The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, August 04, 2005, Page Page 13, Image 13

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    The INDEPENDENT, August 4, 2005
Page 13
Buxton area residents opposing increased activity at local airport
Most of the 100-plus people
attending a public meeting re-
garding expansion of aviation
activities at Apple Valley Airport
were in agreement: They do
not want helicopters operating
from the private airport, nor do
they want flight training for ei-
ther helicopters or fixed wing
John Rankin, a land use at-
torney from Sherwood led the
July 28 meeting, at Banks
Christian Academy in Buxton.
Rankin is representing airport
owner Mike Applebee in his
land use process with Wash-
ington County and the neigh-
borhood meeting was required
as part of the process. Many of
those who attended the meet-
ing are members of Neighbors
Against Apple Valley Expansion
(NAAVE), a grass roots organi-
zation formed to oppose the in-
creased activity.
Prior to taking questions or
statements, Rankin reviewed
parts of Washington County Or-
dinance 609, as it pertains to
private airports. The ordinance
applied an “Overlay District” for
several private airports within
the county to coordinate with
state law for “their continued
operation and vitality.”
In an effort to provide struc-
ture to the meeting, Rankin re-
quested that “fact-based” ques-
tions be asked before individu-
als or groups made statements.
The effort was mostly success-
ful, though Rankin occasionally
had to adopt the persona of a
Many of the questioners
were frustrated by a lack of an-
swers, with responses of “Don’t
know yet,” to questions such as
the number of anticipated take
offs and landings and whether
the airport will be lighted. Ac-
cording to Rankin, the ques-
tions couldn’t be answered until
the land use application is com-
plete, and that the information
gathered at the neighborhood
meeting in progress would be
used in developing the applica-
Noise generated by in-
creased activity at the airport
was the concern most frequent-
ly mentioned by opponents, es-
pecially in the valley area
where it reverberates, although
the loss of privacy caused by
hovering helicopters was a
close second.
Other concerns expressed
were about negative impacts
on wildlife and the environ-
ment, safety for equestrians on
the Banks-Vernonia Linear
Trail, and traffic. Some of the
environmental concerns were
related to the potential for pollu-
tion by aviation fuel in ground
water and runoff into Dairy
Creek. The airport, which paral-
lels the Sunset Highway, is in a
flood plain.
One speaker said that the
previous owner, Rod Anders,
was friendly and talked with
neighbors about his plans; oth-
ers commented that Applebee
not only doesn’t live on the
property, but doesn’t even live
in the community.
While audience members
cheered comments made in
opposition to the expansion of
activities at the airport, some
were rude to speakers who
supported Applebee’s point of
view, interrupting and some-
times trying to shout down his
supporters. When a speaker
from outside the area spoke fa-
vorable about Applebee, there
were shouted comments of
“You don’t even live here,”
while outsiders who supported
the opposition were warmly ap-
Before the meeting closed,
Rankin said he would be willing
to talk “one-on-one” with the
leaders of NAAVE about
changes and/or concessions in
Applebee’s proposal, if they
were willing to talk. The group’s
leaders seemed reluctant to do
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Some of the 100+ Buxton and Manning residents at a public meeting on increased aviation-
related activity at Apple Valley Airport.
so, saying they want another
public meeting, instead.
Applebee has already run
afoul of the County Community
Development Code and was is-
sued three citations for failing
to obtain the necessary permits
before erecting a sign, engag-
ing in commercial flight training
without land use approval, and
failing to seek a required review
of land use. A July hearing date
was suspended for 30 days
pending the filing of the re-
quired applications.
Minutes from the neighbor-
hood review meeting will be
made available for response.
The public will also have addi-
tional opportunity to comment
on the proposal, according to
Mark Brown, Land Develop-
ment Manager for Washington
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