Paine Field debate could land in M’ville

MARYSVILLE — City officials may be about to weigh in on whether or not commercial passenger planes should be allowed to take flight at Paine Field in neighboring Everett.

Mayor Dennis Kendall said he will ask City Council to consider a resolution supporting the idea, though he emphasized Council members will have the final decision.

“From my point of view, I don’t travel much anymore, but five years ago I’d of loved to have had this,” Kendall said.

There are various forces pushing for commercial passenger flights at the county-owned airport used by Boeing for test flights and other purposes.

In June, the Marysville Council passed a resolution asking the Snohomish County Council to take action ensuring the future of the airport and asking them at least to be open to the question of passenger service at the airport.

The issue has been percolating since at least May when discount airline Allegiant Air approached the county about flights to Las Vegas. On Sept. 22, a non-profit group calling itself Fly Paine Field released results of an on-line survey they say shows widespread support for passenger flights at Paine.

Group co-chair Greg Tisdel said 71 percent of the nearly 900 respondents favored commercial passenger flights at the airport.

Tisdel said the survey was promoted and e-mailed by various supporters and local chambers of commerce, including the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce.

The biggest frustration for travelers is not knowing how long it will take to get to Sea-Tac, said Fly Paine’ second co-chair, Todd Brunner. “It can take anywhere from an hour to more than two hours … You just never know,” Brunner said.

Looking through the printed comments that resulted from the survey, most opponents fear added noise and traffic congestion around Paine. Others expressed just the opposite opinion.

“I know people have worried about noise and how it’ll affect their home values, but considering Paine is already used for numerous flights including Boeing wide-body flights, a handful of short-haul commercial flights would have minimal, if any, impact,” wrote one respondent.

Tisdel talked about eventually seeing some 10 flights a day leaving Paine for spots such as Las Vegas, Portland or Spokane. While Tisdel said he is looking for support from Marysville, he reported he has the backing of the Tulalip Tribes.

In his comments, Kendall talked about a study sponsored by the city of Everett. Released in July, the study claimed, among other things, that commercial flights would have minimal impact. In early September, Everett City Council voted unanimously to support commercial flights at Paine.

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