Council Wrestles Over 16th Avenue and Air Terminal Dilemma - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Council Wrestles Over 16th Avenue and Air Terminal Dilemma

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YAKIMA, Wash. - Talk about a runway that's running too close for comfort.

The Yakima mayor and city council have to make a tough decision soon that concerns 16th Avenue, which isn't far enough from the Yakima Air Terminal's "Safe Zone."

It only took up a couple of sentences in the city council's agenda on Tuesday night.

But it caused a lot of concern from city councilmembers, aiport manager Buck Taylor and business owners along 16th Avenue.

Their concern -- the east-west runway and how it sits too close to 16th Avenue.

Both the county and the city are in charge of the air terminal, so the ultimate decision lies in their hands.

However, there are alternative plans, which include Valley Mall Boulevard and the realignment of 16th Avenue, but a decision has to be made soon.

"The FAA could take action that could, could significantly impact airport operations in the ability that the airport continue its current mission," assistant city manager Dave Zabel said.

City councilman Norm Johnson is also concerned about the issue.

"So I'm not so sure we aren't putting the cart before the horse, maybe we should put a temporary hold on this for a short time," he said.

The problem began a few years ago, when the air terminal increased the runway safety area to give bigger planes more room to land.

The mayor and the council will meet next Tuesday to discuss the fate of the air terminal and 16th Avenue.