Legal Aspects of Airport Programs. Topic 1-05. Responsibilities for Implementation and Enforcement of Airport Land-Use Zoning Restrictions

In the past 20 years aviation has grown considerably in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">United States</st1:place></st1:country-region>, thus compelling airport-related growth.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>During this same period of time communities adjacent to airport property have grown as well.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Recent airport expansion plans have been vigorously opposed, often resulting in court action.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Such litigation is caught at the intersection of two traditional legal precedents:<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>local communities are charged with control of land-use, and do so through zoning and land-use restrictions, while the federal government is responsible for controlling aircraft operations.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>States vary as to which administrative body has aviation zoning authority and the extent of that authority.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Federal regulation of airport operations and facilities is managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>The FAA is bound by the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act to enact these regulations in consideration of environmental impacts, such as noise and emissions. Generally, when a project is deemed as an enhancement to flight safety or a modification to property or facilities on existing airport grounds, courts tend to find these modifications in the nature of<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>"aircraft operations" under the exclusive responsibility of the federal government. A court will hold that a local zoning or land-use regulation is preempted by federal law if it obstructs the federal objectives of safety and improving facilities.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>However, when an enhancement project requires additional land, courts are reluctant to preempt local zoning law, believing that the principal motivation for expansion onto new land is to increase capacity rather than safety. Aviation, government, real estate, and property attorneys; legislative and administrative personnel; developers; aviation managers; and researchers have need of a thorough understanding of local and state zoning laws and regulations in order to carry out their individual responsibilities.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>However, assessing this information may prove difficult because such ordinances may not be formally published and those that are published may not be widely distributed. This project should synthesize all available federal, state, regional, and local laws and regulations pertaining to aviation land-use and zoning; and identify the primary responsibilities of each relevant legal body and how this responsibility is communicated and enforced.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>The project should include an assessment of compatibility and non-compatibility between the laws and regulations and illustrate how conflicts have been resolved historically.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>The goal is to produce a comprehensive Legal Research Digest Report with relevant precedent and guidance concentrated in one source.</font></font></p>


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $39860.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 11-01, Topic

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Chisholm-Smith, Gwen

  • Performing Organizations:

    William V. Cheek & Associates

  • Principal Investigators:

    McDaniel, James

  • Start Date: 20070401
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20081130
  • Source Data: RiP Project 18101

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462593
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 11-01, Topic
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:06PM