The Washington State Senate unanimously passed a bill Feb. 12 to protect the state’s public-use airports from incompatible development.
Counties currently must consider incompatible land use in their plans, but the bill, S.B. 6603, would require the Department of Transportation’s aviation division to develop strategies to prohibit those uses adjacent to general aviation airports. The bill was sent to the House Feb. 15 and must be passed there and signed by the governor before it can become law.
The bill calls for the DOT to assist counties and cities to identify land uses that may be incompatible with aircraft operations, and to encourage the implementation of protections against incompatible uses. All proposed plan and regulation amendments should be submitted to the aviation division for early review and comment, according to the bill.
AOPA Northwest Regional Representative Mike Ferguson testified before the Senate Transportation Committee in support of the bill, along with Washington Pilots Association President John Dobson, Washington Department of Transportation Director of Aviation John Sibold, and state and local officials.
“The existing statute is permissive. Some communities have followed it, but others have not. The new bill would put some teeth on existing law,” Ferguson said after his testimony.