City Manager’s Report for
week ending Sept. 13, 2019

YSEALI Professional Fellow Riana Ekawati.  Normandy Park will be hosting a young environmental professional from Indonesia.  ICMA facilitates international partnerships, focused on climate adaptation and sustainability, for young professionals from Southeast Asia.  With funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), ICMA offers the Professional Fellows Program–an opportunity for young professionals from Southeast Asia to learn about sustainable development and the environment through a five-week fellowship. Riana Ekawati, our future YEASI Fellow, the eldest daughter of her family, was born in Majalengka, Indonesia, 22 June 1988.  Since childhood she has wanted to be an environmental expert.  She graduated from Bogor Agricultural University with a major in Resources and Environmental Economics. Currently, she’s an employee of APRIL, one of the biggest pulp and paper operations in Indonesia.  She is part of a company sustainability team with a focus on fire prevention and community engagement.  Riana will be arriving October 19th and will head back home on November 16th.  During her stay, she plans on learning more about community engagement as it relates to fire prevention and disaster risk management and mitigation.  The city has no budget commitment for this guest, whose visit is supported by the International City County Management Association, but Finance Director Jennifer Ferrer-Santa Ines has volunteered for a month-long house guest!

City Council StART Resolution. At the previous regular Council Meeting in August, the Normandy Park City Council requested that I craft a resolution to suspend participation in StART (Sea-Tac Airport Advisory Roundtable), an action previously taken by Burien, Des Moines and Federal Way.  Some neighboring cities suspended participation in StART in response to an abrupt decision by the Port of Seattle to begin $10m of design work, with 15%-30% design completion, on various projects related to the eventual expansion of airport operations.  At Tuesday’s Normandy Park City Council Meeting, three Normandy Park citizens spoke in support of the suspension resolution, as did 10 citizens of Des Moines, Burien and Federal Way.  The City Council split 3-3 on the resolution and it did not pass.  Consequently, the City of Normandy Park is still a participant in StART and all roundtable representatives from Normandy Park will continue participating on noise and policy work groups, as well as on the larger StART advisory body.

In StaRT’s first year, a number of initiatives and programs have emerged, mostly through noise and policy work subgroups of StART.  In a current publication this week, below, the Port commented on some those accomplishments that are initiated.  In particular, currently, a federal advocacy letter from the policy working group is prepared for signature by all local mayors.  The cities under suspension need to sign that letter soon; I’m a little unclear whether that will be possible.

All jurisdictions engaged in StART – Tukwila, SeaTac, Burien, Normandy Park, Des Moines and Federal Way – were recently aggrieved that five Port projects were not adequately, timely or politely vetted by the Port Commissioners and Port staff prior to contracting for early design (contracts initiated prior to completion of environmental review, which is not illegal, but was an abrupt surprise).  Also, putting such items on a consent agenda was less than transparent (kind of callous).   Nevertheless, in my view there is merit in doing whatever all local stakeholders can do to reduce negative environmental consequences to airport operations.  Clearly, no jurisdiction can achieve much without mutual dialogue, trust and transparency.

The Port has formally apologized in numerous venues for its callous action.  The burden now falls on Burien, Des Moines and Federal Way to articulate what process improvements the city councils of these jurisdictions will identify to continue StART dialogue with Port Commissioners, Port staff, tower personnel, FAA officials, airline representatives and each other.  Currently, StART is the only process available to provide regular access to all these participants.

So far, I’ve heard only two potential changes that might be made to the StART process to improve trust and transparency: 1) video the meetings for public viewing and 2) let elected officials attend the meetings (they already can do so).  If elected officials actually participate in StART meetings, at the table rather than in public comment, then there is little reason for the long-standing Highline Forum that includes elected officials and education officials, as well as cities.  The airport is always either the primary subject or the elephant-in-the-room at Highline Forum meetings.

Late Night Noise Reduction Programs Take Effect

Runway Use Agreement and Late Night Noise Limitation Underway

SEATTLE – The Port of Seattle has secured a revised Runway Use Agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and began implementation of a new Late Night Noise Limitation Program for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Both are outcomes of collaboration within the Sea-Tac Airport Stakeholder Advisory Round Table (StART), an advisory round table focused on identifying practical solutions to reducing aircraft noise in neighboring communities.

The objective of the revised Runway Use Agreement, which went into effect on September 4, is to minimize use of the Third Runway (the western-most runway, 16R/34L) during the late-night hours of midnight to 5 a.m. This is intended to lessen aircraft noise in the communities adjacent to the Third Runway and under its flight path.

The Late Night Noise Limitation Program is a new, voluntary Port of Seattle initiative designed to reduce late night aircraft noise at Sea-Tac Airport by encouraging airlines to fly during less noise sensitive hours or to transition to quieter aircraft. The program focuses on the same late-night hours of midnight to 5 a.m. The program was developed to increase air carrier awareness of the impact of aircraft noise on local communities.

“These recommendations came about because of the commitment of individuals who spent many long hours working with the Port, FAA, air carriers, and local community leaders. We appreciate the collaborative dialogue and are eager to continue pursuing these shared strategies to lessen the aircraft impacts on surrounding communities,” said Lance Lyttle, Aviation Managing Director.

The Late Night Noise Limitation Program captures noise levels for any take-offs and landings between midnight and 5 a.m. using four close-in airport noise monitors. The program was developed to increase airline awareness of aircraft noise in local communities. Monitoring began on July 1 and the Port will report out any exceedances of noise thresholds to the public and air carriers on a quarterly basis beginning in October. Additionally, a penalty score will be assigned to the airline as part of the Port’s Fly Quiet Program if an operation exceeds an established noise threshold.

Making noise commenting easier

The Port also recently launched the Aircraft Noise Comment app to provide a one-stop option for airport neighbors to register noise concerns, offer comments, and ask for more information on topics such as sound insulation. You can download the app straight from the Port’s website. After using the app the first time, user information is saved and does not need to be re-entered. In addition, the date and time will be automatically updated with each use.

StART Initiative updates

The Port of Seattle Commission has been more proactive than at any point in the organization’s history in efforts to help the local airport communities, including the work of StART which began in February of 2018. StART, in addition to the implementation of the revised Runway Use Plan and the Late Night Noise Limitation Program, is working on a number of potential efforts to reduce aviation-related noise and will continue to explore additional opportunities identified by StART’s membership including:

  • Glide Slope Analysis – The Port has agreed to the raising of Runway 34R’s glideslope from 2.75 degrees to either 3.0 or 3.1 degrees which could reduce aircraft approach noise for communities south of Sea-Tac Airport. The project is enabled by the Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP) near-term projects and requires FAA approval.
  • Airfield Noise Assessment – This effort will investigate and determine sources of airfield noise, including the use of reverse thrust by aircraft, and potential ways to minimize their impact. The Port just hired a noise consultant to conduct the assessment, with work expected to begin this fall.
  • Noise Abatement Departure Profiles – This effort will analyze a steeper aircraft departure procedure and the potential benefits to residents under the flight-paths.  The Port has hired a noise consultant to conduct the analysis. The analysis is expected to take a couple of months and when complete – will include proposed next steps.
  • StART is also working to develop and implement a shared federal advocacy agenda to better engage the FAA and Members of Congress in our shared goals around reducing aviation-related noise in local communities

Expanding current Port programs

The Port is committed to building programs that benefit our closest neighbors through matching grants, economic development and job creation, workforce development, environmental practices, and safety, including:

  • The South King County Fund will make investments of up to $10 million over the next five years in programs that may include addressing airport noise and other projects that support increased environmental health and sustainability.
  • Airport Community Ecology Fund (ACE) – supports environmental projects and programs in the cities of SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines with more than $240,000 in grants since 2017.
  • Economic Development Partnership Program – funds local initiatives across King County with more than $1.8 million in awards since 2016.
  • Spotlight – reserves advertising locations at Sea-Tac Airport for promoting local cities and King County destinations.
  • Airport Career Awareness Events – offer a series of career-oriented educational experiences for local high school students.

About Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Operated by the Port of Seattle, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA, KSEA) is ranked as the 8th busiest U.S. airport, serving 49.8 million passengers and more than 432,315 metric tons of air cargo in 2018. With a regional economic impact of more than $22.5 billion in business revenue, Sea-Tac generates more than 151,400 jobs (87,300 direct jobs), representing over $3.6 billion in direct earnings and more than $442 million in state and local taxes. Thirty-two airlines serve 91 non-stop domestic and 29 international destinations.

September 12, 2019
Contact: Perry Cooper | Sea-Tac Airport
(206) 787-4923 | [email protected]

Mark E. Hoppen, City Manager
City of Normandy Park
801 SW 174th Street
Normandy Park, WA  98166
(206) 248-8246 (Direct Phone)