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News / Business / Clark County Business

Port of Camas-Washougal wants to hear from residents on Grove Field annexation plan

Plan is to bring airport into urban growth boundary

By Doug Flanagan, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: May 11, 2024, 6:11am

While the Port of Camas-Washougal’s plans to bring Grove Field into Clark County’s urban growth boundary are moving forward, commissioners want to hear from residents who have questions and concerns.

The port will host an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. June 5 to provide community members with information about the process and goals of the plan for Grove Field. Check the port website, portcw.com/commission/#calendar-1, for more details.

“We do want to hear from people in terms of their hopes and fears, maybe some pros and cons of bringing the property into the urban growth boundary, what’s realistic in terms of annexation and development of property,” Marty Snell, property services manager for Vancouver-based Mackay Esposito, said during the port commission meeting May 1.

“I’ll be very interested in hearing what the questions are because then we’ll know how to adjust our future discussions and meet the concerns of the community,” port Commissioner Larry Keister said during the meeting. “For anything that we do, I’ve always been an advocate, the community has to know what our plans are way out front. No surprises.”

Grove Field houses about 120 aircraft and includes 79 public hangars, 14 tie-downs, a self-service fueling facility and 18 private hangars on about 23 acres some 3 miles north of Camas leased from the port, along with several private hangars on surrounding properties.

Snell sent formal request letters on behalf of the port to city of Camas and Clark County leaders in March.

“It’s a process,” port CEO David Ripp said during a March 6 port commission workshop. “Right now, we’re not in Clark County’s urban growth boundary, so we have to go through that process first. All public agencies, including Clark County and the city of Camas, are currently updating their comprehensive plans, so the timing works out. Our end goal is to get annexed into the city of Camas.”

Ripp said the port hopes to develop “airport-related businesses and other businesses” at Grove Field.

“We want to create more jobs and develop the land up there,” Ripp said. “It’ll be more of a light industrial business park; maybe there will be a commercial aspect to it as well. Our goal is economic development. Our goal is to create jobs. And if we want to develop some of that property out there, this is what we have to do.”

Ripp said in March that a public outreach campaign to help residents understand the annexation process will be an important part of the process.

Snell said that the open house will include a discussion about what’s realistic in terms of annexation and development of the airport property.

“I think people might have in mind, ‘Oh, this is going to happen overnight,’ ” Snell said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. It will be kind of a slow burn. We can put a general timeline with some ‘out’ years so that people have a sense of how long is it going to be before the property actually develops for commercial development.”