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

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

Permit for Paine Field terminal awaits water runoff plan

EVERETT — A company preparing to build a terminal for passenger flights at Paine Field must first address objections about its plans for handling stormwater runoff before getting to work.

An appeal filed by the Sno-King Watershed Council alleges that the stormwater drainage would be inadequate under Propeller Airports’ proposal.

The case will head to the Snohomish County hearing examiner. A hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 24.

“Our intent is not to delay the project or kill the project. We want to make sure they provide the water quality and flow control into Japanese Gulch,” said Bill Lider, a board member with the council. “We just want to make sure they’re doing it right.”

Propeller Airports is planning to build the two-gate terminal next to the control tower of the Snohomish County-run airport. Plans show a 29,000-square-foot building. No potential carriers have been announced.

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

County planners announced Feb. 26 that they were prepared to issue a grading permit for the project. They also issued an environmental decision called a mitigated determination of non-significance. The county’s decision laid out conditions for approval. That included a program that asks pilots to avoid routes over residential areas as well as limiting late-night or early-morning trips.

The deadline to appeal those decisions passed March 13.

The only appeal came from the watershed council, said Tom Barnett, a project manager with Snohomish County’s Department of Planning and Development Services. Planners could issue the grading permit soon after the appeal is resolved. No application for a building permit has been submitted.

The appeal contends that designs for the terminal site don’t meet county code requirements for filtering water or slowing storm runoff. Drainage from the terminal site would flow to Japanese Gulch Creek and Puget Sound after going through an airport catch basin and a pond.

The Sno-King Watershed Council maintains that the salmon-bearing creek could be harmed by increased erosion and sediment if the stormwater issues aren’t addressed. It wants Propeller to redesign parts of the project. Among other aspects, the group contends a catch basin is only about half the size it needs to be.

No appeal was filed by the city of Mukilteo or the Save Our Communities homeowners group, which have been active in the courts trying to oppose commercial passenger flights at Paine Field.

Propeller CEO Brett Smith has said he hopes to start service next year.

A separate development project at Paine Field also faces a challenge over stormwater designs from the Sno-King Watershed Council and Pilchuck Audubon Society. The appeal of a grading permit related to a parking-lot expansion at B/E Aerospace is scheduled to go to the county hearing examiner in April.

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

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