Martha’s Vineyard Airport officials voted Thursday to approve a new lease for Animal Health Care Associates, one of the few remaining pet care facilities on the Island. 

The future of the animal hospital on the airport land in West Tisbury was in limbo earlier this year with its current lease required to go back out to bid under federal regulations.

But in the end, Animal Health Care Associates was the lone bidder for a new lease at the property on Airport Road when the request for proposals deadline passed on March 29. The airport commission’s land use subcommittee reviewed the proposal and recommended it be approved after finding it met the state and federal requirements.

“The ratings for the RFP were outstanding,” said airport commissioner Jack Ensor. 

Airport staff will now hammer out the details of the contract, airport director Geoff Freeman said earlier this week.

Animal Health Care Associates has been at the airport location for 40 years and its lease was set up to run out this year. Under state and Federal Aviation Administration rules, the airport had to put the property out to bid, giving both veterinarian Dr. Steven Atwood and other businesses a chance to operate on the property. 

Six companies had taken the request for proposal documents, but no one but Animal Health Care Associates returned them. 

In a letter to the clients in late February, Mr. Atwood related fears that he could be outbid by a larger commercial enterprise, possibly whittling down the already dwindling number of Vineyard Veterinarians.

“We will make the best bid we can, which we already know will involve a huge increase in rent, but we could be facing competing bids from others with greater resources seeking different uses for our animal hospital, perhaps even a tear-down and construction of a commercial building,” Mr. Atwood wrote in the letter. “We simply don’t know.”

The FAA requires that airport land be bid at its fair market value, which according to a recent third party appraisal means the rent for the property will be $12,000 a month, or about $144,000 a year. That is up from $900 a month, the rent negotiated in 1984.

According to the request for proposals, the lease can be up to 15 years with another 15-year extension.

The new lease process sparked outcry in the community, with pet owners worried it could become even harder to get care if Animal Health Care Associates was forced to find a new home. In all, 650 letters were sent in support of the application, Mr. Ensor said. 

“There was a great outpouring of support,” he said. 

Animal Health Care Associates is one of the largest pet care facilities on the Island — one of only four remaining practices after Island veterinarians Kirsten Sauter and Constance Breese recently retired