BURLINGTON, Wash. — Skagit Regional Airport’s future seems reassured with a new resolution from the Port of Skagit Board of Commissioners reaffirming the port’s commitment to maintaining the airport as “a safe and vital element of Skagit County’s transportation infrastructure.”
Specifically, the commissioners endorsed airport protection measures, expressed continued support for an urban growth area surrounding the airport on Bayview Ridge and encouraged Skagit County to consider areas of the Bayview Ridge Urban Growth Area for additional industrial development.
In the resolution, the commission endorsed the expanded safety zone dimensions recommended by the Washington State Department of Transportation in its 2011 Airports and Compatible Land Use Guidebook and urged Skagit County to adopt the new safety overlay dimensions.
The commission also suggested that the county undertake a review of land use within the Bayview Ridge UGA and, where deemed appropriate, adopt additional industrial land use designations for property between the airport and existing urban density residential development on the ridge.
“Property owners and Skagit County have spent 17 years trying to agree on development regulations that would allow urban level development on Bayview Ridge,” said Steven Omdal, president of the port commission. “It’s time to look forward and explore other options. We need to protect the airport, ensure public safety and provide for future industrial jobs without encroaching on our valuable Skagit Valley farmland.”
Omdal, along with fellow Port Commissioners Kevin Ware and Bill Shuler, committed to work with Skagit County and the municipal governments in the county on efforts to provide sufficient industrial land for the future.
WSDOT classifies Skagit Regional Airport as a “Regional Service Airport,” which is defined as serving the general aviation needs of multiple communities, accommodating high aviation activity levels, including business jets and air cargo aircraft. The 2012 Aviation Economic Impact Study completed by WSDOT found that Skagit Regional Airport supports more than 500 aviation-related jobs and generates an estimated $86 million annually in regional economic output. The airport is designated as an “Essential Public Facility” pursuant to the Washington Growth Management Act in the Skagit County Comprehensive Plan.