Burien's city council chambers were packed at Monday night's meeting. Photo by Scott Schaefer. Burien’s city council chambers were packed at Monday night’s meeting. Click image to view larger version.[/caption] By Jack Mayne Photos by Scott Schaefer The Burien City Council wants an October meeting between the city, the Port of Seattle and the regional office of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to discuss the recent increase in airplane noise over Burien. The Port of Seattle also told the council Monday night (Sept. 19) that it had not been not told in advance by the FAA about changes that resulted in the latest increase of more and louder noise for city residents. Burien residents crowded the Monday night Council session to express anger and disbelief at its Monday meeting. The Council also approved a separation agreement with Dan Trimble, Burien’s long-time economic development manager. [caption id="attachment_103957" align="aligncenter" width="490"]Councilmembers Nancy Tosta, Debi Wagner and Steve Armstrong grilled Stan Shepherd, Manager, Airport Noise Programs for the Port of Seattle. Councilmembers Nancy Tosta, Debi Wagner and Steve Armstrong grilled Stan Shepherd, Manager, Airport Noise Programs for the Port of Seattle.[/caption] Meet with Feds City Manager Kamuron Gurol said the city has met twice with Sea-Tac Airport’s managing director, Lance Lyttle, and others on the takeoff changes made by the FAA. He said he was working to have a direct meeting with the FAA “in the next days” so he can understand their reasons for the change and see if there are options to the present takeoff dispersal. [caption id="attachment_103958" align="aligncenter" width="490"]flight-pattern-burien-091916-before BEFORE: Flight pattern from Aug. 26, 2015. Click image to view larger version.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_103959" align="aligncenter" width="490"]flight-pattern-burien-091916-after NOW: Flight pattern for Aug. 24, 2016. Click image to view larger version.[/caption] “There seems to be a concentration of those flights turning westbound over Burien in the last weeks,” the city manager said. Stan Shepherd, the Port of Seattle’s manager of airport noise programs, said the Port did not “know about this either when … the FAA initiated this back in July” and “it took us a while to identify” why there were a spate of new noise complaints. “It took us about a week before we could figure out what was going on out there,” Shepherd said. Shepherd said that during the warmer months, the wind is from the north and it is from the south during the cooler, rainier periods. Planes must take off and land into the wind, so during warm months more flights take off northward. Such turns used to be further north and disbursed over West Seattle and even Ballard. All prop flights are now directed by the FAA control tower at Sea-Tac to turn west over Burien. The idea is to get the smaller, more maneuverable planes quickly out of the way so that more of the heavier jet airliners can quickly depart, Shepherd said. “That is what I have been told, but I want to make sure you understand, I am not the guy here who can make changes,” he said, noting that is up only to the FAA. Gurol said the recent concentration of the takeoff pattern is what is causing Burien citizen concerns and complaints. “The city was not notified and the Port was not notified so we are all trying to figure out what happened and why,” he said. But Councilmember Stephen Armstrong said he had a hard time believing that the Port did not know of the FAA change. “We were not made aware of this change,” said Shepherd. “They honestly did not communicate that to the Port of Seattle.” FAA controls landings, takeoffs Once a plane is off the ground the Port loses all control of a plane’s flight, then it is totally controlled by the FAA. Shepherd said the change in when planes turn was directed at its personnel only, so there was no notification necessary to the port. All of the people in the Sea-Tac control tower, which directs plane takeoffs and landings, are employees of the Federal Aviation Agency and are, in no way, subject to rules or demands of the Port of Seattle. Shepherd says the Port is “advocating the wishes of the community,” but decisions are totally up to the federal agency. Councilmember Debi Wagner suggested a study of the effects of airport noise on the citizens of the Burien. She said a survey was taken in the 1990s and it reflected citizen complaints that the Port of Seattle had not done enough for noise relief. [caption id="attachment_103953" align="aligncenter" width="490"]larrycripeburiencc091916-1 Former pilot Larry Cripe speaks at the Burien City Council meeting Monday night. At the public meeting, Cripe asked that residents interested in teaming up email him at [email protected].[/caption] Leading the challenge Burien resident Larry Cripe, who first brought the matter of added flights over west Burien, said Monday night that when citizens find out the reason for the change “we are going to be outraged. My biggest fear about what the FAA is doing to us is not going to stop here.” Cripe is a retired Alaska Airlines pilot and said over 80 percent of all airline traffic in and out of Sea-Tac “is conducted by Alaska Air Group.” “The Port makes money every day by the number of flights in and out of Sea-Tac” and that the airport is already just 70 flights more a day “away from meeting max capacity.” “When they get done (with the planned expansion of the airport), they are going to come to us and they are going to say, ‘we need a fourth runway.’” “We, as citizens, deserve to have clear information and not smoke – we are going to hold people accountable and responsible and there is a team and a network that is going to grow, and it is going to grow big. “If I am involved in this thing, we are going to the top of the mountain, folks,” Cripe told the packed council chambers. “I have a lot more facts for our community meeting and it won’t be long from now.” Destroying peace of mind “It has got to stop – 40 to 50 flights are buzzing over my house on Saturday when I am out there trying to play with my kids. It is destroying our peace of mind,” said John Parris of Seahurst, adding that the increase of flights and noise was a “complete surprise” to residents. He said the neighborhood is building a non-profit organization of “citizen activists to work with our leader and we are going to do things … to make this problem solvable.” Parris said they were working to get freedom of information requests for FAA documents “and we are looking into hiring a legal team to help us advise the community of what to do.” A community meeting, which the Council ordered the city staff to set up in October, “is a great idea,” said Parris. He also wanted the city to turn “up the heat on the Port of Seattle, because in my opinion, they know a lot more about what’s going on than has been said tonight.” [caption id="attachment_103954" align="alignleft" width="211"]susanpleckoburiencc091916-1 “…flights have a direct negative impact on the real estate in these areas” – local Realtor Susan Plecko.[/caption] Realtor Susan Plecko said the flights have a “direct negative impact on the real estate in these areas. If these over flights are allowed to continue they will significantly reduce property values … and that, in turn, would reduce the tax income the city receives.” Others commented on the potential damage to overall tax income to the and to damage to wildlife, such as the eagle nesting area near Eagle Landing Park. dantrimble16-500 Trimble cashiered Dan Trimble, Burien’s economic development manager since Nov. 2011, was effectively fired after a series of City Council executive sessions behind closed doors over the past several weeks. The Council approved a “separation agreement” at the opening of their session Monday night. Previous to Monday’s meeting, and several times earlier, the city sent out notices that the “Burien City Council will hold a Special Meeting for the purpose of holding an Executive Session to discuss the performance of a public employee” per state law and “to discuss potential litigation …” After that private meeting, the Council began (10 minutes late) its regular public meeting because state law requires that when “… discharging or disciplining an employee, that action shall be taken in a meeting open to the public. …” The Council introduced and unanimously approved the separation agreement. Deputy Mayor Bob Edgar said that Trimble has been “an untiring advocate of economic development by collaborating with businesses and development communities to bring over $150 million of investment to the city of Burien over the past four years.” Edgar said he would vote for the separation agreement, adding that his “departure will be a loss for the City of Burien. …” Mayor Lucy Krakowiak said she would also vote for the separation agreement and that she wanted Burien residents to know “how much Dan has done for the city.” She said Trimble “turned around Town Square” and brought in the two developers who are constructing the new residential complexes north of the City Hall. Other Council members also wished Trimble well. On Tuesday, the city released a statement that it “will soon begin to recruit for this position and in the interim other city staff are handling those duties. The city appreciates Dan’s service over the last several years and wishes him well in future endeavors.”]]>