Airport problems persist

Town trustees: County must pay for parking patrol

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— Because illegal parking remains a problem at Yampa Valley Regional Airport outside Hayden, county and airport officials have turned to the town for help.

What they want is someone to enforce the rules.

"We have a sign explaining it is a tow-away zone, and we're still having people parking there," Airport Manager Jim Parker told the Hayden Town Board recently. "We need enforcement. We need a uniformed officer out there writing tickets."

But whether Parker will get that help is, like an incoming plane, still up in the air.

Parking problems at the airport intensified over the Christmas holiday. Illegally parked cars were towed, ticketed and booted as people ignored signs and refused to use lots where paid parking is required.

"Any assistance we can get from Hayden until we can find out a long-term solution will be appreciated," Parker said.

People have been able to get away with parking illegally because the airport has no way to enforce the rules.

Parker would like the town to send a police officer to ticket cars parked illegally. He also would like an officer to be at the airport during its peak time of operation, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m daily.

That idea didn't fly with the Hayden Police Department.

"We are pretty short-handed," said officer Gordon Booco. "I try to patrol the airport two or three times per shift. But to put someone out there for four hours a day, I don't know how we could do that."

Hayden Police Chief Jody Lenahan doesn't believe his officers have the authority to write tickets at the county-run airport

Town Board members appeared willing at their last meeting to approve an ordinance so parking tickets can be written, but they questioned who will write the tickets and who will pay that person.

Town trustees and Lenahan said they are against using any of the town's four full-time police officers for parking enforcement at YVRA. However, they are interested in looking into whether the town's new code enforcement officer, Ed Corriveau, could help the airport out.

Corriveau enforces city codes and animal control. He is budgeted to work 20 hours per week.

Town officials are interested in expanding the role of Corriveau, who is a certified peace officer, as long as the county is willing to pay for the time he spends at the airport.

"Whatever time he spends out there, he gets reimbursed by the county," said Trustee Richard Hagins. "I'm not in favor of using an officer to go out there, and patrolling."

If the code enforcement officer was used, town officials said, it wouldn't be for the long term.

"I can only see the town doing this for this year only," Hagins said. "The county can contract out the work next year."

Whether the county will pay for Corriveau's time at YVRA has yet to be decided.

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