The proposed project and a reasonable range of alternatives will be compared against the purpose and need. Alternatives considered may have off-airport impacts that need to be reviewed under the appropriate special purpose laws, such as those regulating wetlands, endangered species, and social impacts. This EA reviews the No-Action and Preferred Alternatives in the context of these special purpose laws and other environmental elements.
Why keep the Airport open?
The airport provides an important economic and recreational resource for the community. With the closure of several other general aviation airports in Clark County, most recently Evergreen, additional demand is placed on existing resources. There have been several failed attempts to site a new airport in Clark County. The existing airport is in a good location, and has the appropriate zoning to continue in operation. In addition, Grove Field is the only Airport in the Metro area along the Columbia River corridor that is above the flood plain. The Airport would provide a vital emergency transportation link during a major flood that could close Troutdale, Portland International, Pearson and Scappoose Airports.
What is the economic impact of the Grove Field Airport?
WSDOT conducted a study to identify and examine aviation activities at the public use airports in Washington that created economic impacts. Click here to view the report
Why did the Port adopt the Airport Layout Plan?
In order for the Airport to receive funding from the Washington State Department of Transportation- Aviation Division (WSDOT-Aviation) or the FAA, it must have a current master plan, known as an Airport Layout Plan (ALP). The ALP includes information on existing and forecasted Airport use, design deficiencies, and recommendations for improvements to the airport.
How safe is Grove Field now? What difference will implementing the ALP make?
Grove Field has operated for many years without safety related issues; however, it does have several FAA design/safety related deficiencies that need to be corrected. These deficiencies are related to the performance factors of aircraft that currently use the airport (A-I small and B-I small). The deficiencies include runway length and width, separation between the runway and north parallel taxiway, and penetrations of the object free area by Delp Road and trees/vegetation. Implementation of the ALP will help correct these deficiencies.
Why does the runway need to be extended?
Because the runway is constrained by two roads, there is no runway safety area. As such, an operational system called "displaced thresholds" is in place. This means that parts of the runway are not usable for take-off or landing, and become de facto safety areas. This is not an optimum safety scenario, so extension of the runway, in order to provide the safety areas, is being explored. Similarly, separation between the runway and taxiway is less than desirable, so relocation of the runway (in order to avoid impacting the homes along the taxiway) is being examined. The No Action alternative will also be reviewed as part of the EA; however, allowing the existing deficiencies to continue might jeopardize the ability of the Airport to receive outside funding.
The FAA performance standards for B-I aircraft include runway design standards of approximately 3,000 feet as desirable. In addition, there needs to be 240 feet of flat, compact ground beyond each runway end, known as the Runway Safety Area (RSA). Extension of the runway to the west will allow 240 feet at the east end to become the Runway Safety Area, while providing an additional 350 feet of usable runway and 240 feet of RSA on the west end. This will also improve the overall safety for aircraft landing and taking off from the airport and keep the aircraft further away from the residences and roadways.
Is implementing the ALP going to bring more planes to Grove Field? Will it mean larger aircraft landing at Grove Field? Will it mean large planes based at Grove Field?
The airport is currently designed around aircraft classified as A-I small. These are aircraft with approach speeds less than 91 knots, wingspans up to 49 feet, and maximum certificated take off weights up to 12,500 pounds. Typical aircraft in the classification are the Beach Baron and Bonanza, Cessna 150 and 172 and Piper Archer and Seneca. The improvement will support aircraft of the same size, but with approach speeds up to 121 knots, known as B-I small aircraft, typical aircraft in this classification are the Beach King Air, Cessna 402 and 421 and Piper Navajo and Cheyenne, these aircraft also have wingspans up to 49 feet. The A-1 small and B-1 small classifications are the two smallest categories within the FAA system of 16 design categories.
Forecasts for airport growth include an increase in based aircraft from 83 (2005) to 128 (2025) and an increase in operations from 7,500 (20 daily take-offs or landings) to roughly 11,700 (30 daily take-offs or landings) over the same timeframe. The methodology used for forecasting the growth rate was the Clark County Population growth rate of approximately 2.1% annually. These increases would likely happen regardless of whether the improvements are constructed.
The planes currently based and forecasted to be based at Grove Field are classified as small aircraft; they have a gross weight of less than 12,500 pounds.
Will implementation of the ALP increase noise generated by aircraft at Grove Field?
Over time, regardless of whether improvements are built, more aircraft will be based and operations will occur at Grove Field. By extending the runway to the west, operations will shift slightly west, reducing noise at the east end of the runway slightly. Refer to the attached informational noise summary document that was prepared by the Airplane Operators and Pilots Association of America. here.
How much will the project cost? Who pays?
The Environmental Assessment currently underway is $409,137.00 of which the FAA has given a grant to the Port for 95% of the cost; WSDOT Aeronautics is contributing 2.5% and the Port 2.5%. The construction costs for the improvements to the Runway, Taxiway and Delp Road based on estimates in the ALP are approximately $9.4 million. The FAA will contribute approximately 95%, the State will contribute approximately 2.5%, and the Port is responsible for the remaining 2.5% ($236,242.00). A portion of the Port’s match has already been expended with an FAA-eligible property purchase several years ago.
How will implementing the ALP benefit the community? Quality of Life?
The project will insure that the Port continues to support, maintain and operate a safe Airport for the community to use for recreation, business and emergency (life flight) purposes. Individuals relocating to new areas look at many factors: jobs, schools, recreation, health and safety just to name a few. The Camas-Washougal area has a wealth of these facilities including the airport to attract people to the community. (There are an estimated 4,000 pilots in Clark County using regional airports).
Will zoning change or be affected?
All airport property is currently zoned for airport use. No changes are anticipated or proposed. As areas near the airport are brought into the Camas Urban Growth Area, zoning changes may be made by the City or Clark County, but would not be associated with the airport.
Will property values be negatively affected with implementation of the ALP? Will my property value go down as a result of airport improvements?
The Port has checked property values/sales in the areas surrounding the Airport over the past few years and has seen no evidence of eroding property values related to airports.
What is meant by "condominiums" at the Airport?
Many types of property can be owned through a condominium arrangement, including aircraft hangars. No residential condominiums are proposed at the airport. Condominium hangars are being built by Immelman Hangars on Port-owned land adjacent to the Airport, wherein the underlying land is owned by the Port, but individual hangars are privately owned through a condominium (legal term) association. High density residential use is a non-compatible land use in Airport zoning.
What is an Environmental Assessment and why are we doing it?
An Environmental Assessment is a federally prescribed process for analyzing the potential impacts of an airport improvement project on the surrounding natural and built environment. The end result is a document and an environmental finding, issued by the FAA, disclosing the impacts and agreed-to mitigation measures for the proposed project. The document is being prepared as the next step toward implementing the proposed improvements at the airport.