Jefferson County Pilots Association

Port of Port Townsend Airport Briefing - April 6, 2013

JCPA President Bill Putney called the meeting to order at 10:02 AM and welcomed everyone.

The JCPA Treasurer's report was read and accepted by those in attendance. The total beginning and ending balance in all accounts was $3,740.44. The were no income or expenses reported.

Presenting on behalf of the Port was Larry Crockett and Jim Pivarnik. Commissioner Leif Erickson was also in attendance in the audience.

Larry reported that a survey of the runway found it to be at 87%. There are some cracks and weeds growing up in places. The FAA wanted the runway to be restructured as a crowned surface. The Port has convinced the FAA to keep the shed surface as a cost-saving measure since a crowned surface would require new infrastructure along one side of the runway that currently does not exist.

The runway is tentatively scheduled to be closed for up to 10 days in August at which time the cracks will be repaired and a "High quality" slurry seal will be applied. The FAA will pay 90% of the cost and the remainder will come from Port funds. Larry asked that any maintenance issues found at the airport (like cracking pavement) be reported to the Port promptly. This will keep the quality of airport infrastructure up at a lower cost. 

Larry said that the possibility of opening a taxiway or grass area as a temporary runway was up to the FAA. Larry said he would make inquires but the FAA has declined to allow that here in the past.

Publishing of the GPS approach has been moved back to August. There are three trees off the airport that intrude into the approach's airspace which need to be topped or removed. The Port is looking at changes to the approach lighting that may mitigate some of the problem. They will also be working with the tree owners to see what can be done about topping or removing the trees to increase safety. When the approach lighting issues are resolved the approach may be approved for day/night. As currently drafted it will only be available during daylight hours.

An AWOS III-P was studied by the Port's consultants for the airport. The report indicated that $300,000 would need to be budgeted for this project. Larry felt that it was very unlikely that the FAA would fund this amount under it's current fiscal constraints. Larry also said that there seemed to be a split within the pilot community about the need for an AWOS and without pilot support it would be hard to justify the Port's funding it's share or pushing the FAA to fund the AWOS as opposed to some other needed infrastructure.

The Port is seeking grant money to build in the infrastructure for the industrial property on the South side of the airport. There have been several inquiries from prospective tenants but without the road, water, sewer and electrical in place, the Port can not entertain new tenants there. Any money generated by leases on that property is earmarked for financial support of the airport.

The State of Washington is pushing the Port to collect a 1.8% Business and Occupational tax from all Port tenants including hangar tenants. The Port is trying to get clarification from the State since most of the hangars are occupied by individuals with no commercial interest. It would seem that a "Business" tax is inappropriate but the State seems at this point to be insistent about collecting this revenue.

The Port is working on a 20-year Master Plan for the airport. They want to have an advisory committee of five people from the airport who will commit to at least two meetings to help draft and review parts of the plan. Anyone who wishes to serve on the committee please email Bill Putney

There was a sidebar discussion about the future of the airport and the need to do some sort of public consciousness raising efforts as well as some encouraging younger peoples' participation in aviation. An EAA chapter, the restart of Airport Days and a business roundtable gathering at the airport were discussed as possible ways to accomplish this.

The Port received a complaint from someone in town about a low flying aircraft. The complainant supplied the Port and the FAA with the registration number of the aircraft. The pilot debriefed. He was taking photo's of his home. Larry asks that we all make an effort to fly courteously.

At a Port meeting, three weeks ago on the topic of equalizing hangar lease rates, the Port made a commitment to hold a follow up meeting with those concerned. The Port has given information the to Port Commissioners and will schedule the follow up meeting as soon as the Commission has agreed to a course of action.

The meeting was opened to questions from the floor.

There was a question about the Port's responsiveness to issues brought up by people at the airport. Larry asked that people be more persistent when reporting issues.

An explanation of the rational behind building a new Port Headquarters was asked for. Larry responded that the new building is needed to provide additional space. A good deal of space is needed to maintain the Ports required records. The new building will be paid for by leasing the existing building to the Fish and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Customs. This will bring in about $11,000 a month. At that rate the new building would be paid for in 10 years at no additional cost to the tax payers or Port tenants.

A question was raised about the airport's current financial footing. Larry offered Port financial reports which indicate that the airport operates at about a $22,000 deficit exclusive of depreciation expense. A discussion of how the depreciation expense is arrived at followed.

A concern was raised about access to the airport from Highway 19 and the difficulty of turning left onto Airport Rd. from the South. A left turn lane was proposed and Larry responded that it's been considered by WSDOT but that since there have been no reported accidents at that intersection there is no support to change the intersection. A follow-on suggestion was made that access could be provided off of Highway 20. Larry responded that the FAA feels strongly that if access is granted from that side of the airport that card access needs to be in place. The Port estimates a cost of $7,000 for just the card access gate. There are no current plans to include access from Highway 20.

Adding 200 feet to the approach end of runway 9 was discussed. This would bring the airport up to the minimum standard for consideration of an IFR approach with vertical guidance. This would be a precision approach and would allow lower minimums. Larry responded that even though 200 feet could be safely added that principally because of wetland mitigation expenses the extension would cost about 2.5 million dollars. That money does not exist in the Port's budgets.

The meeting was closed at 12:00.