AOPA asks Kittitas County to stop encroachment

October 9, 2008

A plan to rezone more than 24 acres of agricultural land to allow residential development near Cle Elum Municipal is incompatible with the county comprehensive plan and could jeopardize planned investment in bringing the airport up to current FAA design standards, AOPA told Kittitas County officials.

In a Sept. 26 letter, AOPA asked the Kittitas County Community Development office to reject the proposal to allow 14 home lots less than 1,000 feet from the extended centerline of the airport's runway. AOPA pointed out that allowing residential encroachment on the airport is in direct opposition to the county's comprehensive plan, adopted in May.

In addition, allowing such residential development could prevent Washington State and the FAA from continuing a $2 million investment in rebuilding the airport's runway and making other infrastructure updates at the field.

The development proposal was brought to AOPA's attention by Craig Johnson, the AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer for Cle Elum. "The county has a responsibility to protect the airport and the state and federal investments in it, and we are going to do all we can to make sure they live up to that responsibility," wrote AOPA.