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Development: Airport needs outside expertise
There seems to be a lot of controversy with the idea of a Whidbey Island Municipal Airport. I would recommend that the joint commissioners seek help from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the WSDOT (Washington Department of Transportation) for their opinions.
As an airport manager in Texas, with roots on the "Rock," there are many ways to address these problems. If the island is to receive scheduled flights or even non-scheduled air taxi type flights there are a host of regulations which need to be addressed. Something I have not seen is the relation of the city/county to the military needs and consideration of either a joint military and civilian airport or the possibility of a new site for the proposed airport.
As an outsider looking in, there are a lot of possibilities if the cities and county get the right information from the right agencies. Good luck!