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Airport Planning Issues


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Port Townsend,
WA 98368

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Page last updated: 1/28/2005

This page will be used as a portal of information involving various planning efforts associated with the Jefferson County International Airport (JCIA), owned and operated by the Port of Port Townsend.

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The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) adopted Ordinance No. 16-1213-04 [4 MB FILE] on December 13, 2004, thereby enacting the following:

  • Adopting an Airport Essential Public Facilities (AEPF) land use district on the map of Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designations
  • Adopting maps of two Airport Overlays covering the JCIA and adjacent areas
  • Amending the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code with respect to goals, policies, and development regulations associated with the AEPF and the two Airport Overlays

The Ordinance linked above includes maps of the AEPF and Airport Overlays, as well as line-in/line-out Comprehensive Plan and UDC amendments.

For more information and access to the legal notice of adoption and other documents, visit the general webpage for the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle.

Background - Essential Public Facility

The Jefferson County International Airport (JCIA or "the Airport") is owned and operated by the Port of Port Townsend ("the Port").  For general descriptive information about the Airport, the Port has an Airport webpage, which includes discussion of an approved update to the Airport Master Plan.

The Airport is designated by Jefferson County through the Comprehensive Plan as an Essential Public Facility (EPF).  The 1998 Comprehensive Plan includes goals and policies concerning the Airport EPF in chapter 9, the Essential Public Facilities element.

  • Goal EPG 2.0: Ensure the continued vitality of the Jefferson County International Airport as a transportation hub.
  • Goal EPG 3.0: Ensure continuation of the airport as a safe and efficient essential public facility.

Policies associated with these goals include discouraging the siting of new, incompatible land uses adjacent to the airport and establishing a noise overlay zone.  These issues were combined into an "Airport Overlay District" proposal docketed for consideration during the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle.

The Jefferson County Planning Commission has an Airport Committee tasked with studying all planning matters associated with the Airport and sharing findings and recommendations with the full Planning Commission.  Meeting dates and times of the Airport Committee are posted on the Planning Commission section of the Long-Range Planning webpage.

Airport Overlay Districts

An Airport Overlay District based on a noise contour overlay was proposed in early 2004 by the Port of Port Townsend for consideration during the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle.  The proposed Overlay would involve regulatory restrictions to prevent incompatible development adjacent to the Airport, notice provisions for surrounding properties in relation to noise generated by normal Airport operations, and code language indicating that the County did not consider normal Airport operations to be a public nuisance.

History

In the context of implementing Comprehensive Plan policies (referenced above) concerning the Airport Essential Public Facility (EPF), the County initiated a process in 1998 that involved consideration of an airport noise overlay ordinance.  In 1999, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) informed the Port that based on a recommendation from the Planning Commission and on the fact that both the Glen Cove/Tri-Area Study and the Airport Master Plan had not yet been completed, the County would delay adoption of a noise overlay ordinance until such time as a more comprehensive Airport environs overlay district could be developed, with a noise overlay component as part of that district.

The Unified Development Code (UDC) was adopted in December 2000 as the set of implementing regulations for the Comprehensive Plan.  The 2000 UDC contained development regulations associated with the Airport at section 3.6.11 Airport Essential Public Facility District (A).  After the County adopted the UDC in December 2000, the Port of Port Townsend filed a petition for review with the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board.  The Port argued that the UDC did not go far enough in protecting against the siting of incompatible development adjacent to the Airport Essential Public Facility (EPF).

The siting of incompatible uses is specifically addressed in the Revised Code of Washington at RCW 36.70.547 (Planning Enabling Act) and by reference RCW 36.70A.510 (Growth Management Act).  In State law, there is no explicit reference to a noise overlay zone or district around an airport or requirement to establish such a zone or district. 

The County and the Port were able to reach a settlement agreement rather than go through the Hearings Board process.  The County agreed to bring a proposal through the public process that addressed incompatible development and notice provisions related to noise generated through normal Airport operations.  (Refer to the 1998 Comprehensive Plan goals and policies related to these issues, as presented above.)

A UDC amendment process was initiated in early 2003 in order to address these issues.  The original file number was MLA03-3.  A Planning Commission public hearing originally scheduled for February 5, 2003 was cancelled and on May 1, 2003, the Port submitted a modified proposal, under file number MLA03-232, for consideration during the 2003 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle.  The proposal was subsequently moved from the 2003 Docket to the 2004 Docket for consideration.  The original documents submitted in early 2003 are presented here for background.

A citizen organization called People for a Rural Quimper (PRQ) submitted a suggested amendment for the 2003 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle that was docketed for consideration by the Board of County Commissioners.  The proposal, under file number MLA03-244, was subsequently moved from the 2003 Docket to the 2004 Docket for consideration.  The PRQ proposal would modify policy language in the Comprehensive Plan related to the Airport and would remove references to a noise overlay zone.

2004 Docket

Two proposals related to the Airport are part of the 2004 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Docket.  Both are suggested amendments, one submitted by the Port of Port Townsend (file number MLA03-232) and one by People for a Rural Quimper (PRQ, MLA03-244).

The Port proposal submitted to the County in 2003 under MLA03-232 was modified through written application for consideration during the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle.  Under the Port proposal submitted in 2004, a proposed "Airport Overlay District" would would be established, based on a noise contour overlay, the purpose of which would be to provide notice to landowners and purchasers of property that there may be noise impacts related to operation of the airport and that the County did not consider normal Airport operations to be a public nuisance.  The Overlay was also intended to prevent or modify approval of land uses adjacent to the Airport that are incompatible with Airport operation.

Note: Contact the Port of Port Townsend for background information on how the DNL maps were generated or for copies of maps displaying 55 DNL and 65 DNL noise contour overlays.

Following are descriptions of the two Airport proposals, as submitted by the proponents.  Key documents associated with proposals are posted here; others can be examined at the Dept. of Community Development.

  1. MLA03-232 proposed by the Port of Port Townsend suggesting the following: (1) Proposes an Essential Public Facilities (EPF) district designation rather than an overlay for the Jefferson County Airport (JCIA) and adjacent Port-owned property; (2) proposes the establishment of an Airport Overlay based on a 55-DNL noise contour map projected through the year 2022 and adopted in 2003 with the Airport Master Plan (AMP); (3) proposes Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code (UDC) changes related to the allowed and prohibited land uses within the Airport EPF and the Airport Overlay; (4) proposes a disclosure process by which residents in the Airport Overlay would be noticed that they reside in close proximity to the JCIA and that the County does not consider noise impacts related to normal airport operations to be a public nuisance; and (5) proposes a future planning process by which limited, rural-scale light industrial uses would be allowed in the Airport EPF in order to promote its self-sustainability.

  1. MLA03-244 proposed by a citizen group, People for a Rural Quimper (PRQ), suggesting the following:  Proposed Comprehensive Plan policy changes related to the elimination of requirements for Jefferson County to adopt an Airport Overlay or Noise Overlay ordinance and to support implementation Airport Master Plan policies regarding land use at the Jefferson County International Airport.

  • MLA03-244: complete application, as submitted by PRQ on May 1, 2003.

Visit the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle webpage for information about the process for reviewing the 2004 Amendment Docket, summary results of the Amendment Cycle, and related documents and information.

DCD released its 2004 Docket Integrated Staff Report and SEPA Addendum on September 22, thereby initiating a formal comment period.  A preliminary County staff proposal for Airport goals, policies, and development regulations is presented in the Report.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the 2004 Docket on October 6.  The Planning Commission Airport Committee was tasked to continue working on the proposal in to assist the full Planning Commission in developing a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).  The Airport Committee held a meeting on October 28, where staff and the Committee jointly completed a recommendation to the full Planning Commission.

The October 28 Airport Committee and staff recommendation is for two separate Airport Overlays with distinct effects.  Maps of the two Airport Overlays, as well as the Airport Essential Public Facility (AEPF) district are posted here:

AIRPORT MAPS -- as proposed October 28, 2004

Planning Commission: The Planning Commission finalized a recommendation on the Airport at its November 3 meeting:

Staff: The County staff recommendation for goals, policies, and regulations for the Airport was substantially the same as that of the Planning Commission.  One important difference is that staff continued to recommend the original disclosure exemption for single-family residences and other development requiring a UDC Type I administrative permit.  Port of Port Townsend staff concurred with the County staff recommendation.

The Planning Commission and staff recommended against adopting the Airport policy proposal submitted by PRQ under MLA03-244.

Board of County Commissioners After the Planning Commission and County staff recommendation were presented to the BOCC, the Board held a public hearing on December 6 and took legislative action on December 13, following the recommendations of staff and the Port.  The Board adopted Ordinance No. 16-1213-04 [4 MB FILE], thereby enacting the following:

  • Adopting an Airport Essential Public Facilities (AEPF) land use district on the map of Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designations
  • Adopting maps of two Airport Overlays covering the JCIA and adjacent areas
  • Amending the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code with respect to goals, policies, and development regulations associated with the AEPF and the two Airport Overlays

The Ordinance linked above includes maps of the AEPF and Airport Overlays, as well as line-in/line-out Comprehensive Plan and UDC amendments.

For more information and access to the legal notice of adoption and other documents, visit the general webpage for the 2004 Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle.

Industrial Development

The Port of Port Townsend has expressed interest in the establishment by the County of a master planned location for urban industrial development adjacent to or within the Airport Essential Public Facility (EPF), pursuant to RCW 36.70A.367.  The master planned location would become part of the County's industrial land bank (ILB) and is intended for the siting of major industrial developments (MIDs).  No timetable has been established to date for consideration of this planning proposal.  According to RCW 36.70A.367(8)(a), the authority of Jefferson County to engage in the process of including or excluding master planned locations from an urban ILB terminates on December 31, 2007.

Consideration by the County of an urban industrial master planned location designation would involve advisory participation of the Growth Management Steering Committee (GMSC), comprised of elected officials from local entities, including the County, City of Port Townsend, and Port.

Check this space periodically for updated information.

More Information

For more information, contact Long-Range Planning.  and/or the Jefferson County International Airport.

 

     
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