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04 December 2006 @ 06:21 pm
King County Journal: Renton council committee to consider airport update  
Renton council committee to consider airport update

By Dean A. Radford
Journal Reporter

RENTON — While noise still concerns some airport neighbors, a City Council committee will look at the plan to update the layout of the Renton Municipal Airport.

That update is part of a larger revision of the Airport Master Plan as the city tries to attract corporate jets to a new aviation center.

The city is reviewing citizens' comments on the master plan update it received at a Nov. 21 open house.

The city is projecting greater demand at the airport through 2025 and needs to ensure the airport is designed to accommodate that growth.

The creation of a Renton corporate "jetport" has some nearby residents worried. Many attended the November open house and, according to Marcie Palmer, who chairs the council's Transportation Committee, came away with a better understanding of the city's plans.

Public needs more information

She said she wouldn't dispute claims that the city hasn't done enough to inform the public about those plans.

"The open house was an acknowledgment that we need to get more information out to them," she said. The Renton Airport Advisory Committee also is going to meet more frequently, she said.

A Kennydale resident, Palmer got involved with city politics because of airport noise and planes flying over her home.

Jeff Stern lives in Bryn Mawr, above Lake Washington, and has a view of the airport runway. He accepts the occasional Boeing 737 that flies out of the airport to its new owner. But the airport became a noisier neighbor when corporate jets were diverted to Renton during repairs to Boeing Field earlier this year.

Now, he fears a corporate jetport will bring that noise back.

"It's the frequency that's the problem," he said. "That is what affects you."

Technology changes flight paths

However, using new technology, the city is moving toward instrument landings and take-offs at the airport that will change flight paths in and out of the airport, according to council President Randy Corman.

The new technology means that airplanes can approach the airport over water, likely between Mercer Island and Seattle's Seward Park, rather than over land, Corman said.

"What the public doesn't understand is that will change the nature of the traffic at the airport in a very positive way, in terms of noise," Corman said.

Stern isn't so sure. He figures that the noise the planes generate will bounce off the water and still be heard on the hillsides.

Palmer responds that dealing with noise at the airport is a balancing act. The airport is surrounding by hills, creating a bowl that directs noise upward, she said.

The best thing the city can do is make it as compatible as possible with its neighbors, she said.

Dean Radford covers Renton. He can be reached at dean.radford@ kingcountyjournal.com or 253-872-6719.

Airport plan

The Renton City Council Transportation Committee will consider a new layout plan for the Renton Municipal Airport at its meeting at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the council's conference room, seventh floor, Renton City Hall, 1055 S. Grady Way.

Last modified: December 04. 2006 12:00AM