Airport’s Master Plan Approved By Port 2 to 1
Citizens took exception to the Airport’s SEPA process tagging the fairgrounds with a DNS (Designation of Non-Significance). Testimony centered on the “significance” of the fairgrounds to the Citizens. Citizens expressed fear of buildings being demolished due to prior Port presentations identifying what was perceived as a “demolition schedule” thus eliminating any opportunity to put together an area fair now and in the future.
Annette McGee, former Mason County Commissioner, reiterated her objection to the DNS, encouraging an EIS (Environmental Impact Study) be completed prior to making any decision on the AMP. McGee reminded the commission of the fairground’s historical, economic, and agricultural significance to the community, all of which support the values stated by the Port in the Port’s own Comprehensive Plan and Mission Statement. McGee challenged the Port Commission to take action in step with their stated values.
On the flip side, Norm Eveleth, as he has stated at past Port meetings attempted to clarify the past actions leading to this current situation;
o A previous County Commission closed the fair grounds, not the Port of Shelton Commission.
o Other County fairs are experiencing similar problems in supporting a fair.
o The Fair is not a Port Business. The Port is in the business of transportation and industrial businesses.
o The Port has tried to work with the FAA to buy additional time and keep the fairgrounds at the current location until funding and a new location can be determined. The County Commission did nothing to assist in this effort, with the exception of telling the Port Commission they had exceeded their authority when the Port announced a decision to pull together a group of Citizens to address the fair issues.”
o Port Tax payers have been subsidizing the County, as Port Tax payers pay for the current location of the fair grounds, and all the “parking” for the fairgrounds uses.
The Commissioners struggled with the emotional testimony and accusations from the public. Accusations of “conflict of interest in the Helix Study” (naming Commissioner Wallitner and John Dobson), violations to the open meeting act, refusing to allow the public into a public meeting (September 30th AMP work session, John Dobson) and trust the fairground buildings would not be demolished without giving the public an opportunity to make necessary repairs and save the buildings for future short term event use.
The Port Commission stated emphatically they have not authorized the tearing down of any buildings, the Port Commission will continue to work with the FAA to get approval to keep the fairgrounds in the current location until a new location and funding can be obtained. Dobson stated; “Nothing is absolute, the AMP is our plan we can modify the plan to meet our needs”.
Currently several short term events are scheduled for 2013, the Fair has not yet been scheduled, no one has come forward.
After the Commission voted 2 to 1 approving the AMP and hearing less than complimentary Citizen Comment regarding the Commission’s approval being the “death of the fair”, one Citizen expressed; “I’m confused; I thought John Dobson said we can amend the AMP to keep the fair until we can get another location for the fair, am I wrong?” The Commissions’ answer: “For the Record” the Commission’s intention is to keep the fairgrounds alive until a new location and funding is found. However, there are requirements for rent and use of the space that must be met prior to having a “fair” or any other event, for example - insurance and rent payment.
Some Citizen Testimony For The Fair
Ken Brown FFA (Future Farmers)
Katie Jo Lester, Student
McGee urging the Port to look at the Port’s own comprehensive plan
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