Airport Land Use Threatens GA Growth

 - November 1, 2007, 12:34 PM

Airport encroachment and land use might be the next big issue beyond user fees, AOPA vice president of airports Bill Dunn said last week at the American Association of Airport Executives General Aviation Issues Conference in Naples, Fla. For good or bad, "development always follows airports," he added. The problem, noted National Association of State Aviation Officials president and CEO Henry Ogrodzinski, is that "your airport is in jeopardy," whether you know it or not. That's because the FAA lacks teeth when it comes to preventing the construction of structures that are hazardous to air safety. "The FAA can't prohibit buildingsā€“it can only advise that a structure is a hazard," pointed out Kaplan Kirsch and Rockwell partner Daniel Reimer. "I'm not sure that fighting these battles airport by airport is the right way. Something needs to happen on a federal level" with respect to land use around airports, he said. NATA vice president of government and industry affairs Eric Byer suggested that Congress grant the FAA the authority to prevent incompatible land use and eliminate encroachment. "The FAA needs more strength" for land-use issues, he concluded.