Safety and funding issues emerge as top priorities for City CouncilSEASIDE - City councilors renewed their commitment to the Seaside Municipal Airport Monday after discussing a plan to beef up safety, increase funding and enhance the airport layout.

These were the three main points of a draft master plan update presented by the Seaside Airport Advisory Committee to the council during a joint work session.

"We are behind the airport. We want an airport," Mayor Don Larson said. "You guys have just done a phenomenal job."

No action was taken on the plan, which will be sent for review to city staff.

Committee chairman Jason Ketcheson presented the draft plan and gave councilors a chance to comment and ask questions. The plan looks to the future with a variety of safety and improvement upgrades recommended.

"It is the committee's conclusion that a more vibrant and robust facility is achievable, and in the interest of the city to pursue. The following recommendations are presented with that vision in mind," the first page of the plan said.

To increase the airport's safety, the committee recommends installing low overflight signs on the taxiway and a fire hydrant. A review of airport zoning, easements, runway safety and object-free areas is also recommended.

One of the problems the airport has had is that it does not produce any revenue. A way to address that would be to build an advertising reader board that provides information about the city. Local businesses would purchase space on the board to advertise their services.

Other funding recommendations include pursuing Federal Aviation Administration funding by submitting a 10-year project list to the FAA. The FAA provides on-going grant funding to airports through its Airport Improvement Program. If the program continues to receive Congressional funding, Seaside may be eligible to receive up to $150,000, with a 5 percent city match. To remain on the eligibility list for AIP funding, the FAA must be notified of intended projects.

The committee identified a 10-year list of projects that would improve the airport, including a new rotating beacon, security fencing, aircraft tie-downs, widening the runway and runway lighting upgrades.

Also to increase funding, the committee will continue to work on airport operating documents including lease and fee schedules.

The committee also made recommendations about the airport's layout, to optimize space for aircraft, parking, hangars and associated buildings. They include a new survey of the airport to properly locate aircraft apron (the portion of the airport that is not the runway) property corners, relocation of the Pacific Power overhead lines and reconfiguration of the apron.

There was some discussion about moving the city's dump station from it's location by the Chamber of Commerce to the south-western corner of the airport. Airport committee members said that the move would be a hindrance for future development plans at the airport, but Larson said that it needed to get on the table and that the plan has been in the works since before the airport committee was formed. Further discussion about the dump station was postponed for a later date.

"I thought the discussion was really good," Ketcheson said. "I really enjoy the way this council gives guided, coaching feedback, especially for a committee like us who are pretty new to how city government works."

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