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23 Overview Chapter 3 provides tools for airport managers and other interested stakeholders to assess and improve current airport land use compatÂ ibility conditions, regulations, and implementation practices. The strategies are based on industry best practices identified by the research effort conducted under ACRP Project 04Â22, âEvaluating the EffectiveÂ ness of Compatibility Zoning at General Aviation Airports.â Many factors influence the effectiveness of airport land use comÂ patibility, which is very context specific to each airport. The unique circumstances affecting an airport and nearby communities must be considered on an individual basis when attempting to maintain or improve existing airport land use compatibility conditions. As such, the strategies provided herein must be tailored to the individual needs of the airport and nearby communities. Strategies for enhancing current compatibility planning practices and regulations are offered in two forms. First, strategies are provided by key stakeholders to recognize each stakeholderâs roles and responsiÂ bilities pertaining to airport compatibility planning. Second, strategies are provided by topic area. The main topic headings address key steps in garnering support for the airport, developing and implementing compatibility regulations, and fostering communication and outreach programs. To help each stakeholder assess current conditions, a series of SelfÂ Assessment Checklists are provided in Appendix C. Once the checklists are completed and the areas requiring improvement are identified, each stakeholder is encouraged to review the strategies in this chapter for providing or improving airport land use compatibility. Effective Airport Land Use Compatibility Planning An effective AZO is one that is successful in preventing conflicts caused by the presence of airspace obstructions, the encroachment of incompatible land uses that create safety or noise impacts on the community, or other adverse conditions. The process requires the C H A P T E R 3 Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies Navigation Icons: Follow the icons provided in this chapter to find strategies for each stakeholder. Airport Manager Airport Sponsor Community Planner Elected Official Stakeholder Checklist: Go to Appendix C for guidance in assessing current compatibility conditions. Airport Manager/Airport Sponsor Community Planner Effective airport land use compatibility planning is achieved through the adoption and implementation of airport land use compatibility regulations that adequately address airport land use compatibility concerns for a particular airport and surrounding communities. Source: ACRP 04-22 Research Team
24 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports involvement of multiple stakeholders; adoption of airport land use compatibility regulations and referral processes by local jurisdictions; and a commitment by airport operators, local planners, and elected officials to implement the standards and requirements. Each of the component steps must coalesce into a comprehensive process if the fundamental purpose of preventing or avoiding incompatible uses is to be achieved. The interconnection among the âwho, what, and whyâ of airport land compatibility measures is presented below and in Figure 3Â1. â¢ Who: The affected agencies, namely the airport and land use planning agencies, must work together to promote, adopt, and implement airport land use compatibility regulations. The research identified that land use compatibility is more effective when the airport manager leads local airport compatibility initiatives. Other stakeholders, such as local land use planners and elected officials, also influence success if they support and advocate local airport compatÂ ibility planning efforts. â¢ What: Airport land use compatibility regulations may stipulate the development standards and requirements applicable within the airport environs. Although local compatibility reguÂ lations are often dictated or influenced by state law, the research found that the effectiveness of compatibility regulations is enhanced when local regulations are written to be context specific and to address airport land use compatibility concerns important to a particular airport and surrounding communities. â¢ Why: Figure 3Â2 illustrates why airport land use compatibility regulations are needed to thwart encroachment of incompatible land uses. The motivation for implementing airport land use compatibility regulations relies upon key stakeholders who comprehend the imporÂ tance of airport land use compatibility. Communication, education, and outreach are key Figure 3-1. Concept of effectiveness.
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 25 elements for establishing relationships and gaining support for the adoption and implementaÂ tion of airport compatibility regulations. Strategies by Local Stakeholder Airport land use compatibility planning involves multiple key stakeholders, including the airport manager, airport sponsor, community planning departments, and local governing bodies. State aviation agencies also play an important role. Although there are secondary stakeholders that influence local compatibility planning efforts (e.g., FAA, pilot associations, and community groups), this section focuses on the stakeholders that have a direct role in promoting local airport compatibility planning efforts. The roles and responsibilities of each Frisco, Texas. Source: Google Earth, 2018. Mead & Hunt, 2018. 1995 â Rural airport surrounded by farmland 2013 â Airport closed 2017 â No visible trace of airport 2001 â Residential encroachment Figure 3-2. Why airport land use compatibility is important.
26 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports stakeholder and recommended strategies that should be pursued to promote compatible land uses are described. Airport Manager The airport manager is often the person who knows the most about the airport and the importance of having compatible land uses around it. As such, the managerâs role in promoting airport land use compatÂ ibility is critical. The airport manager is often the principal advocate promoting the airport sponsorâs interests and perspectives. RecomÂ mended activities that the airport manager should be engaged in to foster airport land use compatibility include the following. â¢ Spearhead the airport compatibility planning effort. To be effective, the airport manager should engage in the following activities: â Seek support from the land use planning director as this indiÂ vidual is the most knowledgeable of land use conditions within the community and has the greatest opportunity to influence land use patterns around the airport. If there are multiple jurisdictions in the airportâs vicinity (i.e., more than one land use planning director), prioritizing outreach may be needed. â Work with local planners to draft compatibility regulations and policies. â Stay informed about potential development near the airport and actively engage in the development review process for projects proposed in the airport environs. See Checklist No. 2.3, Implementing Local Regulations in Appendix C, for a list of factors to be reviewed when assessing the compatibility of a proposed development. â Make the case for airport land use compatibility. â Share the airportâs perspective. â¢ Become the trusted advisor. The airport manager should be viewed by local government authorities and stakeholders as the expert on airport matters. The airport manager has the experience, training, knowlÂ edge, and expertise to counsel local stakeholders on aviation standards and requirements. The airport manager should consider undertaking the following activities: â Help interpret and clarify aeronautical standards and requirements that may be difficult to understand. â Review land use development proposals to identify potential conflicts and propose potential solutions. â Support local economic development initiatives by identifying ways that the airport can serve the community (e.g., business park development, site for aerial touring companies, site for agricultural spray operations). â¢ Develop relationships with stakeholders. The airport manager cannot do it alone; therefore, identifying entities and individuals that can support airport compatibility initiatives is critical. Communication is key to developÂ ing longÂterm relationships with stakeholders. To cultivate stakeholder relationships, airport managers should: â Know all the players. Use the checklists in Appendix C to develop your stakeholder list. â Keep all stakeholders informed and take the lead in outreach efforts. Specifically: ï¿½ Find opportunities to regularly meet with and provide information to stakeholders. ï¿½ Provide fact sheets about the airport or âFrequently Asked Questionsâ sheets. ï¿½ Provide regular briefings to decision makers regarding anticipated airport operations or projects (Figure 3Â3). Airport Manager Strategies â¢ Spearheading the airport compatibility planning effort â¢ Becoming the trusted advisor â¢ Developing relationships with stakeholders â¢ Garnering support from elected officials
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 27 ï¿½ Invite stakeholders and the community to the airport (i.e., hold special events, promote your airport restaurant, allow public use of certain airport facilities). â Recognize entities and individuals that may require additional persuasion. Provide them with targeted education and outreach about aviation and land use compatibility. â¢ Garner support from elected officials. Ultimately, the final decision to approve a development proposal rests with the local decision makers (i.e., elected officials) and their appointees. Effective implementation of comÂ patibility regulations requires support from elected officials; therefore, the airport manager must establish relationships with these decision makers to garner support for measures that protect the airport and those living and working within the airport environs. Educating these governing bodies about the importance of airport land use compatibility is essential. â Improve the airportâs image. See âGaining Local Support for the Airportâ below for a list of strategies to improve the airportâs reputation within the community. â Build and support consensus. Divergent politics can hinder efforts to adopt and implement airport compatibility regulations. Work with local officials who are receptive to finding common ground between airport and land use development interests. Airport Sponsor The airport sponsorâthe governing body of the entity owning or operating the airportâis responsible for establishing policy pertainÂ ing to the airport and airport operations. Functions include adopting airport master plans and allocating funding for airport programs and improvements. Although the strategies identified previously for the airport manager also apply to the airport sponsor, the strategies identiÂ fied for the airport sponsor focus on activities that the final decision makers of the organization (e.g., city council or airport board) should accomplish. â¢ Identify the advantages/disadvantages of the organizationâs structure. Does the sponsorâs organizational structure foster communication with the agency or department responsible for land use planning, zoning, and review of land use applications? Is communication Source: Mead & Hunt. Figure 3-3. Regular meetings with decision-makers improve relationships and compatibility chances. Airport Sponsor Strategies â¢ Identifying limitations of organizationâs structure â¢ Understanding the need to plan â¢ Assessing the status of current airport compatibility regulations â¢ Encouraging collaboration â¢ Enhancing agency communication
28 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports limited or nonexistent among various entities, leading to an information âsiloâ effect? The opportunities and challenges for common organizational structures include: â Sponsors with land use jurisdiction. An airport sponsor that is part of the organization that has land use jurisdiction for the areas around its airport may have the direct ability to prevent development of incompatible land uses within the airport vicinity. However, the organization may be compartmentalized with the administrative division advising the elected body, the planning department providing the vision and guidance for the longÂrange development of the jurisdiction, and the airport department (or public works department) managing the dayÂtoÂday operation of the airport. An organizational structure like this is common in general purpose governments (e.g., county, city, or township), thus requiring a concerted effort to facilitate communication among departments. â Sponsors without direct land use jurisdiction or control. An airport sponsor without direct control over land uses around its airport has a greater challenge in managing compatÂ ibility, particularly when airport impacts extend into multiple jurisdictions. One example of this structure would be a municipality that owns and operates an airport located in an unincorporated area of the county. Developing relationships with other agencies or orgaÂ nizations will be imperative in these cases. The airport sponsor may need to make a case for the airportâs regional importance. (See âGaining Local Support for the Airportâ below). â¢ Understand the need to plan ahead. Do not wait for an airport compatibility issue to occur. Airport sponsors must be proÂ active and establish airport compatibility zoning before development pressures begin to create local resistance to adoption of airport compatibility regulations or other conflicts. Initiate the discussion about airport compatibility planning processes when adopting an airport master plan, which defines the airportâs longÂterm development plans. â¢ Assess the status of current airport compatibility regulations. Do regulations exist? Are they insufficient? Are they up to date per the current and future airport layout plan and operational requirements? Are they enforced? Airport sponsors must make certain that airport compatibility regulations are comprehensive, adequately enforced, and doing a good job of protecting the airport. Use Checklist No. 2.1 in Appendix C to assess the status of current airport compatibility regulations and to determine whether the airport sponsor needs to establish or enhance its jurisdictionâs regulations and/or encourage neighboring communities to act. See âDrafting Local Regulations and Getting Them Adoptedâ for a list of best practices to develop effective airport compatibility regulations. â¢ Encourage collaboration. A collaborative environment requires every member of the group to take responsibility for reaching a positive outcome, presents an opportunity to provide policy input, and is more likely to achieve consensus. When initiating airport planning efforts, such as an airport master plan update, seek representation from local land use planning entities and other key stakeholders. â¢ Enhance agency communications. Effective communication is essential for establishing and maintaining positive relationÂ ships. It provides an opportunity to address the needs and expectations of others (think dialogue, not monologue). To facilitate communication, identify those most affected by airport decisions and begin to engage them in conversations. See âGaining Local Support for the Airportâ for ideas. Community Planning Department A local planning department has two primary functions: â¢ To assist the community, and ultimately the local governing body, in planning for the communityâs future development and
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 29 â¢ To review proposed development projects for conformance with the agencyâs adopted policies and ordinances. The planning department is responsible for developing the comÂ munityâs land use policies and regulations, such as comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances. It is at the forefront of protecting the airport against incompatible development. For example, planners regularly interface with the public on land use matters and can be the first to educate the public on land use compatibility matters. Also, planners review development proposals within the AZO and make an initial determination of airport compatibility. These planning reports are critically important as they provide recommendations to the governing body. As such, planning staff also have the greatest influence on land use decisions made by the local governing body. â¢ Understand the issue. Airport land use compatibility planning is a specialized discipline. Although familiar with the concept of an AZO, local land use planners may not understand the history, importance, or the airportÂspecific factors associated with establishing an AZO. To effectively implement an AZO, the planning staff may require specialized training to gain knowledge about airport compatibility issues and their effects on the community. This knowledge is critical when conveying airport compatibility restrictions to property owners and developers seeking a building permit. Understanding the issue and explaining the importance of the AZO are skills critical to gaining acceptance by those affected by the AZO and when advising the local governing body on airport compatibility matters. Local planners should seek training from the airport manager, state aviation agency, or a consultant. â¢ Involve the airport management. Local planners must engage the airport manager in community planning activities that have the potential to occur in or affect the airport vicinity. Local planners should view the airport manager as an ally and trusted advisor and should establish a relationship with the manager that will enable seeking the managerâs input when necessary. â¢ Promote airport compatibility. Local planners need to keep airport compatibility objectives in mind during community planning efforts. Focus areas include that: â Comprehensive plans should recognize and support proposed airport development as presented in an adopted airport master plan or airport layout plan (ALP). â Comprehensive plans should include policies to protect airport operations and promote compatible land uses in the airport environs. ï¿½ Subarea or special area plans can include more detailed focus on the factors and developÂ ment standards for the airport influence area. â Local planners should become educated about the ways that incompatible land uses can adversely affect not just the airport, but also the people who live and work in those locations. â Careful attention should be given to the development review process and how the AZO is to be implemented as part of that process. Local Governing Body In most instances, a local governing body has the power and authority to set policy and steer the overall direction of the communityâs growth and services. In terms of airport land use compatibility, a local governing body, such as a County Board of Supervisors or City Council, will adopt land use compatibility plans and policies. The governing body may also establish airport policies when the local agency is also the airport sponsor. Most importantly, Community Planner Strategies â¢ Understanding the issue â¢ Involving the airport management â¢ Promoting airport compatibility
30 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports the local governing body makes decisions regarding approval of land use development around the airport. Effective compatibility planning requires that these governing bodies understand the importance of airport land use compatibility. â¢ Provide transparency. As with all decisionÂmaking processes, the local governing body must proÂ vide a deliberate and transparent decisionÂmaking process, and most state laws require this openness. Governing bodies serve multiple stakeholders with competing interests. A good decisionÂmaking process must consider all voices at the table and provide opportunities for all stakeholders, including the airport sponsor, to offer input. â¢ Understand the issue. It is critically important for decision makers to understand the importance of airport land use compatibility and how their decisions can affect both airport operations and the lives of those living and working in the airport environs. Community leaders must recognize and understand the role of the airport in the community and insist on receiving information and advice from agency staff about the potential implications of incremental decisions on overall airport land use compatibility. Community leaders should learn more about the airport land use compatibility issue and direct staff to provide workshops that involve the airport manager, airport sponsor, local planning department(s), and/or state aviation agency. â¢ Adopt and implement compatibility regulations. The first step in promoting airport land use compatibility is simply to adopt land use plans and policies that protect both the airport and public. A greater responsibility is for the governing body to implement the compatibility regulations it adopts. Local decision makers must understand and appreciate that every incremental decision about land use development around the airport has a direct positive or negative effect on the resiliency of the airport and quality of life for its neighbors. Local Strategies by Topic Gaining Local Support for the Airport Before initiating a compatibility planning process, it is important for an airport manager, airport sponsor, and local government agencies to understand how the community views the airport. Review the status of relations and lay the groundwork to establish or enhance comÂ munity relations. Use SelfÂAssessment Checklist No. 1 in Appendix C to assess the obstacles or challenges that might exist and develop a targeted approach to improvÂ ing stakeholder communications. The following ideas may help to gain community support for the airport. â¢ Improve the reputation of the airport. Airport managers must be vigilant in managing the communityâs perceptions about the airport and addressing community concerns (e.g., noise complaints). Airport sponsors must develop airport plans that are reasonable and considerate of community concerns. Local government agencies must provide transparency in the decisionÂ making process about airport development plans. â¢ Explain why the airport is important to the community. Even a small, rural GA airport can provide essential community services, such as a site for emergency response or agricultural business Strategies for Gaining Support for the Airport â¢ Improving the reputation of the airport â¢ Explaining why the airport is important to the community â¢ Communicating the airportâs economic significance â¢ Identifying mutual economic development goals â¢ Raising awareness about the airport Elected Official Strategies â¢ Providing transparency â¢ Understanding the issue â¢ Adopting and implementing compatibility regulations
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 31 operations. Airport sponsors and managers should understand the many ways the airport serves the community and inform stakeholders how the airport supports local businesses and critical community functions (see Chapter 2, Table 2Â1). Use SelfÂAssessment Checklist No. 1 in Appendix C to help recognize the types of services the airport provides the community. â¢ Communicate the airportâs economic significance. Airport sponsors and managers need to understand the airportâs economic contribution to the local economy in terms of number of jobs, payroll, and overall economic impact. State aviation agencies and other aviation organizations (e.g., Aircraft Owners and Pilots AssociaÂ tion, Airports Council International) often publish airport economic data. Managers should identify if applicable economic data exists and share it with key stakeholders. If the airport is viewed as a strain on government resources, the manager should identify potential funding sources (e.g., FAA and state grants) to help finance airport projects. Local economic developÂ ment agencies may also provide financial resources for airport projects that serve the broader community (e.g., public parking structure). â¢ Identify mutual economic development goals. Airport supporters should work with local businesses, economic development entities, and land use officials to promote aviationÂcompatible development on or near the airport (e.g., air cargo facilities, aerial tours, business park). Airport management should work with local businesses and business groups to publicize the presence and value of the airport in the community (e.g., host an open house with assistance from the local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club; work with local colleges to establish aviation or flight programs; or work with local emergency response organizations to establish a life flight facility at the airport). â¢ Raise awareness about the airport. Education is the best way to boost public and stakeholder awareness of the airport and its value to the community. Engage in ongoing outreach and collaboration with stakeholders and the public. â Make presentations about the airport. Present information about the airport at public meetings (Figure 3Â4) to keep the governing bodies of the airport sponsor and nearby jurisdictions up to date about what is going on at the airport (even if only once a year). Attend and speak at other events as well. A good time to make a presentation is after the airport has updated its airport capital improvement program. Source: Mead & Hunt. Figure 3-4. Public meetings inform community and local governing bodies.
32 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports â Establish an airport website and keep it current. If the airport is owned by a local jurisdicÂ tion, make sure there is a clear and visible link on the agency page to the airport page. This connection emphasizes that the airport is part of the community. Use other social media platforms to promote airport activities. â Ensure that the airport is part of discussions about the communityâs future. A prime time for doing this is during land use planning efforts, such as a comprehensive plan update. If the jurisdiction owning the airport is undertaking a land use planning effort, it is important that the airport manager be a key participant, not simply a community member responding to or providing feedback on planning elements. The manager must be a key team member throughout the planning effort. â Partner with local pilots to help promote the airport. For example, the airport can host a âKids Aviation Day.â Pilots can enthusiastically talk with children about airplanes. Partner with local schools and invite children to experience aviation first hand. Involve local pilots during this event. â Find opportunities to invite the public to your airport. Provide space for an airport restaurant to attract the public. Hold an air show. Offer a meeting room for use by local groups or a vacant hangar to the local Girl Scouts to store and distribute their cookies. Promoting the Importance of Airport Land Use Compatibility Airport managers, airport advocates, and local planners must actively promote airport land use compatibility and make a case for it in the community. Articulate the importance of avoiding compatibility conflictsâsafety, preservation of airport operations, and avoiding or reducing community impacts. Emphasize that airport compatibility zoning benefits everyone. Explain that the lack of compatibility zoning may curtail operations, lead to public exposure to airport hazards and nuisances, and may be detrimental to the local economy. â¢ Understand your audience. Explaining complicated topics is tough, particularly if an audience is unfamiliar with them. Strange terminology and names or specific processes rarely matter. When distributing material or presenting to stakeholders, remember the following: â Find ways to make the topic matter to the audience. People generally learn best when they are interested in the topic and the topics relate to them directly. â Explain concepts using details people already know. For example, if talking about noise impacts, describe a scene of a family backyard gathering where friends and family must raise their voices or stop conversations while a plane is flying overhead. â Know what details to leave out. Professionals with expertise related to a specific topic can find it is easy to think of every detail as important. However, when trying to explain a comÂ plicated concept to an audience with little or no knowledge about the topic, less is more. â Let participants learn by doing. This is a great technique if hosting an educational seminar on airport land use compatibility planning with stakeholders or airport neighbors. See Appendix D for a sample educational slideshow presentation and group exercises on compatible and incompatible land uses. If prudent, tailor them for the specific airport. â¢ Simplify your message. Prepare simple, concise and easily understandable materials to focus attention on imporÂ tant airport land use compatibility factors. Appendix E is a fourÂpage brochure developed for this Guidebook. Use it or other existing resources (e.g., from state aviation agency) to help communicate the message. In general, messaging should address: Strategies for Promoting the Importance of Airport Compatibility â¢ Understanding you audience â¢ Simplifying your message â¢ Developing your educational materials â¢ Creating an airport compatibility website
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 33 â What airport land use compatibility means and why it is important. â What the consequences of incompatibility can mean to the airport and its neighbors. â The players involved. â The process for implementing airport compatibility regulations. â¢ Develop educational materials. Use this Guidebook to develop materials to educate stakeholders and the public on airport land use compatibility matters. Chapter 2 provides a summary of the key elements of airport land use compatibility planning, including Figure 2Â2 that shows the four compatibility factors to be addressed. Appendix D is a sample slideshow presentation. Also, identify recurring ques tions and help produce explanatory materials to address âfrequently asked questions.â Common questions regarding specific compatibility factors include: â How do airspace protection and related height limits apply to land use compatibility? Consider developing a map that depicts the allowable heights by comparing Part 77 surfaces with ground elevations. See example in Figure 3Â5. â How does the FAA Form 7460 Aeronautical Study process relate to local compatibility planning? Source: Mead & Hunt, 2018. Figure 3-5. Allowable height map.
34 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports â¢ Create an airport compatibility website. Include a compatibility page on the airport sponsor website. Encourage affected jurisdicÂ tions to do the same or, at least, include a link to the airportâs compatibility website. The airportâs compatibility web page should include links to the following: â FAA website for submittal of Form 7460Â1, Notification of Proposed Construction or Alteration (https://oeaaa.faa.gov). â State aviation agency website if it provides information on airspace hazards or airport land use compatibility. â AZO for each affected jurisdiction. Engaging the State A state aviation agency can be an important advocate when it comes to supporting local initiatives to protect airports from incompatible land use development. While the role of a state agency depends largely upon the powers provided under state laws, regulations, and the availÂ able budgets, involving the state aviation agency in local compatibility issues can be advantageous. Other statewide groups, particularly airÂ port managers and pilotsâ groups, can also lend support. Valuable strategies for airport managers to engage the state aviation agency include: â¢ Identify the state laws that govern airport land use compatibility. In most states, state laws largely determine the role and extent to which state agencies can be involved in land use compatibility matters. State laws may also govern what local governments and airÂ ports must do or what they are authorized to do. Understanding state laws and regulations is essential to any local regulations or other actions that aim to prevent incompatible land use development. â¢ Understand the state aviation agencyâs role and services. Visit the state aeronautics agencyâs website to get an overview of the agencyâs responsiÂ bilities and programs. Investigate and explore links to model ordinances or other land use compatibility documents that the website may include. Get to know the agencyâs staff. Ask agency staff members to come to the community to make a presentation at a workshop where airport land use compatibility is to be discussed. Encourage them to attend or provide written support for local compatibility measures under consideration by local decision makers. â¢ Understand what local actions require state involvement. Know what types of airport development actions or land use development proposals require state notification. In some states, the aeronautics agency has permit authority over airports and may need to approve changes that affect the runway or its approaches. Other states have direct responsibility for review of certain land use development near airports or may even have permit authority off airport property. Typically, this responsibility focuses on airspace protection matters. For example, as described in Case Study No. 1, Kentucky requires that proponents of structures in the runway approaches or that extend into the airport airspace obtain a stateÂissued permit. â¢ Advocate or support airport land use compatibility legislation. If current state laws do not mandate local airport land use compatibility measures, do they at least not preclude or hinder them? State laws intended to solve nonaviation issues sometimes work against airport land use compatibility objectives. For example, do state transportation policies provide bonuses allowed for development around transit stations that could result in high occupancy intensities or residential densities in locations near runway ends? Strategies for Engaging the State â¢ Understanding state compatibility regulations â¢ Understanding the state aviation agencyâs role and services â¢ Understanding what local actions require state involvement â¢ Advocating for state compatibility regulations â¢ Involving national/state aviation groups
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 35 If so, meet with the state legislator to express concerns and seek help with new legislation or to support more favorable legislation. â¢ Involve national/state airport managers groups and pilot groups. Aviation advocacy groups can support local initiatives in multiple ways. For one, if new state legislation is needed, statewide groups or state chapters of national groups can usually advocate more effectively than representatives from just one airport. These groups can advocate for funding to support state aviation agencies and their programs. Aviation advocacy groups can also provide support to local airport land use compatibility issues. Representatives are often available to attend local public meetings to support the adoption of AZOs and other compatibility measures and to oppose proposed development that would adversely affect the local airport. The list below identifies some national/state aviation groups. The following aviation groups may provide advocacy or support to airport managers or sponsors with airport land use compatibility issues: â¢ American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), â¢ Airports Council International (ACI), â¢ Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), â¢ Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), â¢ National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), â¢ National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and â¢ Bird Strike Committee USA (BSC USA). A fine example of actions a state can take to implement FAR Part 77 standards comes from Kentucky. In 1960, the state legislature established the Kentucky Airport Zoning Commission (KAZC) with powers to regulate airspace in and around public-use airports, heliports, and military airports in the state. Anyone proposing to construct or erect a structure that requires notification to the FAA in accordance with Subpart B of Part 77 or falls anywhere on the ground within an airport runwayâs primary surface or beneath an approach surface must also apply for a permit from the KAZC. The KAZC has been very successful in getting out word about these requirements primarily via airport managers, but also through organizations such as the state broadcastersâ association. The KAZC Administrator estimates applications are submitted for at least 95 percent of the structures for which a permit is required. In recent years, an average of about 500 applications were submitted with more than 75 percent involving temporary structures. To expedite the process for temporary structures, the Administrator is authorized to issue permits for structures that will be in existence for no more than four months. All other applications are taken to the Commission for action. Results of FAA Aeronautical Studies of proposed structures are central to KAZC decisions, but other airspace factors such as visual approach procedures can also be considered. As successful as the KAZC has been, a notable limitation to its authority should be recognized. The Commission only has authority over airspace obstacles. Other airspace protection concerns, such as landfills or detention basins that can attract birds and create hazards to flight are not within the KAZC purview. Other land use concerns, such as uses that support high concentrations of people or uses that would be susceptible to aircraft noise impacts are not addressed by the Commission. https://transportation.ky.gov/Aviation/Pages/airportzoning.aspx CASE STUDY NO. 1 KENTUCKY AIRPORT ZONING COMMISSIONâSTATE PERMITTING OF TALL STRUCTURES
36 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports Drafting Local Regulations and Getting Them Adopted Among the regulatory devices available to minimize compatibility conflicts between airports and nearby land use development, AZOs, such as airport overlay zones, are used most frequently. While the strategies in this section, and the Guidebook as a whole, focus on these devices, recognize that other regulatory tools can achieve similar purposes. For example, as described in Chapter 2, California requires most counties to have an ALUC whose duties include adoption of an ALUCP for each publicÂuse and military airport in the county and to review land use development proposals for consistency with the plan. Another example is Kentucky (Case Study No. 1), whose statewide Airport Zoning Commission has the authority to issue permits for tall structures near airports throughout the state. Adopting or amending an AZO or other regulatory device is a multiÂ part process that involves identifying the desired type and content of an ordinance, developing appropriate regulatory language, and securing adoption by the governing body. The airport manager or another airÂ port sponsor official may lead the process, as they understand airport operations and are usually most familiar with the effects of incompatible land uses on airport viability. Local land use planners may also take the initiative to formulate or advocate for an ordinance. The strateÂ gies discussed below can also be led by other community leaders; the airport manager and local planners are the most likely to spearhead the project. One important factor is whether the airport has a voice in community affairs or an advocate in the governing body or planning office. If so, that individual can help drive the effort to adopt compatibility zoning. If not, a campaign to build relationships may be needed before beginning the process to adopt an ordinance. To be accepted and effective, an AZO should reflect the legal, political, and community conÂ text of the locality. Some of these parameters include: â¢ State requirements for ordinance content, â¢ History of land use conflicts, â¢ Development pressures around the airport, â¢ Local administrative resources to implement an AZO, â¢ Attitude toward regulation, and â¢ Community awareness and support of airport. The steps toward adoption should include initiating discussions with stakeholders and working with the key members of the local jurisdiction to develop and refine the ordinance for the governing body to review and adopt. This effort should address not just the compatibility criteria to be provided in the ordinance, but also the process to be followed in implementing the ordinance and what entities will be responsible for this process. If a community already has an AZO on the books, but it is not effective or implemented consistently, the goal should be to forÂ mulate a more effective administration and enforcement procedure. New types of development applications and trends may also call for a more comprehensive ordinance dealing with concerns beyond height obstructions. This especially applies to locations close to the runway ends. It is easier to gain acceptance for an AZO if its purpose and criteria are written clearly and are easily understood by both the regulators and the affected community. UpÂtoÂdate maps specific to the airport and its environs are important components of the AZO because they will identify the extent of the regulated area and enable both project applicants and planning staff to determine whether a proposed project or property would be subject to the ordinance. Strategies for Drafting Local Compatibility Regulations â¢ Identifying why an AZO is needed â¢ Recognizing the logistics of producing an AZO â¢ Understanding key components of an effective AZO â¢ Assessing potential challenges to AZO support and adoption â¢ Engaging in a collaborative planning effort
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 37 To assist airport managers and local planners with the preparation of local airport compatibility regulations, each strategy presented in this section includes a series of questions. The answers to these questions will help to identify the appropriate form and adoption process for the proposed regulations. These strategies and questions also provide a systematic framework for examining the status of airport land use compatibility in the community. For ease of use, related questions are provided in a checklist format in Appendix C. Step 1: Identify Why an Ordinance Is Needed The development of an AZO should follow from a review of state requirements, land use decisions in the airport area, and the effects each of these has on airport operations. Specific community needs, conflicts, and complaints concerning airport operations may also contribute to the need for an AZO. Review recent land use actions and trends in the airport vicinity. â¢ Assess the status of obstructions. Have obstructions been constructed that required mitigation after the fact (Figure 3Â6)? Perhaps buildings or cell towers have intruded into the FAR Part 77 airspace without the airport operatorâs advance knowledge or trees have grown into the Part 77 airspace without any review. â¢ Assess the effects of obstructions. Have obstructions affected airport operations? Has the airport had to adopt changes in approach minimums, to limit operations, or to modify flight procedures in response to obstructions that were developed or approved by the jurisdiction? â¢ Consider development trends. Is development, particularly residential development, moving toward the airport? Does zoning in the airport vicinity encourage aviationÂrelated or indusÂ trial uses or does it allow inappropriate development in RPZs, contrary to FAA guidelines? Have variances been granted that bring sensitive uses close to the airport property? â¢ Evaluate noise complaints. Are noise complaints occurring? Have there been more calls into the airport or local government offices? Are complaints coming mostly from a particular location or associated with specific operations? Perhaps a change in wind patterns can cause aircraft to overfly areas where they do not often go. Also, certain types of operationsâhelicopters or unusually large aircraft, for exampleâmay generate the majority of complaints. Source: pxhere.com. Figure 3-6. Smokestacks present visual and height obstructions.
38 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports â¢ Understand the potential implications of future airport development plans. Is the airport considering expansion in facilities or operations? Will these changes affect where aircraft fly, the altitude that aircraft will fly above sensitive land uses (Figure 3Â7), or the mix of aircraft that operate at the airport? Is property acquisition contemplated to preserve a buffer around the airport? Is expansion likely to run into opposition or be a political target? Assess the existing system of land use review for airport impacts. â¢ Understand the land use development review process. Is airport management formally part of this process or unaware of nearby development proposals? Is the onus on airport personnel to scrutinize planning board agendas, look for cranes or new construction? Sometimes there is informal communication from planners to the airport manager, but it may not be routine or reliable. â¢ Review current land use regulations. Is there an existing ordinance that addresses airport land use compatibility? There may be an ordinance on the books already in response to state law or at the jurisdictionâs initiative. Is it working for the airport? â¢ Evaluate ordinance enforcement. Is the ordinance enforced? If so, how consistently and for which factors or ordinance components? If not, why not? Existing ordinances may not be effective in preventing compatibility conflicts if administration and enforcement responsibilities are not defined and codified. Reviews or permits required under an ordinance may also not be integrated into land use application procedures. â¢ Evaluate ordinance shortcomings. Should the ordinance be modified? The existing ordinance may be too limited, not addressing all the compatibility issues occurring in the community. For example, it may deal with Part 77 height limitations but not with restrictions on sensitive land uses or intrusions into RPZs. If there are development pressures in the community, the ordinance should be comprehensive, anticipating the effects of future growth. â¢ Review local comprehensive plans. More than one jurisdiction may control land uses around the airport. Does the comprehensive plan for each entity address airport preservation and compatible land use? Since ordinances are the legislative means to implementing a comÂ munityâs comprehensive plan, the plan should include specific goals and objectives to address the airport and its surrounding area and recognize that compatible land uses should be maintained around the airport. If those principles are not addressed, the airport sponsor and local planners should work to include them and provide the basis for new or revised AZO. Source: Getty Images. Figure 3-7. Example of flight above sensitive land uses.
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 39 A further concern is to examine how or if a comprehensive plan is integrated with the airportâs master plan or ALP. If they are not consistent, resolving those inconsistencies should be a priority for the airport sponsor and land use planner. Evaluate regulatory options. â¢ Are there ways to control compatibility other than with an AZO? In some states, land use permitÂ ting in airport influence areas is addressed at the state level (e.g., Maryland and Kentucky). In California, state statutes require Airport Land Use Commissions to create ALUCPs, which identify airport influence areas and define compatible land use policies and conduct consisÂ tency determinations for proposed projects. A state permit program does not have to preclude local ordinances, but it does provide another level of land use review. Some local ordinances require the state Division of Aviation to review permit requests or variances. Local ordinances offer some advantages because they are administered in the same jurisdiction as the proposed land use activity, can respond to specific local concerns, and include the airport that would be directly concerned about the potential impact. Step 2: Recognize the Logistics of Producing an AZO Even if consensus among stakeholders confirms the need for an AZO, several steps are necesÂ sary on the way to adoption and implementation. The ordinance must be drafted; reviewed by planning, legal and elected officials; subject to a public hearing; debated; and adopted. Drafting the ordinance. â¢ Determine who will take the lead. The airport sponsor may succeed in generating support for the ordinance, but the local agency or agencies that control land uses will finalize the language. Planners are sometimes charged with developing ordinance language, which is then reviewed by the jurisdictionâs legal counsel. In some jurisdictions, the legal staff will draft the ordiÂ nance and provide it to the planning staff to determine consistency with the comprehensive plan and other criteria. The sponsor should be aware of the local process, maintain contact, and participate or provide comments during development of the draft ordinance. â¢ Decide if consulting expertise required. Smaller towns may not have fullÂtime planners or attorneys and instead will need to engage consulting experts to produce the ordinance. Where consulting planners are used for regular planning business, the AZO sponsor should make contact early in the collaborative planning process. â¢ Provide examples. Developing the ordinance can be expedited if the sponsor has a draft or model ordinance as a template for the municipality. ACRP Report 27 offers a detailed example. Your state may also have a model ordinance. If not, many states provide them. Appendix B has additional references. Be aware of funding issues and challenges. When introducing the idea of an AZO, the sponsor may hear concerns about additional costs that would be imposed on the jurisdiction to develop and implement the ordinance. â¢ Cost of ordinance preparation. If the ordinance is not drafted by inÂhouse staff, the jurisÂ diction may need to hire a consultant. Broad support for the concept and its benefits may encourage the jurisdiction to engage a consultant. To reduce cost, the sponsor can provide examples or model ordinances to the consultant. â¢ Costs of mapping. Accurate maps of the overlay area will contribute to the effectiveness of the ordinance. If outside resources are required, they may be available from the state and/or the FAA. If a consultant was used to produce the ALP, that firm may be able to provide the overlay map quickly and easily.
40 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports â¢ Costs of implementation. The proposed AZO should be drafted to reflect the jurisdictionâs ability to administer it without requiring additional staff. However, zoning and planning personnel may require training to become familiar with airport issues. The state aviation agency may be able to assist with this effort. Step 3: Understanding Key Components of an Effective Ordinance As described in Chapter 2, an AZO can be structured using a variety of formats. Choosing the appropriate form/format will depend on how the ordinance will fit into the existing code and the resources available to formulate and administer the regulations. Options include: â¢ An airport zone, which identifies an area that may include airport property and/or surrounding land. The ordinance will identify permitted and prohibited uses and other limitations, â¢ An airport overlay zone, which identifies an airport influence area subject to additional criteria beyond the underlying zoning district, or â¢ Specific restrictions included in applicable sections of the zoning code. For example, height/obstruction restrictions could appear in a section on height limitations, restrictions on stormwater ponds and wildlife attractants could be located in sections dealing with onÂsite stormwater management obligations, and noise issues could be in a performance standards section. Conventional or underlying zoning in an airport influence area should, among other means, address airport land use compatibility by promoting aviationÂcompatible uses, such as comÂ mercial and industrial development, in the airport vicinity. However, many issues other than permitted uses need to be addressed. As stated previously, project research indicates that the airport overlay zone is the most frequently used form of compatibility ordinance, and this form is recommended because it provides clarity and adaptability (see example in Figure 3Â8). Airport overlay zones provide additional or supplemental restrictions or conditions to those that already apply to the area of the underlying zoning district. The airport overlay zone restrictions or conditions apply only to the designated overlay area, or the area in which the airport comÂ patibility factors are applicable. The overlay area may include only a portion of the underlying district or include more than one underlying district. To advocate for preparing and adopting an AZO, it will be important to have a template or basic format that identifies the critical elements that should be included in the ordinance. The template will provide a basis for discussion with stakeholders and identify the components that are most significant to the airport. Appendix F of this Guidebook explains the recommended elements to be included in an AZO and provides references to other ACRP reports and state guidance that identify criteria that can be included. Know the state framework. As previously stated, 45 states have airport compatibility statutes that recognize the importance of airspace protection. Understanding the state laws is an important first step in determining the appropriate elements of your local ordinance. â¢ Review state statutes. What statute(s), if any, address airport compatibility? Some states have one or more specific laws that address the need to promote airport land use compatibility. The statutes may be included with other statutes that govern the aviation department or division, zoning enabling, or other topic areas. If the source is not clear, contact the state aviation agency to clarify where to find the statute. â¢ Evaluate regulatory options. Is there a statutory requirement to adopt local AZOs or is doing so permissive? Some states require that municipalities within airport influence areas adopt compatibility zoning. Such mandates provide a rationale to introduce the concept of AZOs An airport influence area is the area or areas in which current or future airport-related noise, overflight, safety, and/or airspace protection factors may significantly affect land uses or necessitate restrictions on those uses.
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 41 to the community, and they can be particularly important if noncompliance results in the risk of legal action or other penalties, such as losing some state funding. State mandates are an important lever for the airport manager to use to bring the need for airport compatibility zoning to a city or countyâs attention. Even if there is inactive enforcement, the presence and reference to a state requirement may lend some weight, as state resources could be used to reinforce the airportâs position. Permissive state laws authorize local jurisdictions to adopt AZOs but do not require it. Permissive laws may not have the urgency of mandates, but they still set out the purpose and goals to communicate and build support for compatibility zoning. Permissive laws can still provide a template for local consideration and adoption. Many states have developed land use compatibility guidelines. The ordinance should respond to both state requirements and local concerns. â¢ Examine state guidelines. Are there guidelines that pertain to airport land use compatibility? If so, is there a model ordinance? Many states provide a model ordinance as part of the law Source: City of Frederick, Maryland, GIS map, 2005. Figure 3-8. Example airport overlay district zones.
42 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports or regulations or within guidance documents. Those laws may dictate the required elements of an ordinance. In addition, there may be a stateÂspecific land use guidebook that outlines principles to consider in preparing an ordinance. Reviewing these documents will provide a basis for considering what must be included or could be included for your proposed ordiÂ nance. If there is no guidance available in your state, templates are available from other states and ACRP Report 27 (see Appendices A and B). â¢ Evaluate ordinance conformity with state mandates. If there is an ordinance, does it meet state content requirements? Has it received a required state endorsement or approval? Certain states may also require state review and approval of local ordinances. Comparing the ordinance to the state statute may show whether there is an opportunity to bring the ordinance into conformance and improve its effectiveness. Make the ordinance context specific. An AZO can be basic or complex depending on the scope of compatibility topics addressed. To gain support and effective enforcement, the elements included should respond to the characteristics of the community and the needs of the airport. The level of development activity, potential for obstructions, and character of the airport setting can inform the specific controls to be set forth in an ordinance. â¢ Review current issues and plan ahead. The strategies listed here together with the SelfÂ Assessment Checklists in Appendix C will help to point out the issues that the ordinance should respond to. However, it is also important to look to the future. For example, lowÂ density land uses or agriculture may surround the airport, but there may be trends that indicate interest in multiÂfamily development, cell towers, or other potential conflict. Those interviewed during the research for this Guidebook often cited the need to be proactive with compatibility zoning to prevent conflicts rather than reactive when conflicts occur. â¢ Identify the relevant compatibility topics to include. Chapter 2 listed four chief concerns that can be addressed by AZOs. These include: â Airspace protection, â Safety hazards (Figure 3Â9), â Noise impacts, and â Overflight annoyance. These concerns represent the topics that should be considered for inclusion in an AZO. If an airport is in a rural setting, airspace protection may be the only factor of concern. Source: pixabay.com, 2014. Figure 3-9. Visual and height obstructions are safety hazards.
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 43 If an airport is in an urbanizing area, other factors should be considered, such as safety and noise. â¢ Consider the political environment. The local political environment will likely affect what topics the ordinance addresses and the degree of regulation to be established. If there is general resistance to regulation, significant groundwork may be needed to point out the benefits of compatibility zoning in terms of safety and economic development. The political environment may be closely related to the community standing of the airport. If there is an adversarial relationship among the airport, surrounding community, and elected officials, that relationship should be mended before starting the AZO discussion. â¢ Identify implementation resources. Are administrative resources available to implement the ordinance? As a final point on context, the resources available at the local level should be considered when determining the complexity of a proposed ordinance. In rural areas with limited staff, an ordinance containing detailed tables to determine permitted land uses may not be properly followed due to time constraints. The sponsor should encourage training of the local officials who would administer the ordinance as part of the adoption effort. Make the ordinance clear and comprehensive. â¢ Make the ordinance transparent and understandable to the regulated community. Discussions of airspace can be technical. For an ordinance to be effective, its requirements and standards must be clear to both the applicants who proposed projects in the airport influence area and the administrators responsible for enforcement. â¢ Include all essential elements in one location. The AZO should be as complete and selfÂcontained as possible. It will most likely be included in the overall zoning code and can refer to other parts of the local code and state or federal regulations as necessary, but should be complete with definitions, standards, permitting, procedures, and implementation. Essential elements of an AZO are discussed further in Appendix F. Define the Part 77 airspace protection area and AZO boundary. The most common priority addressed by AZOs is the protection of airspace from obstructions. Every airport, regardless of its urban or rural setting, must prevent obstructions to navigable airspace and hazards to aircraft operations. AZOs should be based on the 14 CFR Part 77 airspace protection surfaces defined by the FAA. The ordinance should establish height limitations to prevent the construcÂ tion of objects that would penetrate those surfaces such as buildings, signs, cell towers, or other structures (Figure 3Â10). These limitations also would apply to trees that may require trimming Crowded by utility poles. Source: Wikimedia.org. Figure 3-10. Power lines could penetrate Part 77 surface.
44 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports or removal. The ordinance must make clear that temporary objects, such as construction cranes, are subject to the ordinance. â¢ Use the Part 77 definitions of airspace protection surfaces. Because the Part 77 regulations are the uniform basis for establishing airspace protection areas, definitions in the ordinance should be consistent with the definitions provided in the most recent version of federal regulations. This should be checked independently, as model ordinances may have been developed using an earlier version of Part 77. Many local ordinances use the same language used in FAAâs model ordinance, which was issued in 1987, to describe the surfaces and approach zones and the pertinent height limitations. A link to the FAAâs model is included in Appendix B. â¢ Define height limitations. The ordinance should identify the maximum allowable heights (i.e., height for which permits or variances are not required). â¢ Include maps and graphics. A picture is worth a thousand words. Diagrams of the imaginary surfaces and the horizontal limits of the overlay zone are helpful. The ordinance will be more effective if a property owner can clearly see whether his site falls within the overlay zone. Also useful is a map that compares Part 77 surface elevations with ground elevations, resulting in indication of the allowable height of objects within the airport influence area (see Figure 3Â5 above). â¢ Address the FAA 7460 Notice Process. The AZO should specify how FAA Form 7460 notices factor into ordinance compliance and permits. The 7460 form is a notice that project proponents must submit to the FAA when proposing construction or an alteration that may affect navigable airspace. The FAA will conduct an Aeronautical Study and determine whether the proposed object would represent a hazard or âNo Hazard to Air Navigation.â The AZO should require that a copy of the notice sent to the FAA be included in any land use application and require the FAA determination prior to any decision. To allow all local issues to be considered, the FAA decision should not be the final word on compliance with the local ordinance, but it should be considered as a component of the application review. Appendix G provides a stepÂbyÂstep guide on how to submit FAA Form 7460Â1 online. This form should be made available to those submitting development proposals. â¢ Define the overall AZO boundary. For most GA airports, the boundary of the Part 77 airspace will be the most geographically extensive compatibility factor defining the airport influence area and thus will determine the overall boundary of the AZO. Nevertheless, other compatÂ ibility factors should be considered and, in some cases, may affect the AZO boundary. Consider other compatibility factors. Though paramount, airspace obstruction is not the only topic that may be addressed in an AZO. Based on local conditions and needs, the AZO could address the following: â¢ Restrict uses that may attract wildlife in the vicinity of the airport. Uses such as stormwater detention ponds, landfills, and landscape water features can increase the risk of wildlife strikes or attract hazardous wildlife to navigable airspace and aircraft movement areas (Figure 3Â11). â¢ Prevent navigation hazards. Uses that can adversely affect navigation through generating glare (Figure 3Â11), smoke emissions, confusing lights, or electronic interference should be prohibited. â¢ Avoid noise-sensitive uses. Noise is typically a concern in more developed or growing areas. Noise standards can be addressed as part of an AZO, though a separate noise overlay zone is sometimes delineated. This can be based on a certain dayÂnight level noise contour, such as 65 DNL, and prohibit the development of new noiseÂsensitive land uses within the contour, such as schools and hospitals. Noise contours should not be the basis of an airport overlay zone district delineation by themselves, but they can be considered within the overlay area that is developed based on Part 77 surfaces and/or zones based on safety hazards. Proactive
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 45 planning to limit noiseÂsensitive uses in growing areas will protect the airport and reduce community impacts. â¢ Minimize risks on the ground. Ordinance elements that address land use types around the airport are aimed at reducing risks to people on the ground in the event of an aircraft accident. Typically, highÂintensity land uses are restricted in certain areas that are vulnerable to an aircraft accident (see Figure 3Â12). For example, an ordinance may identify permitted and prohibited land uses in RPZs. Guidelines from the FAA discourage all development in RPZs, Source: pixabay.com, 2017. Figure 3-11. Water features increase wildlife and navigation hazards. Source: Google Earth, 2018. Potomac Airfield, MD. Runway Residential Street Figure 3-12. Example of conflict in compatibility of land use.
46 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports especially places in which people congregate. Because risks also exist beyond RPZs, AZOs should consider limiting land use intensities and avoiding highÂrisk uses in additional areas. An airport located in a developing or densifying area is likely to benefit from these more comprehensive zoning restrictions. â¢ Anticipate and address overflight annoyance. Airports located in areas subject to residential growth may be vulnerable to increased complaints about noise and overflight. With foresight, these issues can be addressed by requiring buyer awareness measures, such as avigation easeÂ ments, recorded overflight notifications, or real estate transaction disclosures, when residential development is permitted in proximity to the airport or flight paths (see Figure 3Â12). For more information about these buyer awareness measures and examples of typical language used in them, see Appendix H. Include procedures for administering the ordinance. â¢ Include specific land use referral procedures. The ordinance should specify that applications to the local planning board or Planning Commission for property situated in the airport overlay zone should be referred to airport management for review and comment. The applicant can send a copy of the land use application directly to the airport office or the planning board can provide a copy. Proof should be provided that a copy was sent to the airport management for review. The ordinance should establish a commentÂresponse timeframe. Case Study No. 2 describes an example. Additional referrals could include state aviation agency and FAA notification (7460 process). â¢ Set up processes for permits and variances. Typically, the AZO establishes an area (the airport overlay zone) in which proposed projects require special permits. This allows local agencies to determine whether a land use development proposal complies with the ordinance or requires certain conditions to be acceptable. The AZO should include procedures for variances if an application cannot comply with the standards of the zone. Specific criteria for granting the variance, such as marking obstructions or mitigating hazards, can be included in the ordinance. â¢ Identify potential mitigation measures for the issuance of permits and variances. The ordinance can identify certain conditions required for the approval of permits or variances such as sound insulation, occupancy restrictions, hazardous storage prohibitions, or avigation easements. â¢ Identify enforcement and review responsibilities. The ordinance should be clear on what office or individual (position) will review and grant permits. Those responsible should have training or familiarity with airport issues and understand the objectives of the AZO. Potential reviewers could include a zoning or planning officer or a specific airport zoning administrator. Review responsibilities could also be assigned to the airport sponsor or manager. â¢ Integrate the overlay zone requirements with land use application materials and checklists. For effective implementation, land use application forms and checklists should identify the AZO. Application information should enable an applicant or reviewer to determine whether the proposed project is within the overlay area and, if so, identify the specific information that will be required from the applicant to assess compliance, such as height of proposed structures above mean sea level and the airport runway elevation. â¢ Remember to address temporary structures or building reuse. The ordinance should make clear that it applies to temporary structures, such as cranes, and the reuse of existing structures. In the latter case, applications must be reviewed to make sure that the proposed reuse is compatible with the airport and does not violate safety or noise standards. Step 4: Assess Potential Challenges to AZO Support and Adoption While an airport sponsor or manager readily understands the value of an airport compatÂ ibility ordinance, other community members or stakeholders may not share that understanding
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 47 of the AZO and land use compatibility goals (see Case Study No. 3). Nonaviation stakeholders may regard an ordinance as just another layer of regulation that hinders growth or adds to bureaucracy. The sponsor of an AZO should anticipate potential opposition and be proactive in dispelling rumors or clarifying misunderstandings. Review community context and the airportâs standing. Community context is a recurring theme in this Guidebook, as the attitude of the community toward the airport can determine the success or failure of the ordinance adoption effort. â¢ Improve relationships with stakeholders. If adversarial relationships exist between the airport and either the governing body or surrounding community, improve those connections before an AZO effort begins. For example, if there are frequent complaints or a perception that the airport disregards community concerns, new administrative procedures or staff to respond to complaints can be instituted and publicized. Airport compatibility planning is most effective when community stakeholders work together to identify common goals and achieve consensus. The Frederick Municipal Airport Master Plan Update, which concluded in 2008, exemplifies a successful collaboration process. Airport staff and members of the Airport Commission, as well as the City Planning Department, interested citizens, airport tenants, and the FAA worked on the master plan together. A Master Plan Technical Committee was formed to monitor the planning process and review alternatives for airport development. Frederickâs unique system of Neighborhood Advisory Committees also played a role in public participation. The comprehensive final plan set the stage for a 20-year capital improvement program based on a review and projection of airport demands and facility needs. The master plan encompassed issues of land use compatibility and noise impact and analyzed the Part 77 surfaces. Proposed land acquisition and avigation easements were identified. Members of the Airport Commission and Planning office developed the cityâs airport overlay ordinance during the master plan update and integrated the ordinance with the site plan review process. A notable result of the master plan has been an obstruction removal program using funding through the capital improvement program directed at property acquisition and the removal of obstructions to maintain safe navigation conditions. The airport continues to address compatibility through detailed wildlife hazard assessments. CASE STUDY NO. 2 FREDERICK MUNICIPAL AIRPORT, MARYLANDâSUCCESSFUL COLLABORATION Frederick Municipal Airport. Source: Google Earth, 2015.
48 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports An important point emerging from the project research is that the effectiveness of airport compatibility zoning improves if the airport, local government, and community have mutual goals. In general, these goals center on economic development attracted by airport operations. When the airport is viewed by all as an asset to economic growth, complaints are likely to be limited and compatibility zoning is likely to be accepted. The Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE) in Pennsylvania provides a good example of mutual benefit. PNE is owned by the city of Philadelphia, which facilitates communication between the city planning office and airport management. The airport is in a challenging urban setting and nearly surrounded by development. While commercial and light-industrial uses are adjacent to the airport, a single-family residential area abuts the southeastern airport boundary. The airport opened in its current form in the 1940s and has long been part of the urban fabric. The airport was much more active 20 years ago, with three flight schools, now reduced to one. The airport and city are concerned with supporting and increasing airport customers and tenants. Airport tenants provide a significant source of jobs. Leonardo Helicopter, located at the airport, employs 700. Lower Far Northeast District Plan. The Division of Aviation was represented on the Plan Steering Committee. The Plan recommended a combined effort by the city Division of Aviation and Commerce Department to pursue strategies to better position PNE to attract new business and support aviation related industries. The Plan also recommended a change from Light Industrial Zoning to a Special Purpose Airport district, comparable to Philadelphia International Airport, and the preservation of industrially zoned land from encroachment by use variances. The Philadelphia Zoning Code uses an Airport Hazard Control Overlay District that references the Part 77 surfaces and prohibits exceedance of those standards. Any application for variance from those standards requires notice to the Division of Aviation prior to a hearing and notice as well to PennDot. While the ordinance does not explicitly address other land use compatibility factors, communication with the Planning Commission staff fosters informal airport staff review and comment of land use proposals in the Overlay District. According to the project interviews, both planners and airport operators believe the current system is working well to prevent conflicts and to mitigate them when they may occur. Airport management is concerned with community relationships and maintains contact with local civic groups, including the Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. A walking path was developed around the perimeter of the airport which is used by many in the nearby residential neighborhood. Notwithstanding the urban surroundings of residential, school and health care uses, noise complaints are limited to a few inquiries annually. CASE STUDY NO. 3 NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA AIRPORT, PENNSYLVANIAâFINDING MUTUAL GOALS The Philadelphia Planning Commissionâs Philadelphia 2035 Comprehensive Plan highlighted the airport in its
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 49 â¢ Stress the economic importance of airport operations. As discussed earlier in this chapter, underpinning the need for the AZO is the protection of the airportâs business. Outreach articulating the number of jobs, tax revenue, or other direct and indirect economic impact of the airport will set the stage for communicating the importance of the AZO. Illustrating a specific past or potential incompatible land use impact example on operations and local business may also assist in communicating the airportâs economic importance. Anticipate opposing arguments. The AZO sponsor should be ready to respond to opposition (Figure 3Â13). Knowing the community and key individuals and their likely positions on the issue will let the sponsor prepare responses. â¢ Address fears of expansion. The community may perceive the proposed AZO as a way to allow the airport to expand, host larger aircraft, and create more or greater impacts. To dispel these perceptions, clarify from the start of the process what the airportâs plan proposes. If the airport is contemplating growth, the AZO should be positioned as a way to maintain safety and prevent community impacts. â¢ Respond to development concerns. Development interests in the community may view the AZO as discouraging real estate activity. This can be challenging if, for example, a prominent business owns land in the RPZ or in other locations where development restrictions would be applied. An effective argument may be that protecting the airportâs viability will maintain economic development opportunities. Curtailing operations could have a negative effect on the local economy. In addition, without appropriate controls, risks to safety may dampen local real estate markets in the long run. â¢ Educate the community. The community may not be aware of the implications of incompatible uses and obstructions. The what, why, and how of the AZO should be clearly communicated with a consistent message (refer to Chapter 2). Although a state mandate should be identified, the outreach and education efforts should focus on the benefits of an AZO to: â Prevent obstructions that are safety hazards to pilots, â Reduce harm to people and property on the ground in the event of aircraft accidents (see Figures 3Â14 and 3Â15), â Reduce community impacts from noise or other factors, and â Preserve the ability of the airport to maintain its operations and continue its role in the community. Source: Mead & Hunt. Figure 3-13. Overcome opposition by anticipating fears and concerns.
50 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports â¢ Address overregulation concerns. Some communities or individuals regard any regulation, particularly those mandated from above, as a personal infringement. To counter this perÂ spective, the AZO sponsor can point out that airport compatibility zoning is a tool used nationwide to prevent conflicts between airport operations and other land uses. Also, it can be noted that the AZO will be developed as a simple rule that will be easy to understand and implement. Nevertheless, to minimize these concerns, the AZO should be drafted while keeping in mind the level of regulation acceptable to the community. An AZO draft proposing conditions that are too restrictive may be so strongly opposed that it never gets adopted. Plane crash. Source: Flickr.com. Figure 3-15. Incompatible land use endangers people and property. Source: PublicDomainPictures.net Figure 3-14. Compatible land use protects people, pilots, and property.
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 51 Also, even if it is adopted, litigation claiming it constitutes inverse condemnation could result. (For more on this topic, see Appendix B, ACRP Legal Research Digest 5.) Encourage reciprocal ordinances in surrounding jurisdictions. Airport compatibility zoning can be complex when the relevant airspace protection zones or other compatibility factors extend beyond a single jurisdiction. In multiple cases studied for this Guidebook, the application of an ordinance adopted by the jurisdiction owning the airport ended at the jurisdictionâs boundary, regardless of the extent of the airport influence area. An adjacent county or municipality may not have the same perception of the airport or the need for airport compatibility zoning. The effectiveness of an ordinance is reduced if not all the affected area is subject to the same or comparable regulations. A key element in pursuing strategies that cross jurisdictions is education. Explain why airport compatibility zoning protects the safety of aircraft operators and the community, preserves airport viability, and reduces community impacts. State aviation officials should assist in explaining the benefit of such ordinances, particularly if a statute authorizes or requires local airport compatibility zoning. In general, the best framework for developing a successful multiÂ jurisdictional or extraterritorial ordinance or agreement includes: â¢ Communicating a clear rationale for compatibility zoning, â¢ Maintaining existing or establishing new lines of communication between the initiating agency or jurisdiction and other jurisdictions, â¢ Establishing mutual trust, â¢ Identifying common goals for airport and economic development, and â¢ Recognizing that the airport is an asset worth protecting. ACRP Legal Research Digest 14 provides several examples of interlocal agreements with different structures and objectives. â¢ Pursue comparable ordinances in adjacent municipalities. If land within the area covered by an airportâs Part 77 airspace protection surfaces or other compatibility factors extends outside the sponsorâs jurisdiction, advocacy by the staff and elected officials of the airport sponsor may increase the chance of the neighboring jurisdictions adopting the ordinance. If relations are generally positive among the jurisdictions and channels of communication among their planners are open, parallel ordinances may be established to be mutually beneficial. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) that acknowledges the benefits of airport comÂ patibility zoning and sets a time frame for formulating and adopting matching ordinances may be useful in starting this process. A consensus regarding airport compatibility controls can also be set forth in an interlocal agreement. Such agreements establish reciprocal zoning between municipalities and entail other parties, such as the airport authority and other land use jurisdictions. In pursuing these arrangements, the sponsor should be aware that many municipalities have a strong home rule orientation and may look upon the proposal as an attempt to usurp its authority. Step 5: Engage in a Collaborative Planning Effort Ideally, developing and adopting an AZO should be a collaborative project through which key stakeholders review alternatives and achieve consensus on an ordinance that is workable, acceptable to the community, and achieves the goals of protecting the airport and maintainÂ ing safety. Providing the opportunity to discuss the proposed AZO will encourage buyÂin and increase the likelihood of consensus as to the form, content, and implementation of the ordinance. Determine a context specific planning effort. In smaller towns or rural areas, a collaboraÂ tive process may be less formal and involve fewer participants. The local political situation may
52 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports also influence how the planning effort is initiated. Where development is contentious or airport relations with the community are complicated, it may be best to move cautiously and take the time to talk oneÂonÂone with stakeholders to gain input before proceeding. â¢ Initiate discussions with the land use planner. The local planning director will be an imporÂ tant ally and starting point for the AZO sponsor to introduce the concept in an initial meeting. While the planner may not be familiar with the details of airport operations or the Part 77 surfaces, he or she should be aware of previous airspace conflicts or noise issues. The planner should be encouraged to view the airport as part of the community and share concerns about proliferation of incompatible land uses or patterns of development that result in conflicts or complaints. If the comprehensive plan speaks to development goals in and around the airport, it will be a touchstone for a conversation about implementing those goals with the AZO. Conversations with the local planner will alert the sponsor to the schedule for revising or updating a comprehensive plan, which could be a vehicle for introducing the AZO. â¢ Identify other key stakeholders to involve in the AZO. The ordinance will be voted on by elected officials who may hear feedback from their constituents before deciding. The planÂ ning process can benefit from including other stakeholders, as discussed in the following Outreach Strategies section. Constituents can include airport users, members of the governÂ ing body, economic development agencies, neighborhood groups, or special interest groups. If there is a state statute mandating or authorizing AZOs, a state aviation representative can also participate. The sponsor should be aware that a greater number of participants will result in a longer planning processes. â¢ Be prepared to explain the need for and benefits of the AZO. While the planner may quickly understand the nature of ordinances and impacts of incompatible land use, others may be not be familiar with the concept. The airport manager can point to past occurrences of land use conflicts, complaints, or impacts on airport operations as illustrations of the hazards of inaction. â¢ Identify common goals. Can all constituents agree on goals to grow the community economy and enhance community livability? If so, airport protection could be important for achievÂ ing those goals. Maintaining aviation safety and reducing risks by restricting land use conÂ ditions that could pose hazard to flight should be principles that are agreeable to stakeholders as well. The stakeholders should share the goal of avoiding conflicts, even if they do not underÂ stand the details of approach and departure patterns. â¢ Provide a draft or model ordinance for reference. Discussions will be more productive if they are grounded in a basic proposal of elements to be included in the ordinance. An illustration of the proposed overlay area is equally important. â¢ Contact the governing body. If the planner agrees with the concept and rationale for the AZO, the planner may agree to set up a meeting with key officials to explain the proposal. Engage those charged with adoption of the ordinance as early in the process as possible. If the airport manager already has established a good line of communication with an elected official, the manager should reach out to the official directly. â¢ Find a champion. Promotion of the AZO should not come only from the airport manager or sponsor. AZO support should be broadÂbased and positioned as a benefit to the community, not just the airport. The AZO sponsor should try to identify an individual who can publicly support the AZO and help to pursue its adoption. â¢ Work out differences. Disagreements about the scope and details of the proposed AZO are likely. A stakeholder group or committee offers a forum to discuss and achieve consensus following effective compromises before presenting the proposal to the governing body. Successful cooperation among the stakeholders, governing body, planners, and the airÂ port sponsor should produce an ordinance that addresses community needs and gains acceptance.
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 53 Implementing the Regulations Adoption of an airport compatibility ordinance is only the beginÂ ning. The results of project research indicate that the most important component of an effective ordinance is not the ordinance language, but implementation and enforcement. In many instances, municipalities adopt ordinances, especially when required by a state mandate, but neglect to enforce the ordinance or refer development applications to the airport for review and comment. In other cases, personal communiÂ cation between the local planner and airport manager takes the place of formal implementation procedures. While the airport certainly benefits from those close relationships, personnel may change. It is important to have established procedures that maintain interaction between local planners and airport staff. Once an ordinance is adopted, the relevant jurisdiction will be responsible for implementing it. The AZO sponsor or advocate should consider the following items while the ordinance is being drafted. Following adoption, that individual might not have an active role but would be able to followÂup to verify that the ordiÂ nance is administered effectively. Ensure that the ordinance contains procedural details for administration. â¢ Identify the office or individual responsible for compliance review, zoning permits, and land use review. A zoning code officer or special airport zoning officer is usually assigned the responÂ sibility for authorizing permits for proposed projects in the AZO. Sometimes a building code official or an airport authority will be charged with administering the ordinanceâit depends on the local institutional framework. The AZO sponsor may identify or recommend the bestÂsuited department or agency to take responsibility for implementation. â¢ Identify the role of the planning office or planning board staff. The planning office should be responsible for referring applications for development in the airport overlay zone to airport personnel for review and comment. Staff should also review the application to determine whether any special conditions should be required or variances are needed. The AZO sponsor should discuss this role with the planners prior to adoption. Establish lines of communication. â¢ Codify review procedures. Airport management review is essential to knowledgeable enforceÂ ment of the ordinance, supplementing zoning and planning review. While there may be frequent, personal communication between the airport manager and ordinance adminisÂ trators, staff changes or reorganization may disrupt informal communications. Referral to the airport should be codified in project review procedural policies, application documents, and completeness checklists. Monitor implementation. â¢ Identify the trusted resource. The airport manager or sponsor should be the âgoÂtoâ resource for airport compatibility questions. Airport management involvement and technical input is essential not just during AZO preparation but also following adoption through ongoing outreach and engagement among the airport manager, community, and planning office. â¢ Check how the system is working. An airport representative should consult the zoning administrator periodically to identify how many permits or variances have been proposed or granted to make sure applications are not being processed without input from airport management. Strategies for Implementing Compatibility Regulations â¢ Ensuring the AZO includes procedural details for administration â¢ Establishing lines of communication â¢ Monitoring implementation â¢ Providing implementation tools â¢ Being alert for potential future compatibility conflicts
54 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports â¢ Be responsive. The airport manager should respond to applications within the designated time frame. Discussion with the planner or zoning official will reinforce the airport management role and support the planning review process following ordinance adoption. Provide implementation tools. A clear map of the overlay zone and airport influence area is perhaps the most basic tool to facilitate ordinance implementation review. Modern technology is providing new tools to make implementation of AZOs more effective. Map preparation and development of software tools should be included in the AZO preparation process and updated as necessary. â¢ Use state resources. The state may have GIS information or maps for the areas near airports. The GIS information can be used as a component of the ordinance and assist with implementation. â¢ Provide online GIS resources. Project sponsors can use publicly available online tools to determine whether their property is included in an airport overlay zone. Planning or zoning departments can use the same tools to determine applicability to the overlay zone and any supplemental requirements. â¢ Check what other states are doing. Some states are using innovative tools to help determine airport compatibility. South Carolina is testing a Compatible Land Use Evaluation (CLUE) Tool, which provides an interactive online mapping system to streamline the process of notification and review of projects within the Airport Safety and Land Use Zones established under state statute (see Case Study No. 4). Be alert for potential future compatibility conflicts. â¢ Prevention is better than mitigation. Anticipate what types of development may occur around the airport and where it may occur. Know the trends and the stakeholders involved. Seek to get potentially incompatible land uses located where they do not conflict with the airport while compatible uses such as industrial are close by. Avoid accepting the argument that the use will be compatible because of mitigation measures included to minimize the conflicts. â¢ Watch out for competing objectives. Sometimes very worthwhile local or regional objectives may conflict with those of airport compatibility. Work with the stakeholders to consider potential mitigation or other measures that might allow the project to move forward while ensuring that the objectives reflect the constraints of airport compatibility. Do this before a site for the incompatible development is chosen close to the airport (see Case Study No. 5). Reaching Out to the Community Underlying virtually all the preceding strategies is one common topic: communication. Good communication among all stakeholders is essential to effective airport land use compatibility programs and measures. Those who know the importance of airport land use compatibility need to be at the forefront of this communication, both to bring an awareness of the topic to others and to be alert for land use actions that could be detrimental to the airport. â¢ Be proactive/anticipate issues. Do not wait for conflicts to arise between the airport and future land use development; get strategies in place to prevent conflicts or at least to minimize their consequences. â¢ Identify airport compatibility champions. Know who the influential supporters of the airport are in your community. Representatives from major businesses that rely upon the airport for transportation can be critical airport advocates. Encourage local pilotsâ groups to get involved or help form one if none exists. Keep local decision makers in the loop regarding compatibility issues. Strategies for Community Outreach â¢ Being proactive/anticipating issues â¢ Identifying airport compatibility champions/supporters â¢ Identifying other stakeholders â¢ Using a wide range of communication channels
Enacted in 2012, Title 55, Section 55-13-5 of the South Carolina State Code of Laws placed a regulatory mandate on SCAC to monitor land use development activity around the stateâs airports. The law requires that certain development applications in SCAC-specified Airport Safety Zones and Airport Land Use Zones be submitted by local government planning, zoning, and building permit officials to SCAC for review and comment. SCAC developed an agency outreach program and web-based GIS tool to help implement the new law. Agency Outreach: Since the new law required cooperation and compliance by local planners, SCAC hosted educational workshops for airport managers and planners from counties and cities around the state. SCAC worked with the aviation community and the South Carolina chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) to identify key stakeholders and to bring awareness to the new law. SCAC also made presentations at the annual state aviation conference and the annual conference of the South Carolina APA chapter. GIS Solution: SCAC used GIS data to create template maps of airspace and land use zones that illustrate existing and future conditions for every publicly owned airport in the state. SCAC also designed an interactive web-based application to assist the public and local planning officials in understanding airspace and land use compatibility near airports. SCAC developed two application platforms, one for the public and the other for local planning officials. The public version of the interactive tool allows a user to evaluate a "test case" development proposal against FAA and SCAC standards. If a development project is proposed in one of the SCAC-defined Airport Safety Zones or Airport Land Use Zones, the user is prompted to fill out a screening questionnaire. The output report provides information to help the user understand the compatibility restrictions for each zone, the triggers for SCAC review, and coordination requirements with local permitting officials. The compatibility report is provided for informational purposes and is not submitted to or saved with SCAC. However, the user is encouraged to print the compatibility report and share it with the local permitting official. The intent of the web-based tool is to enable a project proponent to determine if the proposed development concept will impact the surrounding airport airspace or the land use zones before investing significant resources in the project. The initial compatibility assessment pinpoints the areas of conflict with SCAC criteria so that the project proponent can identify where changes to the development proposal may be warranted or what variances might be needed from local land use officials. The secured portion of the tool allows local planners to log in and process permit applications for a formal airspace and land use compatibility determination. Each case is submitted, evaluated, and sent to SCAC staff for final review and consistency determination, similar to the FAAâs 7460 process. This portion of the tool is intended to supplement local zoning ordinances and, in some cases, may identify gaps in those ordinances such as population density and wildlife attractants. SCACâs strategic efforts to educate and provide convenient implementation tools to airports and land use planning officials have enabled the SCAC to make significant progress in achieving its mission to protect the stateâs aviation system from encroachment. The outreach effort to local jurisdictions, which included early coordination and regular communication, built trust and acceptance by local planning officials, some of whom have become local champions of airport-compatible land use management. SCAC continues to enhance the airport compatibility program by providing clarification on airspace matters (e.g., Part 77 vs. Threshold Siting Surface) and minimum zoning ordinance standards (e.g., inclusion of RPZs). CASE STUDY NO. 4, SOUTH CAROLINA AERONAUTICS COMMISSION (SCAC) - USING TECHNOLOGY TO COLLABORATE WITH COMMUNITIES Source: http://www.scaeronautics.com/CLUE/TrialArea.
56 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports Proposed land use changes that are incompatible with aviation can have long-lasting effects on aircraft operations, adversely affect the safety of the traveling public, and pose risks to those living and working near airports. Federal, state, and local agencies and airport operators must work together to prevent the creation of incompatible land uses. But what happens when that important communication is ineffective or occurs too late? More importantly what makes for successful coordination? This case study compares two opposite outcomes. Competing Objectives: Valle dâOr Urban Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico The mission of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. To further this mission, USFWS has established the Urban National Wildlife Program to establish wildlife refuges within 25 miles of areas having populations of 250,000 or more. Several of these urban wildlife refuges have been established near airports. In 2013, USFWS established the Valle dâOro Urban Wildlife Refuge on land along the Rio Grande. Dubbed the âOasis in Albuquerque,â the project garnered tremendous local support as it sought to restore and manage habitat to benefit a variety of native wildlife species, especially those using the Rio Grande. Measures included conversion of agricultural fields into native riparian habitat, desert uplands, and seasonal ponds. The proposed project would also enhance wildlife habitat within 3.2 miles of the Albuquerque International Sunport/Kirtland Air Force Base. FAA guidance pertaining to wildlife hazards warns against the creation of wildlife attractants within 5 miles of approach/departure airspace. USFWS initiated an Environmental Assessment in 2013 to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Several stakeholders expressed concern over the proposed project including the Allied Pilots Association, Southwest Airline Pilots Association, Southwest Airlines, Kirtland Air Force Base, and the FAA. Albuquerque is in an area attractive to migratory birds, and these stakeholders grew concerned that the proposed habitat restoration project would further attract potentially hazardous wildlife to navigable airspace and increase the risk of wildlife strikes to civilian and military aircraft. USFWS responded to the comments and, contrary to the input of aviation stakeholders, moved forward with the project, finalizing the EA through a âFinding of No Significant Impact.â Although USFWS complied with NEPA, stakeholders expressed frustration because they believed that not all stakeholders were made aware of the project or notified early enough to provide meaningful input. Some stakeholders cited public enthusiasm for the project and an insufficient understanding of aviation hazards as enabling factors for project approval. Successful Wildlife Hazard Management through Zoning: Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) The MAA has proven that aviation concerns can be addressed to prevent the creation of wildlife attractants and other hazards to aviation using an extraterritorial zoning ordinance and ongoing cooperation with local jurisdictions. The MAA, an intermodal agency within the Maryland Department of Transportation, operates the Baltimore Washington International/Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), which is a medium-sized hub airport, and Martin State Airport, a GA airport located on the Chesapeake Bay. In 2002, the MAA initiated a robust program to evaluate proposed off-site development, such as stormwater management ponds, mitigation sites, and inappropriate landscaping in the airport vicinity, to determine the potential to create wildlife hazard attractants. To support efforts to monitor proposed off-site land uses within the vicinity of BWI, MAA turned to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) and FAA advisory Circular 150/5200-33b âWildlife Hazard Attractants On and Near Airports.â COMAR addresses aviation and the MAAâs role as the state agency responsible for BWI and Martin State Airport. Although the code had been implemented by the MAA to prevent obstructions, COMAR does not refer to wildlife hazard management. (continued) CASE STUDY NO. 5, WILDLIFE HAZARD MANAGEMENT NEAR AIRPORTS
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 57 Based on FAA guidance pertaining to the prevention of wildlife attractants in the airport vicinity and the language in COMAR, the MAA concluded that, because wildlife hazards were a threat to navigable airspace with the potential to endanger lives and property, it was empowered to review proposed development within the defined Airport Zoning District for its potential to attract hazardous wildlife. The MAA worked with federal and state resource management agencies to provide an explanation of COMAR and the airport zoning district, which functions as an airport overlay zone, and to identify alternative mitigation strategies for projects within the airport zoning district. For example, in an effort to deter waterfowl, open water ponds are not permitted within the airport zoning district. The MAA has provided education to local planning and zoning departments to ensure that those proposing development projects within the airport zoning districts are aware of the MAAâs concerns prior to application submittal. Most importantly, the MAA worked with local planning agencies so that these agencies will not authorize permits or approvals until the MAA, using FAA guidance, has reviewed the project for its potential to attract hazardous wildlife. The off-site permit review process is one component of the MAAâs efforts to decrease the presence of potentially hazardous wildlife on and near the airports. Following year-long surveys in 2001 and 2012, the airport estimated that the abundance of birds on and near the airport had decreased by approximately 51 percent. CASE STUDY NO. 5, WILDLIFE HAZARD MANAGEMENT NEAR AIRPORTS (CONTINUED) However, three items justified the MAAâs efforts to review off-site development proposals: Airspace Protection. COMAR Section 11.03.02 established an airport zoning district that encompassed the area within a 4-mile radius of BWI and included portions of three counties. COMAR specifically charged the MAA to protect the âaerial approachesâ (vertical space) associated with the stateâs airports and to consider circumstances associated with this airspace âto the extent that they affect or promote the public health, safety, order or security.â A similar district was established for the area within 3 miles of Martin State Airport. Hazard Definition. COMAR Section 11.03.05.01 defines a hazard as âan object that affects the area available for landing, takeoff and maneuvering of an aircraft, thus tending to impair or destroy the utility of an airport and present potential dangers of the uses of the airport and residents of the area.â Code Purpose. The stated purpose of the stateâs transportation code is to âgovern the erection and maintenance of any obstruction to air navigation that: (a) interferes with the public right of freedom to transit in air commerce; (b) endangers the lives and property of those using the air space for transportation; or (c) endangers the lives and property of the occupants of land in the Stateâ (COMAR Section 11.03.06.02). â¢ Identify other stakeholders. Beyond these champions, a variety of other groups and individuÂ als often play parts in influencing airport compatibility decisions. For some, the airport is of primary importance. For others, community development is more important. Yet others are mostly concerned about how the airport impacts them and their neighborhoods. Get to know all these players. Learn what their goals and concerns are and what motivates them to take the positions they do. Work with them to seek common ground. Make clear that compatibility benefits both the airport and those who live or work nearby. Remember to include representaÂ tives and residents of areas outside the airport sponsorâs jurisdiction. â¢ Use a wide range of communication channels. Communication about airport land use comÂ patibility matters should take many forms including: â Establishing personal rapport with key individuals; â Having regular contact with local planning department staff; â Tracking agendas for planning and elected official meetings where land use decisions are made and participating in those meetings; â Sponsoring community workshops on compatibility and other airport issues; â Creating an airport website that describes the airport, the services it provides, and the compatibility measures it takes and that lists upcoming public meetings where decisions affecting the airport will be made; â Publishing an airport newsletter that talks about what is happening at the airportâor perhaps two different newsletters, one directed at pilots and one for the general public;
58 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports â Encouraging local newspapers to write about the airport and the benefits it brings to the community; â Providing meeting space at the airport that can be used by community groups; and â Holding events that attract the general public to come to the airport. As outlined in Case Study No. 6, the Truckee Tahoe Airport has effectively used most of these means of keeping people informed about the airport. Situated in a high mountain basin of Californiaâs Sierra Nevada Range, the Truckee Tahoe Airport presents challenges both aeronautically and with regard to land use compatibility. Nearby high terrain limits flight route options and can make flying hazardous, especially on hot days or during inclement weather. Nearby residential areas are highly sensitive to the noise of aircraft overflights. Communication is key to addressing both of these challenges. The airport is operated by an airport district with board members elected by the public. This direct responsibility of the airport sponsor to the public necessitates making communication high among the airportâs priorities. To implement this philosophy, the board and its staff employ various tools and strategies to keep pilots and the public informed about the airport. Perhaps most vital was the creation of an Airport Community Advisory Team (ACAT) composed of three pilots and three community members. The group âworks to develop solutions and strategies to minimize impacts of the airport on surrounding communities. Additionally, the ACAT works to generate ideas around garnering public benefits from the District.â Recommendations of the ACAT are forwarded to the airport board for consideration. The ACATâs monthly meetings are open to the public. To help pilots minimize the noise impacts of their aircraft, as well as to foster flight safety, the airport district has established a set of noise abatement flight tracks. These tracks are graphically mapped on the airportâs website and available at the airport. The website also provides videos taken from an airplaneâs cockpit to show what the pilot can expect to see while flying these routes. Other website information for pilots includes current weather conditions and a live webcam view of the airport. More information is contained in a semi-annual newsletter distributed to based pilots and made available online to transient pilots. The airport has found that communication with the public involves not just sending out informationâwhich it does through a semi-annual newsletter that is different than the one sent to pilotsâor staff attendance at public meetings, but also finding ways to attract non-pilots to visit the airport. Having a popular local cafÃ© in the airport terminal goes a long way. The terminal also contains meeting rooms that are available for use by local groups. Events held at the airport also attract members of the public. Events include an annual air show and an aviation camp for young adults. CASE STUDY NO. 6, TRUCKEE TAHOE AIRPORT, CALIFORNIAâCOMMUNITY OUTREACH Truckee Tahoe Airport aerial image used with permission. Report covers, Mead & Hunt.
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 59 Strategies for State Aviation Agencies Regardless of the extent of its authority over airport land use compatibility matters, the role of a state aviation agency is often more critical and influential than the FAAâs role. The FAA has no authority to prevent development of incompatible land uses other than indirectly through the assurances that airport sponsors must agree to in order to receive federal airport improvement grants. This authority rests with states, and they may or may not delegate it to local agencies. States are better positioned to effectively address compatibility issues by being able to provide more targeted and precise policies and procedures compared to the FAA. States also have a better understanding of and closer relationships with airport sponsors and their surrounding communities and are better able to provide guidance and assistance. A variety of methods are available for states to help maintain and improve land use compatÂ ibility. These methods can be broadly categorized into three topic areas: â¢ Direct regulatory involvement, â¢ Guidance and education, and â¢ Monitoring and reviewing local land use actions. Each of these topic areas is discussed below. NASAO members interviewed for this GuideÂ book identified certain strategies that stood out as more effective in monitoring land use compatibility. States may consider these practices to support and supplement local zoning ordinances and to foster continuous awareness of land use compatibility among state agency staff, local airports, and communities. As valuable as it is for state aviation agencies to be involved in airport land use compatibility matters, an important caveat should be recognized: The primary purpose of state aviation agencies should be to guide and support airport sponsors and local land use jurisdictions. Because the duties of state aviation agencies are usually focused on aviationÂrelated matters and the protection of and airport enhancement, they are not always fully aware of or do not consider the other goals and objectives that local decision makers must also account for when making land use decisions. State aviation agencies need to ensure that local decision makers recognize the value of the local airport to their communities and the state and that those decision makers also understand the importance of land use compatibility in preserving this value. State officials should avoid standing in the way of locally negotiated compatibility measures or decisions that, while perhaps not ideal from a state perspective, may be acceptable compromises to both airport and development interests while still complying with state laws and regulations. Direct Regulatory Involvement Perhaps the most powerful capabilities that state aviation agencies have regarding airport land use compatibility are through state regulations and other formal powers. Agencies can lead or assist with the preparation of statewide airport land use compatibility regulations and may be involved in drafting of state laws on which the regulations will be based. Most often, these regulations are aimed only at implement ing the FAAâs Part 77 standards to prevent obstructions to airport airspace. However, some states get more deeply involved in addressing incompatÂ ibilities associated with aircraft noise exposure or safety risks. Some state aviation agencies have licensing or permitting authority over airports and authority to approve ALPs. In addition to providing the initial approval of an airport license or operating permit, the state may perform regular inspection of the airport to ensure that no objects have been constructed or trees have grown to exceed the heights allowed under the stateâs airspace protection regulations. Some states, such as Kentucky, even have authority to require that
60 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports businesses or individu als proposing to erect a tall object near an airport first obtain a stateÂissued permit (see Case Study No. 1). In terms of local AZOs, state laws and regulations may range from mandating specific ordiÂ nance language to be adopted by local governments, to nonÂmandated ordinance components tied to grant programÂrelated scoring (discussed in further detail in the following paragraph), to simply suggested model ordinances. See Appendix A for a status of airport compatibility laws for all 50 states. Another way that states can become directly involved in compatibility matters is through airport development grants and associated assurances. Similar to those of the FAA, the state grant assurances require airport sponsors to provide assurance that compatible land use is being maintained around airports. Again, these assurances typically focus on whether airÂ port height and hazard zoning has been adopted and/or whether land or easements have been acquired within approach surfaces and RPZs. This assurance may simply be a âcheck boxâ of whether an airport sponsorâs local jurisdiction(s) have height and hazard zoning. Some states, though, expand upon this concept by developing a priority rating model as described in Case Study No. 7. Such models assign weighted scores to various aspects of airport manageÂ ment and operations, including land use compatibility. Airport sponsors that have land use compatibility measures in place receive higher scores and thus are given a higher priority for obtaining state grant funds. Finally, states that obtain federal block grants for airport improvements in the state take on an additional role. They are responsible for directly implementing FAA policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the FAA airport improvement program and other federal laws and regulations. This can and often is combined with stateÂspecific laws and policies to develop a broader legal environment to foster and monitor compatible land use. Guidance and Education States often complement their direct regulatory involvement practices with outreach and education efforts to effectively communicate both the importance of land use compatibility and the tools and techniques airports and local governments may have at their disposal. These efforts may supplement the actual laws and management activities by communicating them through more âuser friendlyâ language, formats, and forums. A common education method includes the development and publication of a land use comÂ patibility guidebook. Guidebooks may communicate laws, regulations, policies, and regular state activities, but they also provide information on how to create and implement local land use policies, such as zoning ordinances, and interpret specific FAA and state dimensional standards so that airports and local governments can effectively and appropriately perform their roles in ensuring compatible land uses. A model airport overlay zoning ordinance may be included, for example. Other state aviation agencies accomplish many of the same objectives through creation of an agency website and online tools for addressing airspace protection issues and other compatibility topics (see Case Study No. 8). States may also proactively incorporate land use compatibility elements in their regular management activities such as safety inspections and annual grant application meetings. Other venues also include communication during annual state aviation conferences, but some states have also elected to organize and conduct sessions or meetings specifically for land use issues. This may not happen on an annual basis, but states may prioritize outreach efforts during major policy changes or if land use becomes a highÂpriority issue (e.g., increased development activity during economic growth periods).
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 61 Many states tie implementation of local airport land use zoning ordinances to their grant assurances in the same way that the FAAâs own grant assurances are tied to maintaining clear approaches and airport/local control of surrounding land uses.* However, in many cases, states may only have a âcheck boxâ approach of such a grant assurance. This approach does not necessarily monitor actual compatible land use and the specific local zoning and land use control elements effectively, and it does not assign a weight to each element. A more enhanced approach is to develop and implement a grant assurance structure that prioritizes and assigns weight to multiple local compatible land use policies that could be implemented. These may include: Ownership or land interest in the RPZ, Avigation easements for approach surfaces, Overlay height zoning ordinance for airspace surfaces, Overlay airport safety zone ordinance that regulates density and/or noise impacts, Integration of AZO(s) into local comprehensive or long-term land use plans, and Disclosure statement for real estate sales within certain zones. State agencies can also assign weight through a point system, as part of a larger grant application evaluation procedure. For example, a 10-point scoring system may be applied to compatible land use factors under a 100-point overall grant evaluation method as follows: Height and hazard ordinance Model enacted with minimum Part 77 protections â 2 points, Includes land use protections for density or noise â 1 point, Includes land use protections for wildlife hazards â 1 point, Includes disclosure statement requirement â 1 point, and Includes FAA 7460 and Obstruction Evaluation/Airport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) documentation prior to permit â 1 point. RPZ ownership 100% fee simple ownership â 2 points, 50% fee simple ownership â 1 point, and Comprehensive plan integration â 1 point. A priority rating model such as the one above serves to clarify state agency expectations of airport sponsors, provides a degree of flexibility for airport sponsors, and helps them prioritize on their own. Because airport land use compatibility is often one of several other factors (e.g., airport system role, matching FAA funding available, etc.) in a priority rating model, there is somewhat limited leverage this tool provides to states. However, in marginal cases where an airport may need a few more points to obtain a grant, it can encourage and incentivize airports to act to improve their land use compatibility policies. *States generally seem to use the FAA National Priority Rating system as a basis for their own, and then adapt it appropriately to their state/local funding systems. Because of the similarities between state priority rating systems, no single state can be cited as the source for this model. CASE STUDY NO. 7 STATE PRIORITY RATING MODEL Source: FAA AC 150/5300-13A. Airport Design. Monitoring and Reviewing Local Land Use Actions States not only enact laws and policies, but conduct specific, identifiable actions to regularly monitor, foster, and enforce compatible land use. Management of compatible land use comÂ prises the set of âdayÂtoÂdayâ practices and activities state agencies perform. These may be specifically related to implementation of laws, regulations, and policies as noted above, or may be internally developed practices to foster compatible land use, even if not legally required.
62 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports For example, local ordinance review and approval would include ensuring the correct airspace surfaces and protected areas are covered per FAA regulations and design standards (e.g., FAR Part 77 and FAA ACs). ALP reviews and approvals generally follow FAA procedures such as using ACs and standard operating procedures to systematically and consistently apply land use standards across all airports in a state. As noted above, annual airport safety inspections, which are often associated with the FAA 5010 process, provide state regulators with an opportunity to regularly assess certain land use aspects. States may use a variety of tools to evaluate obstructions as these usually are the highest priority land use factor during these inspections. States may also note wildlife hazards such as waterÂrelated bird attractants on or near airport property. The limitations of these inspections are that they are largely confined to issues on or visible from airport property. Depending on a stateâs specific laws and policies, an agency may elect or need to evaluate proposed tall structures. As previously mentioned, some states issue their own tall structure perÂ mits and, as such, would ideally have effective airspace and obstruction evaluation methods and tools to comply with FAA standards. Other states may have their own notification requirements to be able to proactively evaluate potential obstructions in conjunction with local government ordinance and permitting and FAA procedures. Even without such laws (e.g., tall structures are Several states have innovative online tools that are user friendly and allow stakeholders to evaluate the compatibility of proposed land use development. An effective online tool may be as simple as a guidebook that carefully steps through state airport land use policy and provides clear instructions on developing airport airspace, safety, and land use zones and other zoning ordinance elements around an airport. More sophisticated tools may be available online that incorporate mapping technology such as GIS and 3D visualization. More sophisticated tools allow users to evaluate prospective structures and projects relative to FAA or state standards for airspace and land use and integrate with the FAAâs OE/AAA website. However, a tool will not be widely used without a corresponding outreach method to engage and train stakeholders on how to use the tool and communicate its availability. States can better promote their land use compatibility tools using the following methods: Schedule and conduct specific meetings or webinars with airports and local planners responsible for AZOs. Demonstrate the use of the available tool and the role it can play, and how it can be used to complement other tools to promote compliance with other local and state policies and systems such as local permitting processes, the FAA 7460 process, and state procedures. Use other already scheduled meetings such as annual FAA/state grant application and capital improvement program meetings or state airport managersâ conferences to reinforce online land use tools. Develop and include training materials such as videos posted online along with these tools. Enlist other champions to showcase and demonstrate your tools to other stakeholders. For example, a local planner may take a particular interest in the stateâs tool and can advocate on behalf of the state in other forums. CASE STUDY NO. 8 STATE PUBLIC-FACING ONLINE TOOL(S) AND SYSTEMATIC OUTREACH Source: Mead & Hunt.
Effective Compatibility Planning Strategies 63 more commonly permitted by local governments instead of states), monitoring of FAA 7460 submittals by using the FAAâs OE/AAA website is a common practice among state aviation agencies. Some agencies more systematically evaluate 7460 notifications by subscribing to email alerts. When notifications are received, agencies then map specific objects with potential to cause an obstruction near airports to more effectively identify those that would most critically affect an airport (see Case Study No. 9). Depending on the state, these management procedures may be internal agency procedures or they may be set forth in state laws and regulations. Some states may elect to rely on internal procedures due to the additional, potentially extensive, effort required to convert a working policy into actual state regulations. The FAA Form 7460 obstruction notification process is a key component of airspace protection. Land owners and developers are required to notify the FAA per 14 CFR Part 77. The FAA in turn conducts an aeronautical study to determine whether a proposed new structure or modification will impact air navigation at or near an airport. However, the FAA can only issue findings via letters of determination (i.e., finding of a hazard or no hazard). Actual permitting of structures is typically done by local governments, but local zoning ordinances may or may not address FAA findings. State agencies therefore should also use the 7460 process to be an effective stakeholder in airspace obstruction management. Historically states and other interested stakeholders have subscribed to the Form 7460 filings and subsequent FAA notifications, originally via postcards, but more recently via email through the FAA OE/AAA website. NASAO also has an MOU to allow states to access the FAAâs own internal iOE/AAA system for enhanced obstruction monitoring. State agencies can take the extra steps necessary to more effectively monitor 7460 cases: Designate clear roles and responsibilities for state agency staff to subscribe, review, analyze, and follow through with 7460 information, both via email and by visiting the site of the proposed object. This may include, for example, scheduling regular check-ins of 7460 information and having a checklist of review and local airport follow-through action items. Map 7460 cases to determine and illustrate any impacts to airport airspace. Typically, this evaluation utilizes Part 77 surfaces normally included in local zoning ordinances. If resources permit, integrating these cases with geospatial technology such as GIS (e.g., web mapping application) or computer aided design (CAD) (e.g., creation of illustrative exhibits) can provide more accurate and authoritative reviews. Use the 7460 process to educate airports and local governments about the state and FAA roles in airspace protection and, more specifically, regularly inform local airports and respective jurisdictions of airspace or related land use concerns discovered during 7460 monitoring. A systematic 7460 monitoring process can supplement local zoning ordinances that do not necessarily incorporate the FAAâs 7460 determination letters into their permitting procedures. Sharing 7460 cases is also an opportunity to determine or negotiate any gaps between local ordinances and local permitting processes that do not effectively manage obstructions in a timely manner. CASE STUDY NO. 9 SYSTEMATIC STATE MONITORING OF 7460S
64 Guidebook on Effective Land Use Compatibility Planning Strategies for General Aviation Airports Summary Airport compatibility planning requires an understanding of how an airport functions and how it can affect and be affected by the surrounding community. Effective airport land use compatibility planning requires local governments and airports to understand their roles and work together to identify methods for achieving airport compatible development. Because the stakeholders for local airports and the roles they play in land use planning vary from one airport to the next, it is critical for all participants to establish communication with each other. The development and implementation of an effective AZO can offer benefits to both aviators and the community.