Pierce County residents are invited to learn about the preferred development alternative for Tacoma Narrows Airport at an open house June 11 in Gig Harbor.
This is the fifth public meeting that has been held as part of an extensive airport master plan update process that began in January 2013, and included input from the public and representatives from the aviation community, businesses, local and state government, and more.
Participants evaluated the current state of the airport as well as potential alternatives to determine how best to meet the community’s long-term development needs. Topics have included the airport’s inventory, aviation forecasts on growth expected in the next 20 years, facility requirements and development alternatives.
The Airport Layout Plan has been updated to show both existing facilities and recommended development for the future. Several booths describing the recommended Airport Layout Plan will be set up at the open house, which runs from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of South Puget Sound Milgard Family HOPE Center Meeting Room, 8502 Skansie Ave.
“This new blueprint for the airport combines insights and feedback from a variety of stakeholders,” said Deb Wallace, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator. “This open house is an opportunity for the community to learn how this vision will meet the current and future needs of the airport and the community.”
While an extension of the runway’s length is not justified at this time based on current airport traffic demands, the Airport Layout Plan includes a runway protection area that protects the airspace from intrusions such as cell towers and tall buildings in the event that an extension of the runway’s length is justified in the future.
“By including the runway protection area in the plan, we are making it possible for the issue to be revisited by future generations,” Wallace said. “If an extension is considered in the future, a number of requirements would have to be addressed, including an amendment to the Gig Harbor Peninsula Community Plan, which currently states that the community does not support an extension.”
The recommended Airport Layout Plan will be presented to Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy and the Pierce County Council this summer, and then sent to the Federal Aviation Administration by early fall.
This will be the first master plan update since Pierce County purchased the airport from the City of Tacoma in 2008. The last master plan update was completed in 2003. A master plan update planning period is 10 years, with an outlook to 20 years.
Information about the update can be found at www.piercecountywa.org/tacomanarrows.
About Tacoma Narrows Airport
Tacoma Narrows Airport is a regional airport that is used for small business jet travel and general aviation. The airport serves businesses, recreational flying, flight instruction, medical services, the media, the military, and law enforcement. There are approximately 60,000 operations at the airport each year.
Pierce County also owns Pierce County Airport-Thun Field in Puyallup.
Deb Wallace, Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator
Valerie Thorsen, Public Works and Utilities aviation and ferry planner