Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

JLUS committee talks West Plains mitigation measures


The Fairchild Air Force Base Joint Land Use Study Coordinating Committee held a meeting, May 16, to discuss the avoidance and mitigation measures for a grant study area.

The Washington State Department of Commerce awarded a grant to Spokane for up to $350,000 to pursue environmental pre-permitting strategies for the area back in April.

The area associated with the study, which is managed by the Spokane International Airport, is located between the airport and Fairchild Air Force Base. The area is ideal for both industrial and manufacturing developments.

As part of the work completed under the grant study, the committee has reviewed manufacturing development scenarios for compatibility with Fairchild’s current and future missions. They also discussed potential compatibility issues with future developments adjacent to Fairchild. Spokane city planner Kathleen Weinand presented a report of several proposed guidelines for the committee to work from to address the compatibility issues.

Some involved having Fairchild — through the JLUS Coordinating Committee — be consulted on all new developments in the area. They would review major manufacturing development scenarios and identify compatibility issues for further evaluation. The draft also recommended involving Fairchild personnel in all plan review procedures. Fairchild would also be involved with airport planning in an advisory capacity.

In regards to electromagnetic interference from outside sources, Weinand explained that Fairchild Encroachment Management team is working to identify which frequencies, what could cause the interference and at what distances. Other suggested measures include:

• Maintaining all existing easements, as well as establishing new easements and covenants when airport land is released.

• Initiate an analysis to determine if the current Accident Potential Zones (APZ) adequately address safety and ensure compatibility.

• Adjust APZs per the Department of Defense (DOD) guidance to reflect the specific impacts and needs of Fairchild’s missions.

• Uses on airport property must be consistent with the Airport Master Plan rather than comply with local zoning, however the airport shall use Fairchild Military Influence overlay zoning restrictions to guide decisions on entering lease within the Military Influence Areas.

• Design new stormwater management facilities to fit the Washington State Department of Transportation Aviation Stormwater Design Manual and the DOD Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard program to prevent the attraction of wildlife that could potentially interrupt flight missions.

• Ensure traffic impacts of new development are addressed so that the safety efficiency of the West Plains’ transportation systems are not affected or compromised.

• Avoid extension of infrastructure capacity to an area adjacent to Fairchild and currently zoned rural traditional that is not compatible with base operations.

• Establish a “Dark Sky Ordinance” with specific illumination standards for outdoor spaces.

• New developments should not exceed a density of 150 persons per acre gross or 180 persons per acre net.

• New developments will also need to comply with the requirements of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Regulation Title 14 Part 77 to avoid the obstruction of navigable airspace.

Weinand said the planning staff expects the committee changes to the draft before June 30.

“Once the report is final and approved by the committee, the mitigation and avoidance measures will be their recommendations,” Weinand said.

Al Stover can be reached at


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