PHOENIX - Luke Air Force Base officials are taking a cautious approach as plans for a proposed airpark in the Surprise area are unveiled.
An out-of-state developer has proposed building a community of million-dollar homes surrounding a private airpark that would be used for recreation and business travel.
The property, called the Surprise Airpark, already houses a mile-long, Federal Aviation Administration-approved runway near 243rd Avenue, said Jim Bullis, an attorney for the developer.
Right now, the runway is rarely used and developers hope to change the property's agricultural zoning so that it can be fully developed as a residential community whose property owners would use the airport for general-aviation purposes.
Most residents would own their own planes or jets, and have hangars attached to their homes, Bullis said.
The airpark sits in the unincorporated community of Morristown, in Surprise's 300-square-mile general-planning area.
If Surprise successfully annexes pieces of state trust land, the airpark could end up within its city limits.
"Unless the private airpark accommodates Luke, the project will not be endorsed by city staff," said Surprise spokesman Ken Lynch.
The proposed airpark is close to a Luke Air Force Base auxiliary field and could hinder military-training exercises unless an agreement is reached, officials said.
Luke pilots do not land at the nearby auxiliary field, but they do use the airspace above it for training.
Luke officials said they have had little contact with Bullis and until notified, are being cautious about the proposal.
"We are really working in a vacuum, in that we don't know what the scope of their operations will be, so it's hard to predict the impact it will have on us," said Rusty Mitchell, director of Luke's Community Initiatives Team.
Bullis said he expected to start meeting with Luke officials in the next 40 days to iron out any complications.