The annexation of the Sisters Eagle Airport into the city of Sisters took another step toward becoming final with the planning commission's 5-0 vote on Thursday. The commission voted to recommend that the city council add an "Airport District" to the Sisters Development Code, and add the designation of Airport District to the city's comprehensive plan.
The annexation of the airport was approved by 85 percent of the voters in the November 2012 general election.
The public testimony by the applicant Benny Benson, and counsel and airport manager Hobbs Margaret, was consistent with what has been heard during the many public hearing on the annexation.
Residents living directly in line with one of the two airport runway take-off paths have voiced concerns from the beginning of the annexation process about the increase in aircraft noise over their homes as the airport traffic increases.
Carol Wall, president of the Starr Ranch HOA, has written and spoken at the various public forums about the residents' concerns. Wall frequently has praise for the communication and cooperation she has gotten from Benson and Hobbs Margaret.
At the meeting Wall said, "I will reiterate my appreciation for Hobbs for working with the neighbors on noise abatement issues...we do ask that as you move forward with this proposal that you include in it our...recommendations that the applicant has agreed to."
As a direct result of those discussions, the airport has developed a handout for pilots indicating the proper flight path for planes taking off to the northeast. These flight paths are designed to minimize noise. These recommendations have also been included on the airport website, and will be included in state information packets and website information that are specific to Sisters Eagle Airport.
Several other Starr Ranch residents spoke to their concerns about noise. Two local residents spoke in favor of the airport.
The overall tone of the testimony was summarized best by planning commissioner Doug Roberts, who also lives directly under the northeast flight path. Roberts said, "... I think this airport is going to be a wonderful thing for this city, provided that the people who run the airport are happy to work with those of us that are afflicted by these very things that we are talking about tonight, at least within reason."
The planning commission's recommendations will be discussed and voted on at the October 10 city council meeting. There will be a public hearing before the vote. Several of the Starr Ranch residents indicated that they would again voice their concerns.