Massport Mum on RFP to Develop 30 Acres on Hanscom Field

Details on the upcoming request for proposals to develop up to 30 acres of land on Hanscom Field south of Hartwell Road remain concealed.

The issue was mentioned at Tuesday’s virtual meeting of the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission, but only to acknowledge that the request will be issued in August.

“We can’t release parts and pieces of an RFP to the public, to protect the integrity of the public bid process,” explained Amber Goodspeed, director of airport operations at Hanscom for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

“This is not a permitted project, so any bids potentially accepted would have to go through the public permitting process again. So this would be your opportunity to have input,” Goodspeed said.

Bedford resident Jennifer Boles asked Goodspeed to at least verify that the RFP is for aviation-related use, but the response was, “Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question.”

“Could it be an Amazon distribution center or a car sales lot?” Boles pressed. She pointed out that when it was learned that the Air Force in a few years might vacate the FamCamp RV park at the end of South Road, Massport confirmed that any development of that site will be aviation-related.

Massport attorneys in the past have taken the position that anything supporting Hanscom Field’s mission is by definition aviation-related.

Mark Giddings, Concord representative on the commission, and Chris Eliot, Lincoln delegate and HFAC chair, suggested that a non-aviation use is unlikely because of regulations requiring Massport to divest an equal amount of land outside the airport.

The original plan for the so-called North Airfield, part of which once was the site of mobile homes for Air Force personnel, was for construction of up to 160,000 square feet of hangar space. That plan was abandoned, Goodspeed said, because “it had a lot of moving parts and there wasn’t much interest in it.”

The area is the same as the originally permitted site, Goodspeed said, and “whoever wins the bid will have to permit it.” She was referring to state and local requirements since Massport projects are exempt from local building and zoning requirements.

Boles contended that the RFP represents an area as much as four times as large as the abandoned plan. The site does not include an area to the west, where Massport is contracting for the construction of T-hangars for smaller aircraft.

“The RFP has a lot of uncertainty,” Eliot acknowledged. “It’s possible no one will bid or might bid with conditions.”

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763


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