Paine Field passenger terminal to get grading permit

EVERETT — Snohomish County is preparing to issue a grading permit for a passenger air terminal at Paine Field, a step that could mark a final turning point in the contentious fight over allowing regular commercial flights at the county-run airport.

A formal notice was expected to be published Sunday. The county determined that the proposed 29,000-square foot terminal with two gates would have no significant environmental impact.

The county plans to accept comments on the decision through March 13.

The county is not requiring a full environmental impact study under the land-use decision. The mitigated determination of non-significance, as this type of decision is known, could require special measures to address traffic and other impacts.

New York-based Propeller Airports entered into an option-to-lease agreement with the county to build the terminal nearly two years ago. The facility would occupy about 11 acres between the airport’s administrative offices and control tower. Architectural plans show a building with a lodge-like look.

Under its lease agreement, Propeller has until March 2018 to design the terminal and perform environmental studies. CEO Brett Smith has said he hopes to break ground later this year. The 30-year contract could eventually bring the county about $429,000 per year in rent. It includes two optional 10-year extensions.

The city of Mukilteo and the Save Our Communities neighborhood group have lost a series of court battles over the terminal.

A state appeals court in January rejected a request to void the lease contract. A panel of three federal judges last year denied an appeal challenging the Federal Aviation Administration finding that the proposed number of flights would have no significant impact on surrounding communities.

A major concern for the opposition is that the number of flights could grow over time, causing more noise pollution, heavier traffic and lower property values.

Mukilteo officials have vowed to limit the project through administrative means. Last year they asked the county to consider a program to direct flights away from noise-sensitive areas.

Propeller’s noise studies look at a combined 20 takeoffs and landings per day by aircraft sized to carry 76 passengers. Another 20 weekly combined takeoffs and landings are studied from 150-seat aircraft.

The airport already averages more than 300 takeoffs and landings per day from existing operations, including general aviation, Boeing Co. airplanes and Aviation Technical Services.

Propeller’s noise consultant examined impacts from specific aircraft: the Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop, the McDonnell Douglas MD-83, the Boeing 737 and the Embraer E175.

The terminal would generate nearly 1,000 new car trips per day, with 212 trips at peak hours, Propeller’s traffic consultant estimated.

Plans show about 570 parking spaces.

A Snohomish County website contains documents and other updates about the terminal project: www.snohomishcountywa.gov/3651/Propeller-Project-at-Paine-Field.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Repairs for collapsed culvert to close Everett’s Larimer Road

Drivers may need to find an alternate route for days.

Blue bump: Democratic majority in Snohomish, King counties

A new survey found that 52% of adults in the area say they are Democrats or that they lean Democratic.

Lawmakers find many patches to cover hole in road budgets

Spending plans use transfers and other tools to offset $453M less in revenue due to Initiative 976

Snohomish County aims for all renewable energy by 2045

A government-led group is trying to make the county’s vehicles and buildings effectively carbon free.

Repealing Boeing’s big tax break could be a bumpy ride

It will be ended to avoid a trade dispute. But workers want Boeing to make changes if it’s later restored.

Front Porch

EVENTS Meet superintendent candidates Students, families, staff and others with ties to… Continue reading

Snohomish County prosecutor calls for end of death penalty

Adam Cornell didn’t oppose it until the Supreme Court struck it down. He says that changed the landscape.

After a storied history, the Argosy rests in pieces

The 100-year-old ship has been removed from Warm Beach after it ran aground in Tulalip.

Edmonds police get 100 tips, still seek 7-Eleven killer

Detectives are asking residents to look through home surveillance video from the morning of Feb. 21.

Most Read