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Airport plans to add 18-acre buffer zone

Sat., Aug. 28, 2004

Spokane airport officials plan to buy 18 acres of land at the airport’s southeast corner, part of a long-range plan to create a buffer zone for one of its two runways.

They’ve made offers totaling about $1.28 million for the land, which lies on the north side of Interstate 90.

Airport officials expect to complete the transactions within several months. Three businesses are currently using the property: Texas Auto Sales, Shady Pines Mobile Home Park and Hoovestol Trucking.

The owners of Shady Pines have accepted the offer but the deal hasn’t concluded yet, said airport spokesman Todd Woodard. Purchase offers for the other properties are still under negotiation. Mark Williams, owner of Texas Auto Sales, at 4009 S. Geiger Blvd., said the offer of about $145,000 was “quite a bit disappointing.” Williams said he’s consulting an attorney to consider his options.

Airport officials say federal and county regulations require them to establish runway protection zones — land that’s prevented from becoming densely settled in case of an airplane crash there. The acquisition of the 18 acres of property was included in a 20-year airport master plan adopted three years ago, said Woodard. The airport has the option, once the land has been acquired, of allowing some business operations there to continue. But among the non-permitted uses are mobile home park or any type of residence, said Woodard.

That means that if the airport buys Shady Pines Mobile Home Park, the airport board will move to close it down eventually, Woodard said. He declined to say what might happen to Texas Auto Sales or Hoovestol Trucking, which are considered permitted uses in a runway protection zone.

There’s no deadline by which the land will be purchased, Woodard said.

He also declined to say whether the airport could resort to legal mechanisms to force the sales. “At this point we are proceeding on a good-faith effort,” he said.


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