The Bedford County Planning Commission is shown at its June 16 meeting.

Mixed reactions were voiced during the public hearing of the Bedford County Planning Commission (BCPC) in regard to the special-use permit for the Smith Mountain Lake Airport to expand.

 The BCPC voted unanimously to recommend the application for a special-use permit for Smith Mountain Lake Airport, LLC, which will then go to the board of supervisors.

Mohammed Bazazan, who is known in the community as Moe, showed the plans in front of the planning commission June 16. In the plans, it showed that the immediate plan is to construct a 63-by-60 foot hangar building that’s 3,780 square feet and will have no living space, no bathroom, no well and no septic — just storage for an airplane, according to Bazazan. 

He also noted that in the plan, there are future plans to have five 44-by-40 hangars that are 8,800 square feet in total and another hangar that’s 48-by-60 along the same hangar that was constructed last year, noting this hangar can have a capacity of one to three airplanes, depending on the size. 

Bazazan noted that the airport in its current state can house 20 airplanes, and he has 17 on his wait list. He said this plan will add 7 to 10 more airplanes to the airport.

After Bazazan was done presenting and answering questions from the commission, a public hearing was held.

Robert Hartman of Thaxton, who owns a private hangar on the airport, said he is “100 percent in favor of the improvements that Moe is going to make.”

“Moe has a small business, and every small business has to expand a little bit and make things better or they are going to fail, and he has really made things better at the airport, so I am 100 percent behind him,” he said.

Mike Matta of Huddleston, who managed the airport for Bazazan when he purchased it but was still living in New Jersey at the time, said the improvements to the Smith Mountain Lake Airport were improved by “over a thousand percent,” and he fully supports his plan.

“The hangars were completely rebuilt, the airport runway markings were vastly improved, the taxiways were all improved, and the traffic slightly increased. He’s done improvements, the improvements that he envisioned, I believe, are going to be a positive for the Smith Mountain Lake community. I think it’s good for us, it’s good for the community, and it’s good for the county.”

There’s more to this story in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services to view the full article in the print and/or e-edition version.

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