An artist’s rendering shows the planned passenger terminal at Paine Field in Everett. (Propeller Airports)

An artist’s rendering shows the planned passenger terminal at Paine Field in Everett. (Propeller Airports)

Commercial passenger flights at Paine another step closer

EVERETT — Snohomish County and a company preparing to build an air passenger terminal at Paine Field have reached a settlement with an environmental group over the project’s impact on storm runoff in Japanese Gulch.

The agreement with Propeller Airports was signed earlier this week and sent to the county hearing examiner’s office for approval. It marks another significant step in a decades-long effort to bring regular commercial passenger flights to the county airport, something that now appears possible as soon as next year.

The legal paperwork would set aside an appeal from the Sno-King Watershed Council in exchange for redesigning the terminal’s stormwater drainage system. That would clear the way for Propeller to receive a grading permit.

“I guess you could say that Japanese Gulch is the real winner here,” said Bill Lider, an engineer who serves on the Watershed Council board. “We’re really pleased that Propeller was willing to sit down with us and negotiate seriously and correct the deficiencies so we now have what I consider to be a code-compliant design.”

Propeller Airports hopes to build the two-gate terminal adjacent to the airport’s control tower. Plans show a 29,000-square-foot building. CEO Brett Smith has said he’d like to start service in mid-2018. No potential carriers have been announced.

Many neighbors in Mukilteo have fretted about the potential for passenger flights to worsen noise, traffic and other aspects of their quality of life. They have put up steady resistance to the project, but lost key court battles during the past couple of years.

The new terminal could handle up to two dozen takeoffs and landings per day. Paine Field already averages more than 300 daily takeoffs and landings, mostly from general aviation and aerospace companies.

County planners announced in February that they were prepared to issue a grading permit to Propeller. They also reached a decision called a mitigated determination of non-significance, meaning that any environmental harm from the project could be eliminated through special measures. Conditions include a program to encourage pilots to avoid routes over residential areas and to limit late-night or early-morning trips.

Mukilteo did not challenge the county’s decision, but the Watershed Council did.

Lider said the sides reached an agreement after he drew up designs for a larger stormwater detention system that he says will be more effective.

“Basically, it’s a big underground box for storing water and gradually releasing it after a storm,” he said.

The legal agreement nearly doubles the capacity to handle stormwater. It aims to filter more pollutants from the water flowing into Japanese Gulch and the salmon-bearing stream that runs through it.

The settlement also compensates the Watershed Council $10,500 for the work and fees related to the appeal.

The county is prepared to issue a grading permit soon after the hearing examiner’s office signs the agreement, said Tom Barnett, a project manager in the county’s planning department. Propeller still must apply for building permits.

The New York City-based company entered into an option-to-lease agreement with the county two years ago. Once the lease takes effect, the county would receive about $429,000 per year in rent.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Andrea Brown / Herald file)
Gas tax increase part of Dems’ massive transportation package

An 18-cent gas tax hike and a fee on carbon emissions would raise $25.8 billion for new roads and more.

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times Carol Johnston has watched this Pacific madrone grow for the past 14 years. It is slated to be removed during McDonald’s upcoming renovation in early February.
Madrone tree to make way for bigger McDonald’s in Oak Harbor

Despite being named a Tree City USA, the city has no special protection in place for the native tree.

Navy seeks to conduct SEAL training in Whidbey, Camano parks

The deadline to register to participate in public comment is 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22.

Light rail work to close northbound I-5 in Mountlake Terrace

The overnight closures will happen late Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Jill Johnson (left) and Greg Banks
State’s vaccine schedule draws criticism from Island County

Gov. Jay Inslee’s new plan for vaccinations didn’t include a change for disabled people.

Grant program reopens for businesses suffering amid pandemic

Local businesses that haven’t applied to Snohomish County’s “R3” program can do so until Feb. 2.

A pharmacist prepares a syringe of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, at Queen Anne Healthcare, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle. Pfizer has committed to supply up to 40 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine this year to a World Health Organization-backed effort to get affordable vaccines to 92 poor and middle-income countries. The deal announced Friday, Jan. 22 will supply the shots to the program known as COVAX.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Short on doses, county’s drive-thru vaccinations are on pause

Appointments won’t be accepted again until new shipments arrive — next week at the soonest.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Students, businesses to get a little help from lawmakers

Here’s what’s happening on Day 12 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

Most Read