Agreement, does, in fact, count

The Tuesday front-page article “Dozens speak against flights” is nice, but the accompanying page 2 box “History of the Paine Field debate” leaves off a critical point. In 1978 the county documented that Paine Field would not be developed for commercial air travel. This was the basis of allowing home development in what had been a lightly populated area. Many thousands of homes were built based on this agreement.

I have lived near Paine Field since 1989. Personally, I think a moderate number of commercial flights would not hurt anything as long as the terminal traffic feeds directly to/from Highway 526, not other area roads. But my opinion does not matter. In 1978, the county promised that this airport would not be developed for airline use. Period. Any house built since 1978 was built under this promise from the county. The “History of the Paine Field debate” mentions a “1970s agreement” as if this is so old it no longer matters; but it does matter.

Planning the locations of houses and cities is a long-term decision. The county cannot promise “no airlines,” allow thousands of homes to be built, then say “just kidding — now the airlines can come.”

Dave Pitts


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