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"Through the Fence: Texas legislation would protect fees for airport use"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2007 00:04:50 -0500
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Bills would protect fees for airport use
Addison: Neighbors, city at odds over fairness of charges
By ELIZABETH LANGTON
The Dallas (TX) Morning News
Identical bills pending in the state House and Senate would protect an
Addison ordinance governing access from adjacent properties to the town's
general aviation airport.
The town has been battling with Addison Airport's so-called
"through-the-fence users" - those who own bordering property and need access
for commercial or recreational purposes - over access fees and policies for
about six years.
Seventeen airport neighbors sued the town over its first "through-the-fence"
ordinance, saying it violated the state transportation code.
Mitchell Madden, an attorney for the property owners who sued, previously
said the town's fees violated state law because they were based on the size
and value of a user's property.
Also, the ordinance didn't link the fee structure to the cost of airport
upkeep and made no distinction between recreational and commercial users, he
A Dallas County judge agreed and struck down the ordinance in 2005. The
town's appeal of that ruling is pending.
In November, the town adopted a revised ordinance that addressed the judge's
concerns, said city spokesman David Margulies.
The new ordinance charges a flat annual fee of $750 for recreational and
incidental business users. Commercial users pay 8 cents per square foot of
property, the amount town officials calculated as the upkeep cost per square
foot of airport property.
Town officials say they must have regulations in place to meet Federal
Aviation Administration requirements.
The proposed legislation would give Addison the authority to set fees and
regulations exclusive of other provisions in the transportation code, making
it harder for someone to challenge the new ordinance, Mr. Margulies said.
"Through-the-fence" users argue legislation was tailored to suit the town's
needs and gives officials unrestricted power to set fees and deprive them of
using the airport.
The bills are pending in committee. They are House Bill 2955 by Rep. Jim
Jackson of Carrollton and Senate Bill 1462 by Sen. Florence Shapiro of
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