Past questions reappear at Harvey Field public meeting

SNOHOMISH — The public has plenty of questions on Harvey Field's proposal to expand its airport footprint, which includes relocating Airport Way farther south.
People are asking: How would this affect the wider floodplain? Will the airport become busier? How would the road be moved? Could this plan actually be done?
More than 65 people went to Thursday evening's meeting at a conference room at Harvey Field to meet a roomful of airport consultants and two representatives from the FAA's Seattle office. An earlier afternoon meeting also drew a crowd.
The comment period runs through the end of December.
Residents who live nearby worry what might happen if the area gets fill dirt. They point out the lowland where Airport Way would be moved to is a receiving area for drainage.
The impacts to the nearby sloughs are just one concern to Mike Botts, who lives off of 111th Street in the flight path. He's also tired of the noise levels. He said he can't enjoy Sundays with the amount of air traffic.
The entire area south of Snohomish city limits is a federally designated 100-year flood plain. These strict regulations only allow elevation adjustments in no more than 2% of the airport's entire land footprint.
Mike Harnden, a tree nursery manager who's on the board of a local flood control district, wondered how the airport could even modify anything in a floodplain.
Neither airport consultants the Tribune spoke with at the meeting nor airport owner Kandace Harvey could say whether the road would have fill dirt under it if it is rerouted through the lowland area. Harvey Field would need to formally secure approval with the county to move the road at all.
An FAA Environmental Protection Specialist with the Seattle FAA office,
Ilon Logan, said the study would incorporate the public's comments. Logan said it is essentially premature to name what the top-priority focal points will be for the environmental study until public concerns are collected.
As it stands, Harvey Field's 2,670-foot paved runway is penned in by the roadway fence on one side and powerlines and a railroad on the other, shortening its usable landing space to either about 2,200 or 2,400 feet depending on which direction a pilot approaches. The asphalt's also narrower than what the FAA requires for the categorical size of planes that can use it such as the Cessna Caravan.
In the Airport Master Plan, it's sketched out that the paved runway would be repositioned further south, onto the land where cars travel Airport Way today. It would be placed where a grass runway is today parallel west to the current paved runway, reducing Harvey to one strip.
Repositioning it would solve many of the obstruction issues in both directions to meet FAA compliance, but to accomplish this, Airport Way must move. It’s one of the key pieces to being able to expand the area called a runway protection zone, which is meant to be a safety buffer area clear of obstacles in case an aircraft malfunctions at takeoff and comes back down.
No future concept maps were shown to the public at the evening meeting.
An expansion request in 2007 was met with opposition on many of the same concerns raised at last week's meetings. Emails which the Tribune has seen indicate there is renewed opposition.
The next step in the process will be to prepare and release a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) that could be ready in fall 2023. If the FAA sees it is necessary, a deeper Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be created.

Comment period
People can give comments for the study until Dec. 31.
Emailed comments can be sent to
Handwritten comments can be mailed to Julie Barrow, RS&H, 4582 South Ulster Street, Suite 1100, Denver, CO 80237.