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Aviation Land Use Compatibility Program

Aviation is a critical link to the local, state and national transportation system. It provides for the efficient movement of people, goods and services across municipal, state and international boundaries. However, one of the main challenges facing aviation today is the encroachment of incompatible land use development near and around airports. To meet this challenge, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Aviation Division has developed the Airport Land Use Compatibility Program.

Three Hazards - Wildlife Hazard, Height Hazard, Residential Encroachment

In 1996, Washington State passed land use legislation (RCW 36.70A.510, RCW 36.70.547). Under this provision of the Growth Management Act (GMA), all towns, cities and counties are required to discourage encroachment of incompatible development adjacent to public use airports through adoption of comprehensive plan policies and development regulations. GMA also identifies airports as essential public facilities. WSDOT Aviation provides a technical assistance program to help communities meet the requirements of the law. The objectives of the program are to:

  • Ensure the functions and values of airports are protected and enhanced statewide.
  • Assist towns, cities and counties in meeting update deadlines for comprehensive plans and development regulations.
  • Provide education, workshops and training on best practices to protect airports from adjacent incompatible development and enhance airport operations to meet transportation demand.
  • Showcase the good work of local governments in implementing GMA requirements. 

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