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New development eyed around airport

12:49 pm September 23rd, 2013

A homebuilder hopes to develop land
near Eatonville’s airfield differently
than plans of another developer called for
several years ago.
Dan Simon told the Town Council Sept.
9 that he wants to buy the platted property
known as Aviator Heights and build
single-family homes. His plans are different
than what the town approved for the land
in 2006, when then-developer Jerry Nybo
proposed an airpark community with homes
on half-acre lots, a hangar on each lot and
the main street as a wide taxiway that aircraft
going to and from the landing strip would
share with automobiles.
According to town officials, some infrastructure
for the project was built, but the
land adjacent to Swanson Field remains
mostly undeveloped.
Simon said he’ll go forward with his idea
for the approximately 13 acres to have homes
selling for $265,000 or less if the town
changes the site’s plat regulations to allow his
development.
Councilman Gordon Bowman said the
town should accommodate Simon so the
land doesn’t continue to “just sit there.”
But Councilman Brenden Pierce said that
altering the earlier decision by the council
would be an abuse of council authority on
land-use matters.
Mayor Ray Harper sided with Bowman,
noting that Simon is offering “a chance at
some economic development” in the town.
“We don’t have a lot of builders banging on
our doors.”
Smith said he doubts there is enough demand
for the airpark community envisioned
by Nybo. He said the number of private
pilots who might at one time have been interested
in having a home and an adjoining
hangar for their airplane is dwindling because
of economic factors or changing lifestyles.
Few if any potential buyers of the homes
he wants to build “can afford a home and an
airplane,” he said.
Simon also said it’s “hard to visualize” aircraft
taxiing down a road that also would be
used by cars.
Pierce said residents of an airpark development
would be knowledgeable about planes
and comfortable yielding to them.
Nybo proposed to town officials in
2011 that his project plans be changed to
allow multi-family housing for retirees
or others at least 55 years old. He said
then that market conditions were
making his new proposal more viable
than his original plans for single-family
homes.

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