Noise, traffic study released on passenger flights at Paine Field

EVERETT — The company seeking to bring regular commercial passenger flights to Paine Field has turned in new traffic and noise studies to Snohomish County as part of the permitting process.

Under its lease agreement with the county, Propeller Airports has until March 2018 to design its passenger terminal and perform environmental studies. CEO Brett Smith said things are well on track to make that happen.

“We’re pleased with the progress and look forward to starting construction this year,” Smith said.

Snohomish County posted new permitting documents on Monday to a website about the proposal. They include an updated application for a grading permit. There also are studies on noise, traffic and stormwater impacts that consultants prepared on behalf of New York-based Propeller Airports. The company responded to comments from opponents and local governments.

The noise study looks at a combined 20 takeoffs and landing per day from 76-seat aircraft. Another 20 weekly combined takeoffs and landings are studied from 150-seat aircraft.

The airport averages more than 300 takeoffs and landings per day from existing operations, including general aviation and aerospace companies.

The noise study examines noise impact from various types of aircraft: the Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop airliner, the McDonnell Douglas MD-83, the Boeing 737 and the Embraer E175.

The terminal would generate 956 new car trips per day, with 212 at peak hours, Propeller’s traffic consultant estimated. Plans show about 570 parking spaces.

New York-based Propeller unveiled architectural drawings in April for a 29,000-square-foot facility. At the time, the company had expected to break ground by late 2016.

No word has emerged, so far, about what airlines Propeller hopes to attract, if it gets the go-ahead for the project.

The facility would occupy about 11 acres between the airport’s administrative offices and control tower.

A major concern for the opposition is that commercial operations will grow larger over time, without many safeguards for surrounding neighborhoods.

“This opens up the door to who knows how much activity down the road,” said Mike Moore, president of the Save Our Communities neighborhood group. “There’s no certainty there will be an adequate environmental impact statement done with expanded activity in the future.”

Mukilteo continues to challenge the proposal through administrative channels. In July, Mukilteo community development director Patricia Love pressed the county for details on the facility’s effects. The city sought assurances that it wouldn’t grow beyond a two-gate operation serving destinations such as Portland, Spokane and Las Vegas. The city also asked for more details about the potential increase for stormwater damage to Japanese Gulch.

The city asked the county to consider a program to direct flights away from noise-sensitive areas.

The city of Mukilteo and Save Our Communities continue to mount legal a legal fight. They’re awaiting an opinion from the state Court of Appeals about their challenge to the multi-decade lease agreement the county approved with Propeller in 2015.

A three-judge federal panel last year denied the opponents’ appeal arguing that the Federal Aviation Administration erred in concluding that the proposed number of flights would have no significant effect on surrounding communities. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to have the full court review the panel decision.

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

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