The Chelan Douglas Port Authority is buying land directly connected to a recently upgraded runway lighting system at Pangborn Airport. 

The purchase will complete the acreage desired to provide a clear zone for the runway approach after the Port bought half the acreage last year. 

Port CEO Jim Kuntz says it makes sense to have the land for operations at the airport. 

“This is absolutely directly in our clear zone, so my philosophy is any time you can buy property in the approach of your main runway, you buy it,” said Kuntz 

The clear zone was identified as necessary for the new lightning system, which has greatly improved landing capability during poor visibility at the airport.   

Image of lots near Pangborn Airport being purchased by Chelan Douglas Port Authority
Image of lots near Pangborn Airport being purchased by Chelan Douglas Port Authority

Port commissioners approved the purchase of the land at their most recent meeting. The Port will pay Christopher L. Lytle $285,600 for the land off Grant Road by Stark Avenue. 

The 4.76-acre lot is half of the 9.52-acre parcel the Port sought to purchase from Lytle before installing the new lighting system. 

But Lytle only agreed to sell half the acreage, while preserving the land his house and barn sit on. Lytle has since changed his mind.  

Both parcels lie within the Runway Protection Zone, which is determined to be critical to the new lighting system and Airport operations, according to the purchase and sale agreement drawn up. 

The second parcel the Port is purchasing is appraised at $221,000. But Lytle won't sell for less than $60,000 per acre, which brings the total cost to $285,600. 

Most of the cost will be paid for by an FAA grant . According to Kuntz, the FAA normally will approve a grant based on the property's fair market value plus 10 percent. 

Based on that formula, a 90 percent FAA grant would be $218,790 with the Port spending $66,810 out of pocket. 

Port Director of Airports Trent Moyers says there could be wiggle room for the FAA to supply an even larger portion of the funding. 

"There is an allowance when you're purchasing land for some administrative leeway in that negotiation process." said Moyers. 

The new lighting system provides a Medium-intensity Approach Lighting System with Runway alignment indicator lights (MALSR). The lights reduced the visibility required to land an airplane from one mile to a half-mile.  

The clear zone acreage can be developed but has many restrictions as to what it can be used for, given its location adjacent to the runway. For example, Kuntz said no development would be allowed which would attract wildlife. 

Port commissioners speculated on what the land could be used for, but generally agreed it was worthwhile to acquire it for any future possibilities. 

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