Airport in Melra. Photo by Carol Vaughn.

By Carol Vaughn — The Accomack County Board of Supervisors Wednesday authorized County Administrator Mike Mason to enter into agreements needed for construction of a hangar at the Accomack County Airport in Melfa.

The Virginia General Assembly in 2020 budgeted $2 million to build a commercial hangar at the airport, with $1 million financed through bonds.

The funds are to be received by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space), which will be responsible for the design and construction.
Once it is completed, Accomack will assume ownership and will operate and maintain the hangar.

For the project to more forward, three documents are required: an agreement for construction and operation of the hangar between Accomack County and Virginia Space; a facilities agreement between the Virginia Public Building Authority (the bond issuer), Virginia Space, and the county, stating the responsibilities of all parties; and a certificate of managing agent, by which the county accepts certain responsibilities and risks associated with the project.

According to the county attorney, Accomack assumes some risk in signing the agreements, in particular in that Virginia Space will not be accountable for negligence, design errors, poor workmanship, or defective materials. The county would assume responsibility for costs exceeding the $2 million budget, but payment of those costs is subject to appropriation by the board.

Hazard Mitigation Plan Approved
The board approved the section pertaining to Accomack County in the 2021 update of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan. The regional plan profiles both Shore counties and 18 towns.

Localities are required to formally adopt the plan every five years to be eligible for certain types of federal grants, including FEMA assistance.

The plan has been approved by FEMA, according to the agenda item.

The plan’s purpose “is to ensure the protection of life, safety, and property by reducting the potential for future dames and economic losses that result from hazards,” according to a summary from the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, the organization that did the update, after a steering committee comprised of members of the business community, non-profit organizations, and local officials was convened to study the county’s risks from and vulnerabilities to natural hazards and to make recommendations on mitigating the effects of hazards.

Rocket Lab Facility Property, Second Property, Added to Enterprise Zone
The board approved adding to the county’s enterprise zone the Virginia Commercial Space Flight property, 29 acres on the road leading to Wallops Island, where a rocket manufacturing facility is planned, along with another parcel, 15 acres on Lankford Highway owned by Jeffrey R. Matthews.

The action leaves around 398 acres available for future expansion.

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