Local organizations, including the Charbonneau Country Club homeowners association, are lobbying the Oregon Department of Aviation to reserve spots for them on a committee that will oversee the upcoming Aurora State Airport master planning process.
Friends of French Prairie, an organization focused on farmland preservation, and the Aurora-Butteville-Barlow Community Planning Organization have joined CCC in sending letters to ODA Director Betty Stansbury asking for inclusion on the Planning Advisory Committee for the formulation of the master plan update. The committee will advise the planning effort but doesn't have decision-making power.
The department is undergoing the effort after the Federal Aviation Administration stipulated that it needed to do so to receive federal grants. The process will include assessing current and future facility needs.
Last week the city of Wilsonville, Rep. Courtney Neron, D-Wilsonville, and Rep. Susan McLain, D-Hillsboro, raised concerns that the proposed committee wouldn't have representation from community groups. The committee is also slated to have a higher percentage of business-interest representatives than the committee that advised the 2012 master plan, which has faced legal challenges from the city of Wilsonville, Aurora and others for the past two years. Stansbury told the Spokesman last week she was open to tweaking committee representation but hadn't decided yet.
Charbonneau has a strong contingent of folks who have aired concerns about noise and pollution from the airport and vehemently disagree with plans for expansion, especially a proposed and long-disputed runway extension project. The CCC also said they're concerned about property values, traffic and road construction.
"The greatest number of people, approximately 3,000 residents (1,627 residences), live in our well-planned and popular community less than 9,000 feet from the north end of the Aurora Airport runway. Take-offs and landings are increasingly disruptive to the quality of life in our community, local roads are increasingly congested and concerns about air and water pollution are increasing among area residents," CCC homeowners association president Gary Newbore wrote in a letter. "For these facts alone, Charbonneau's strong voice should be heard regarding proposed changes that impact the quality of their lives, health or property values, and the effect on our 13 neighborhood homeowners associations. We will be the ones who will live with the consequences of the decisions made about the future of the Aurora State Airport and the use of federal taxpayer funds to make changes at this airport."
As currently proposed, the cities of Wilsonville, Canby and Aurora are included in the committee along with Clackamas and Marion counties, seven businesses, the business-affiliated Aurora Airport Improvement Association and Positive Aurora Airport Management groups, the Wilsonville Area Chamber of Commerce, four state agencies and the North Marion School Board.
Along with CCC, McLain and Neron also wanted Deer Creek Estates (a mobile home park in Aurora) to be involved in the process.
"While we appreciate that the department has accounted for business and economic interests with nine representatives, we believe the nearby communities of Charbonneau and Deer Creek Estates, community planning organizations (CPOs), conservation and land-use groups, seismic safety, wildfire and emergency management experts need to be included in the Public Advisory Committee (PAC) representation, as well," Neron and McLain wrote in a letter to Stansbury. "We note their absence in the current PAC composition and hope you will consider adding their diverse perspectives to the process."
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