EDMONDS — Alicia Crank, the new chairwoman of the Snohomish County Airport Commission, hopes you’ll tune in to a virtual meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.
That’s when the two-year-old advisory board will hear from airport consultants Landrum & Brown, who will explain steps to update Paine Field’s airport master plan. The firm was retained by Snohomish County through competitive bidding earlier this year. The consultants will also help collect data and facilitate public meetings.
The Snohomish County-owned airfield is due to update the master plan, a blueprint for development and land use and a Federal Aviation Administration requirement to receive federal funds. The 20-year plan was last revised in 2003.
Today, Paine Field accounts for $60 billion in annual economic activity and over 158,000 jobs, county officials reported in September.
An updated plan, which county leaders expect to submit to the FAA in 2022, “will serve as a road map for airport development for the next 20 years,” county spokesman Kent Patton said in an email.
Why tune in?
The process “gives people the opportunity to participate,” Crank said.
Input from airport tenants, county leaders and county residents is required.
“I want this to be a very transparent process,” Crank said. “I want people to be well informed from the very beginning.”
Landrum & Brown’s presentation on Thursday will spell out the revision process and explain why Paine Field must adhere to FAA regulations for continued support, Crank said.
Crank has served on the committee since its founding in 2018 and has been vice chair for two years. She was chosen this fall to serve as chair, taking over from Tom Hoban, who served as chair for two years.
Airport activity, noise levels and how the airfield might be developed in the future — the commission is the place to bring your concerns “as well as show support,” Crank said.
Crank is the chief development officer at AtWork!, a Bellevue-based nonprofit that helps connect employers with people with disabilities.
Since the last master plan revision in 2003, Paine Field had added a passenger terminal and commercial airline service. During the terminal’s first year of service, which began in March 2019, the privately built and owned terminal drew more than a million travelers.
The Boeing Co. is the county-owned airport’s most high-profile tenant, but the airfield is home to more than 60 businesses, Crank pointed out.
Their numbers include Aviation Technical Services, which specializes in commercial airplane repair and renovation; Waypoint Interiors, which is developing an ultraviolet disinfectant system for the airline industry; and Everett Community College’s Aviation Maintenance Technical school.
It’s also a hub of general aviation activity.
“I didn’t realize how many of my neighbors have a hangar at the airport or rent space there,” Crank said. “Commercial airline service gets a lot of attention, but so many people’s livelihoods are tied to this county airport.”
The Snohomish County Council authorized the formation of the commission in March 2017. The advisory council, which had its first meeting in 2018, reviews and recommends updates to the airport master plan, an airport improvement program and the annual airport budget, among other duties.
It has 13 members — one from each county council district, three from the airport tenant community, three from the business community and two from the county at large.
Crank had no direct airport experience when she applied for a seat on the commission but viewed herself as well-versed in land-use and planning.
Before moving to Edmonds in 2014, Crank lived in the Silicon Valley for 18 years and participated in planning and green building projects in the region.
She has served on the Edmonds Planning Board for five years.
“What really interested me about the Airport Commission was that there was going to be some master planning involved. I had a lot of experience with planning,” Crank said.
From Crank’s point of view, concerns that Paine Field could be the next Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are unfounded.
“It physically cannot expand,” Crank said. “Space is limited on the airport and off.”
She can also relate to airport activities on a personal level. “I grew up in Detroit around mechanics and engines and speed, so for me this was just an extension of that,” said Crank, who once rebuilt an auto engine when she was 14. “Don’t ask me to do it again,” she quipped.
Crank and the board are eager to begin the master plan process, and the time is right, she said.
“If we had started it before the start of commercial airline service, that would have created some issues,” Crank said.
“It really turned out for the best. Now we’re getting ready to jump into the process and get an overview from Landrum & Brown to see what’s in store.”
To attend the Snohomish County Airport Commission’s virtual meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, go to painefield.com/221/Airport-Commission.
Janice Podsada; firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods