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.
The newly reconstituted committee, continuing on from the previous one, is to â€œdiscuss both the positive and the negative impactsâ€ 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 â€œdiscuss 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 â€œdiscuss agreements between the City of Burien and the Port of Seattleâ€ related to the airport including interlocal agreements.
The Burien committee also will â€œconsider and discuss its impacts on the residentsâ€ including traffic, surface water management, parking, and the payment of impact fees.
The Burien committee will be expected to make recommendations on â€œways to protect residents and businesses from negative Airport impactsâ€ and finding â€œways for residents and businesses to take advantage of positive Airport impacts proximity.â€ 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 â€œensure coordination and information sharingâ€ 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 â€œbuild-out or launch of additional infrastructure at the Airportâ€œ until studies are â€œcompleted, true impacts are assessed, and aviation capacity needs are fully documented.â€
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 â€œfull transparency.â€
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 â€œto provide updates on progress potential new (airport} sitesâ€ at the end of the 2019 session of the Legislature.
Councilmember Nancy Tosta, the chairman of the cityâ€™s airport committee, said state Senator Karen Keiser, D-33, has introduced legislation in the current session of the Washington Legislature (SB 5370) â€œto form a commissionâ€ to look for a location for a second airport.
Under the legislationâ€™s â€œpretty ambitious scheduleâ€ what would require the commission to come up with six viable sites by next January, and by September 2020 have â€œtwo 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 Keiserâ€™s proposal for the city has â€œa resolution saying â€˜please do this.â€™â€ 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 â€œis neither current or accurate, due to significant recent growth exceeding projections in Airport operations,â€ and â€œdue to missing information on airports in close proximity and limited regional airspace capacity, due to missing information on noise generated from NextGen flights.â€
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 â€œsound insulation products that were previously installed and have failed or require replacement due to changed construction codes.â€ If adopted by the Legislature, the â€œcurrent state lawâ€ that â€œprohibits homeowners from receiving any updated acoustical productsâ€ be changed.