Independence Water Issue

Meeting Minutes




            In attendance:  Oregon Department of Aviation (ODA) Director Bob Hidley; ODA Airports Manager Charles Riordan; ODA Independence and Aurora Airport Manger Tom Franklin; ODA Fiscal Manager Jennifer Kellar; ODA Airports Programs Technician Rick Leontiev;  ODA Receptionist Theo Butler; Department of Justice Attorney Lynn Rosik; ISAS Greg Guy; IAHA John Horn; EAA Robert Schwarzler; Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) Paul Nees; OSFM Dave Jones; Polk County Fire District #1 Jason Cane; Polk County Building Permits Gene Clemens; OPA Legislative Officer John Cox; ISAS John Conley.



            Called to Order:  10:05 a.m. Director Hidley



            Invitations:  ODA would like to thank the invitees for attending this meeting to resolve the Independence Airport water issue.  Unfortunately Greg Ellis, City Manager for the City of Independence, declined his invitation to attend the meeting replying, “After further consideration I feel that there is no reason for a City of Independence representative to attend the meeting. If, after the meeting on June 1st, Oregon Department of Aviation chooses to connect to the City of Independence water system we will assist the department with the annexation application.”



            History of Independence Water Issue:  The Master Plan for Independence Airport was established in 1977.  In August 2003 ODA received a letter from Polk County Fire Marshal Cane stating that the water system is inadequate.  March 16, 2004 ODA Airports Manager Griffin replied to Fire Marshal Cane’s letter stating that ODA would install a new water system in 2005.  December 13, 2004 ODA Engineer Maillet met with the City of Independence Community Development Director Danko and Fire Marshal Cane to determine a plan of action.  Fire Marshal Cane presented a copy of ODA Airports Manager Griffin’s 2004 letter stating that the ODA would install a fire suppression system in 2005.  December 30, 2004 ODA State Airports Manager Riordan and ODA Engineer Maillet met with City of Independence Community Development Director Danko and Fire Marshal Cane to determine a plan of action.  ODA verbally committed to install the water system (see attachment pink line).  January 4, 2005 ODA Engineer Maillet sent written commitment to install a water system based on the understanding that FAA NPEP funds would be used.  At this point the project budget was an estimated $60k with the engineering to be done in-house.  It was felt that ODA could fund the work even if FAA would not.  January 5, 2005 ODA received a faxed letter from Fire Marshal Cane dated January 3, 2005 stating that ODA is out of compliance.  January 7, 2005 ODA Engineer Maillet sent Fire Marshal Cane another commitment letter and referenced the January 3, 2005 letter.  January 14, 2005 ODA Independence Airport Manger Franklin and ODA Engineer Maillet met with Fire Marshal Cane at the Airport to discuss the plan.  Fire Marshal Cane changed the location of the water line based on his requirement to locate hydrants on the west side of hangars (near the taxiway).  This increased the estimated cost to $165k.  January 14, 2005 ODA received Fire Marshal Canes written acceptance of the new Water Supply Plan.  March 22, 2005 ODA Independence Airport Manager Franklin, the City of Independence Community Development Director Danko and Fire Marshal Cane met.  During this meeting Fire Marshal Cane required at least one hydrant in front of the large hangar.  This meant the optional 6” main was no longer an option.  The estimated cost of this project now increased to $225k for construction plus $35k for design and engineering.



            Discussion:  Fire Marshal Cane stated that none of the hangars on airport property were inspected or approved by a Polk County Fire Marshal.  Mr. Schwarzler replied, “The EAA hangars were built approximately five years ago and they were inspected by both the City of Independence and the Fire Marshal”.  Mr. Schwarzler will provide copies of those inspection reports to ODA.  Fire Marshal Cane stated that because no inspections were ever completed they would not qualify for a grandfather clause.  Mr. Clemmens stated that under the old guidelines Polk County was not required to report the issuance of building permits to the Fire Marshal.  Fire Marshal Cane wants ODA to bring the entire airport to code by September 2005.  The large hangar must have fire suppression by September or Fire Marshal Cane will begin handing out citations and he stated he is prepared to go to court and let the judge make a ruling.  Mr. Cox stated that the City of Portland was also required to bring buildings up to current fire codes.  This was completed by allowing phase in contracts.  ISAS Guy feels that all the lessees expect and should be provided with fire suppression.  There is a fire suppression line with hydrants at the Independence Airport, with the additional building at the airport the line no longer in compliance with the current fire codes.  Fire Marshal Cane disagreed and stated that he has been investigating and concerned with Independence Airport since he became Polk County Fire Marshal.  Fire Marshal Cane explained there are two categories for fire codes, family residence or other buildings.  The hangars fall in the “other buildings” category.  The fire codes for other buildings are higher and require a minimum water flow of 1500 gallons per minute compared to family residence that require 1000 gallons per minute.  Fire Marshal Cane also stated that the airport is required to have more hydrants and a higher water flowage because the hangars house airplanes possibly filled with fuel.  The hangars that are located next to residential homes are coded as family residence and only require the 1000 gallons per minute.  Mr. Cox. stated that whether the hanger was next to a house or located on the airport it still houses aircraft and is still possibly full of fuel, therefore, it would require the same amount of water flow to extinguish the fire



            Agreement:  An agreement was reached between ODA, State Fire Marshals and the Polk County Fire Marshal that ODA will install the fire suppression line designated in pink on the attached drawing.  (The fire suppression line that was previously agreed upon).  Fire Marshall Cane will do a complete inspection of the hangars and let ODA know what the codes are for the airport.  Fire Marshal Cane also stated that if the hydrants are placed strategically then an additional hydrant in front of the large hangar would not be necessary.  Fire Marshal Cane stated the loop was not a requirement for the fire suppression line, just a suggested line.  Mr. Nees stated that the OSFM would approve a phase-in contract for pre-existing construction.  Mr. Nees would like this contract to include hard dates.  ODA agreed to immediately send an engineering firm to Independence Airport to design a water line.  Since the meeting, ODA has retained Century West to design the line.



            Annexation:  ISAS Cox stated that the City of Independence is planning to require annexation before allowing ODA to hook up a fire suppression line to their water.  DOJ Attorney Rosik read from the Inter-governmental agreement between Polk County and the City of Independence.  “Annexation is required for new service.  No annexation is required where such service is already being provided.”  DOJ Rosik feels that ODA would be improving a service already being provided; therefore, annexation would not be required.  There currently is a 2” and a 6” water line providing fire suppression and drinking water to the hangars in the county, both of these lines are connected to city water.  Mr. Clemens stated that Polk County does not consider a fire suppression line a service; therefore, it would not require annexation.  Mr. Clemens stated that a service constitutes a pipe to run directly into your building.  ISAS Guy stated that he spoke to 12 homeowners and all 12 stated they did not want to annex into the City.  If the annexation does occur, the tax rate would increase from $14.08 to $19.88 per 1,000 sq. ft.  ISAS Guy stated that the City of Independence does not require a vote prior to annexation.  The cost would be approximately $500.00   ODA Director Hidley will try to avoid annexation.  ODA will not annex the area into the City of Independence unless required by law.



            Funding:  In 1974 an agreement was reached that no fees for “through-the-fence operations” would be charged in exchange for paving the runway.  This agreement expired in 2004.  There is now a new agreement in place that charges 15.00 “through-the-fence” for a period of 30 years.  To continue to receive funding from the FAA, ODA must follow strict guidelines and pass audits conducted by the FAA.  Grant Assurance Item 22 states that an airport must be “non-discriminating”.  This means we must charge the same fee to everyone.  Grant Assurance Item 24 states an airport must attempt to be self supporting and the airport must collect reasonable fees.  ODA has reason to believe Independence Airport will be audited next year.  ODA must make sure that Independence Airport is in compliance with all grant assurances.  ODA’s policy is to review rates and charges every two years.  The Oregon State Aviation Board will be reviewing these charges and will make the final decision on what the reasonable charge is to stay in compliance with FAA grant assurances.  Any money that ODA receives from an airport stays at that airport.  ISAS Guy would like to receive information of what the additional revenue received in 2003 and 2004 consists of.  ODA Fiscal Manager Kellar will provide the ISAS with that information.  ODA Director Hidley stated that the cost for the water line may be passed down to the airport lessees.  ODA agreed to research FAA Grants to see if there is any funding that would cover the expense and report back to ISAS.   ODA will pass on information concerning the next phase via e-mail to anyone who makes a formal request to ODA.