Mukilteo residents want assurances there will be no commercial flights at Paine Field. Mayor Don Doran and about 40 others presented the...

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Mukilteo residents want assurances there will be no commercial flights at Paine Field.

Mayor Don Doran and about 40 others presented the Snohomish County Council last week with a proposed agreement that would bind the county, which operates the airport, from creating a commercial hub there.

The request for an agreement came on the heels of the county executive’s decision to convene a commission that will study potential uses for Paine Field. Beginning Nov. 1, the panel will review the late-1970s Mediated Review Determination (MRD), which specifies allowed uses.

Since then, panels including the Puget Sound Regional Council have mostly recommended against commercial airliners at Paine Field.

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The MRD calls for light aircraft to be Paine Field’s primary users, while cargo aviation, charter passenger service, large crew-training operations and military aviation were discouraged from growing beyond 1978 levels, according to the airport.

The MRD calls for expansion of aircraft-related industries, corporate aviation, air taxis and commuter service.

Different interpretations have led some people to believe there may be room for larger-scale commercial flights at Paine Field.

Paine Field meeting


The special commission that will review potential uses for Paine Field will meet at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in the third-floor conference room of the west county administration building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Everett. The meeting is open to the public.

County Executive Aaron Reardon said in May that he supports the main message of the MRD. But he formed the review panel to clear up any misinterpretations.

Co-chaired by Doran and Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, the committee will recommend future uses at the airport.

Not quite content, Mukilteo and a grass-roots group, Save Our Communities, which also opposes commercial flights at the airfield, are pushing for the pact with the county.

Under the agreement, which has been approved by the Mukilteo City Council, commercial flights would be prohibited. The use of the airfield for cargo planes would be possible, but only after completion of a mitigation deal covering Mukilteo and other nearby areas.

“We want the County Council to seal the deal,” Doran said.

The County Council will consider the agreement, council Chairman Gary Nelson said, but not before the MRD panel begins meeting.

Paine Field, constructed in 1936, was used as an Army air base during World War II and as an Air Force fighter base during the first part of the Cold War. In 1966, Boeing started using the field to assemble and test its 747 jet and still has a large plant there.

Alaska Airlines flew out of Paine Field in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and San Juan Airlines flew small planes from the airport for about two years in the late 1980s.

Christopher Schwarzen: 425-783-0577 or cschwarzen@seattletimes.com