Air strip.jpg

The proposed airstrip would be located about 15 miles south of Stanley, across from Fourth of July and Champion creeks. The applicant’s property is outlined in yellow.

With the Custer County Planning and Zoning Commission yet to decide whether to approve a conditional-use permit for a private air strip south of Stanley, members of the Blaine County Board of County Commissioners are voicing their own concerns about the proposal.

Michael and Amanda Boren have applied for a conditional-use permit for an airstrip on their property at 17400 state Highway 75, about 15 miles south of Stanley. The Planning and Zoning Commission listened to public comment on the matter at a hearing on Thursday, April 1, and will make a decision on whether to approve the permit at a separate meeting on May 6.

In the meantime, the Blaine County commissioners are voicing their reservations about the project.

“Clearly there’s a strong connection between what happens in Blaine and Custer County,” Commissioner Angenie McCleary said at the commissioners’ regular meeting last week. She noted the significant number of Blaine residents and visitors who recreate in Custer County. “I am very concerned about the air strip up there.”

Opponents of the proposal pointed out that the Borens appear to have already constructed the air strip on their property without Planning and Zoning approval, and argued that planes flying in and out will disrupt the natural environment of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

Blaine County Commission Chairman Dick Fosbury took to Twitter last week to share his own concerns about the proposal, writing: “Boren built with no permits, which is a violation, and it violates all the stated values under the easement on the property. Deny.”

McCleary, who described the matter as “complicated,” said she has met with multiple elected and U.S. Forest Service officials to discuss the issue and will continue to do so.

“I think this is an issue that I want to be engaged in, and I hope the county wants to be engaged in,” McCleary said.

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