By Jack Mayne

The Burien City Council has unanimously passed a resolution endorsing a Washington State Senate bill that would seek a location and get a second Seattle-area airport built in the next 20 years.

The Council, in study session, also unanimously approved a new version of the Burien Airport Committee in the study session Monday (Jan. 28), and also approved a second resolution to study noise pollution created by the airport.

Airport impacts
The newly reconstituted committee, continuing on from the previous one, is to “discuss both the positive and the negative impacts” of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Burien, and has been closely followed for its potential leadership by adjacent cities, especially SeaTac, Des Moines and Normandy Park.

The committee is chartered to consider and “discuss land use issues related to the airport, including impacts on Burien, including airport support areas such as airplane mechanical work and passenger handling, and to “discuss agreements between the City of Burien and the Port of Seattle” related to the airport including interlocal agreements.

The Burien committee also will “consider and discuss its impacts on the residents” including traffic, surface water management, parking, and the payment of impact fees.

Protect people
The Burien committee will be expected to make recommendations on “ways to protect residents and businesses from negative Airport impacts” and finding “ways for residents and businesses to take advantage of positive Airport impacts proximity.” That would mean a new airport somewhere else to accommodate widespread belief that further Sea-Tac growth would economically and health-wise harm area residents.

It is also expected to “ensure coordination and information sharing” with airport related groups and committees in other cities.

A second resolution includes language that will ask the Port of Seattle to stop continuing to “build-out or launch of additional infrastructure at the Airport“ until studies are “completed, true impacts are assessed, and aviation capacity needs are fully documented.”

In short, stop expansion until the impacts are fully known and start considering a second major airport site in Western Washington because of widespread public belief the airport has grown as much as the area can handle. Wilson also told the Council there should be “full transparency.”

New airport by 2040?
Wilson said the city, in a request written by the city airport committee, is asking the Port of Seattle to give it a report on proposed actions on airport expansion no later than six months from when the Council approves the resolution.

The Council resolution asks the Legislature and Port of Seattle “to provide updates on progress potential new (airport} sites” at the end of the 2019 session of the Legislature.

Councilmember Nancy Tosta, the chairman of the city’s airport committee, said state Senator Karen Keiser, D-33, has introduced legislation in the current session of the Washington Legislature (SB 5370) “to form a commission” to look for a location for a second airport.

Under the legislation’s “pretty ambitious schedule” what would require the commission to come up with six viable sites by next January, and by September 2020 have “two top priority sites, a preferred location by Jan. 1, 2021, and a project time line to build a new airport by 2040.

Tosta said she hopes the potential passage of Keiser’s proposal for the city has “a resolution saying ‘please do this.’” The measure, she said, is in the Senate Transportation Committee but has not been scheduled for public hearing.

Upgrade sound insulation
The Council approved a resolution that maintains the current noise pollution study “is neither current or accurate, due to significant recent growth exceeding projections in Airport operations,” and “due to missing information on airports in close proximity and limited regional airspace capacity, due to missing information on noise generated from NextGen flights.”

City Manager Wilson said the resolution says Burien wants the Washington Legislature to require the Port of Seattle initiate a new noise study. The proposal from the city to the Legislature asks for updating state law to allow updating or new sound “sound insulation products that were previously installed and have failed or require replacement due to changed construction codes.” If adopted by the Legislature, the “current state law” that “prohibits homeowners from receiving any updated acoustical products” be changed.