Photo by Haley Ausbun

Photo by Haley Ausbun

Choice for airport adjustment on hold till new year

City admin, considering downtown plan efforts and property aquisition, didn’t reccomend RAAC choice

City council postponed selection of a preferred alternative for the new safety zones at Renton Municipal Airport after members of the Renton Airport Advisory Committee said they didn’t feel heard. A decision won’t be made until January 2019.

Three alternatives are currently in discussion. The committee voted for shifting the runway south, which would move Airport Way. The administration recommended moving the runway north, into Lake Washington, which was not voted for by any committee members.

Attendees of the Dec. 3 council meeting expressed concerns about administration deciding against the committee’s choice.

Warren Hendrickson spoke on behalf of the committee and as Northwest mountain regional manager for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He said administration should be transparent in why they went against it.

Former committee and councilmember Marcie Palmer also said the city should listen to members and explain the choice.

Councilmember Randy Corman said while the committee members are major stakeholders, the downtown property owners are, too. This includes Renton High School and businesses that might be forced out moving the runway south.

Attendees said the city hadn’t done enough public outreach about the master plan and the major changes that will come to the area, including land acquisition of private properties, and that administration should explain why they chose a different alternative.

Hendrickson said at that Dec. 3 meeting Renton’s master plan had the lowest public input he’s seen in his experience.

“It’s hard to correct now, but it has to be addressed going further,” Hendrickson said

A memo went on the city of Renton’s website Dec. 6 about the administration’s decision, and a new page is dedicated to the airport master plan. Corman said people reached out that it still wasn’t enough time for feedback, so the decision was pushed again to January.

Corman said he agreed there would probably be more private landowners reaching out to the city if they knew the stakes of the project, at the Dec. 10 council meeting. Corman said the committee’s recommendation would require purchase of 95 private properties. The administration’s recommendation requires 36 private properties, the least amount.

The airport master plan is available at https://rentonwa.gov/news/current_news/airport_airside_alternatives.

Corman asked for the public to send in their comments on the plan soon so that council can choose in January.

“We will be picking this up soon, if we don’t the airport is going to start losing a lot of money,” Corman said.

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