AOPA opposes racetrack near Arlington, Washington, airport

November 16, 2004

AOPA opposes racetrack near Arlington, Washington, airport

A proposal to build a NASCAR racetrack in north Marysville, Washington, has ignited a fierce debate in the community. About 600 people attended a public hearing on the subject Wednesday night. AOPA has opposed the potential location, just south of the approach/departure zone for Runway 16/34 at Arlington Municipal Airport (AWO).

"While AOPA recognizes that NASCAR officials are big users and supporters of general aviation, the association is concerned that the track could create safety issues," said Roger Cohen, AOPA vice president of regional affairs.

The racetrack proposal would build a stadium seating up to 75,000 NASCAR fans underneath AWO's traffic pattern zone. That puts the racetrack at odds with the City of Arlington's airport master plan and the state Department of Transportation's guidelines for compatible land use near airports.

The Arlington Airport Commission already has gone on record opposing the location of the racetrack so close to the airport, noting in its resolution that "the airport master plan states that areas in proximity to the flight line of the airport should restrict or avoid large concentrations of people."

A small handful of citizens were granted the opportunity to speak at the public hearing last week, including Bruce Angell, AOPA's Airport Support Network volunteer for Arlington Municipal. As part of his presentation, Angell gave the legislators in attendance copies of AOPA's letter opposing the track's proposed location.

November 16, 2004