Vinland — A high-flying business here has taxied into position for an expansion.
McFarlane Aviation Inc., which builds replacement parts for small aircraft, has made plans to build a 7,000-square-foot addition onto its manufacturing plant at the Vinland Airport. The addition would more than double the plant's size.
Dave McFarlane, general manager of the company, said expansion was necessary to keep up with orders for McFarlane products.
"The demand for improved replacement parts is very strong," he said, attributing the business boom to a slowdown in sales of new recreational aircraft. "Our sales (expected to be $900,000 this year) have doubled over the past couple of years."
McFarlane Aviation builds replacement parts, such as seat railings and control cable assemblies, using modern manufacturing techniques and high-tech components. The company, which has operated out of Vinland Airport since 1979, distributes domestically and in eight international markets.
On Wednesday, the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission is expected to hear a company proposal to rezone 3.5 acres of the Vinland Airport to accommodate the expansion.
McFarlane has asked officials to rezone the property from agricultural, with a conditional use permit, to limited industrial district.
Planning staff recommended approval if the company would submit a final plat.
Vinland Airport, nine miles southeast of Lawrence, would not change, McFarlane said.
"The actual, physical airport itself will be exactly the same," he said. "Only a portion of the airport is involved in the zoning."