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Pilots, aviation officials work to prevent encroachment at SandersonPilots, aviation officials work to prevent encroachment at Sanderson

The city of Shelton, Wash., is considering rezoning property one half mile south of Sanderson Airport’s Runway 5/23 from commercial industrial to commercial residential. The city is hearing safety concerns from local pilots, the Port of Shelton, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division, and the Washington Pilots Association. AOPA also has written to the city expressing its opposition to rezoning the 120 acres, explaining that doing so would “create a future hazard to the Sanderson Airport.”

This was the second time AOPA had written to the city in an effort to prevent residential encroachment at Sanderson Airport. The association had written in January, pointing out safety concerns in the rezoning proposal, but the city made only slight changes to the plan. As proposed, residential housing would be located under the downwind legs for Runway 5/23.

“Keep the zoning the same, look for better-suited uses to occupy the property, and prevent future conflict for your citizens, the airport, and the city,” AOPA said in a letter Nov. 18 before the final meeting. “There are many other more compatible uses for this land that could bring additional economic activity and revenue to your community and help you improve the quality of life for your citizens.”

“The city needs to recognize the safety implications of building houses right under the traffic pattern at the airport,” said John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy. “The city also must take into consideration the long-term tension that it would create by setting the stage for noise complaints from the new neighbors about aircraft flying overhead. All of this can be prevented if the city listens to pilots and the WSDOT Aviation Division and seeks other compatible avenues for economic activity.”

Topics: Advocacy

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