Task force finally releases Federal Way air traffic report

Quiet and Healthy Skies task force presents findings for increased air traffic from SeaTac, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Federal Way residents have voiced several concerns about the increased air traffic over the city from SeaTac Airport as well as Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Mayor Jim Ferrell created a Quiet and Healthy Skies task force last year to look into the health risks of the air traffic.

The task force is comprised of community members and city staff, and their first report was released Aug. 2, nearly five months after they were originally scheduled to release it.

The 67-page report was written by local residents David Berger, William Brough, Chris Hall and Britt Ohlig as well as Ferrell’s senior police advisor Yarden Weidenfeld.

According to the report, the purpose of the task force was to help advise the city on next steps regarding the increased air traffic for factors including the environment, noise, safety and health.

The recommendations outlined in the report include:

■ Closely monitor and advocate for Federal Way’s interests in connection with the activities and recommendations of the Port Commission’s newly formed Regional Airport Capacity/SAMP Committee.

■ Support, closely monitor and advocate for Federal Way’s interests during and after the Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC)’s Central Puget Sound Regional Aviation Baseline Study, requested and funded by the FAA, which will analyze the capacity of regional airspace and airports in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties to meet future air travel and cargo demand generated by those counties.

■ Support and contribute to the soon-to-commence State of Washington study of current Sea-Tac Airport effects on local communities.

■ Actively support District 30 State Rep. Mike Pellicciotti’s plan to reintroduce an aircraft noise abatement bill amending RCW 53.54.020 and RCW 53.54.030 during the 2019 legislative session so that Federal Way is eligible for the Port’s noise abatement program.

■ Engage with the Port during the forthcoming SAMP environmental review process, the scoping for which just began on July 30.

Ferrell said he has also dealt with increased noise from air traffic overhead and understands why it’s a concern for residents.

“I have experienced the problem myself, and I know that residents in some of our neighborhoods constantly hear planes overhead and cannot even have normal conversations or open their windows on hot summer days,” he said in the report.

One task force member who lives in the Marine Hills neighborhood, Chris Hall, is concerned with apparent plans to triple air cargo and double international flights.

“It not only has late-night cargo flights that continually disturb the sleep of Federal Way residents, but it affirmatively markets its 24-hour airport access to cargo carriers,” Hall said.

According to the report, the official recommendation, along with those listed above, is for the city to continue to engage U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-District 9) and strongly support his Aviation Impacted Communities Act.

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