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"Utah cities align zoning with airport approach paths"
- From: "Stephen Irwin, M.S., A.A.E., I.A.P." <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2011 03:55:02 -0800
- Organization: www.californiaaviation.org/irwin.html
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Cache Valley cities align zoning with airport approach paths
By Matthew K. Jensen
The Logan (UT) Herald Journal
Cities surrounding the Logan-Cache Airport are signing off on a wide-ranging
zoning law, finalizing a decade-old resolution intended to protect airport
land and the airspace above it.
Logan, North Logan, Smithfield and Hyde Park have, or will, approve in the
near future a land-use ordinance that complies with federal aviation
regulations designed to ensure safe use of and the preservation of airspace
around the airport.
Airport officials say the purpose of the ordinance is to prevent
incompatible development within the boundaries of the airport's traffic
patterns, approach zones and a ring around the airport called an airport
The overlay ordinance will keep tall structures and large concentrations of
people outside the airport environment but won't necessarily ban new
"It's not to prohibit construction," said airport manager Stewart Hunsaker.
"But the Federal
Aviation Administration would probably want to know about any new structure,
they would want to light it, and certainly any new obstruction would go on
future aeronautical charts."
The overlay - which in its simplest form resembles an upside-down Frisbee -
is essentially an invisible layer with its lowest point 150 feet above the
airport surface. Additional "imaginary surfaces," as the FAA calls them,
extend upward at various angles to accommodate aircraft approach paths.
Salt Lake City-based JUB Engineers Inc., a consulting firm brought in to
finalize the overlay zone, says any penetration of layers by buildings,
communication towers, or even trees has to be evaluated by the FAA.
New construction within the three zones outlined in the ordinance would be
regulated by FAA airspace laws and could be subject to height restrictions
or even denial of building plans.
Rising terrain east of the airport in Hyde Park and Smithfield puts some
structures in those cities within 35 feet of the layers already. New, taller
buildings could break through the surfaces, Hunsaker said.
The approach zone for runway 17 - used for landing southbound aircraft - has
an especially large footprint that extends north past Richmond city limits.
Development within that narrow strip of land would be subject to stringent
regulations as it underlies the path of aircraft descending to land via the
airport's instrument landing system.
Nearly all new development within one-half mile north of the approach end of
runway 17 - referred to as the inner approach zone - would be prohibited.
Beyond that point, new construction is subject to various conditions.
A single family home in the approach zone, for example, should be built as
far from the extended runway center line as possible. Amphitheaters in the
approach zone are specifically precluded in the ordinance, and solid waste
facilities inside any of the zones are prohibited since they attract
Each city's zoning laws will vary slightly but should uphold the overall
objective of protecting the overlay zone.
Cache County, Logan and North Logan have already adopted their ordinances.
Hyde Park requested a minor modification of a map in the airport master plan
before agreeing to the new law, and the Smithfield City Council is expected
to approve its own ordinance in the coming weeks.
Zan Murray, an engineer with JUB, said the overlay ordinance was never
finalized by all parties because of some issues in the airport master plan.
When the final draft of the plan was unveiled last summer, airport officials
pushed for communities to finalize their zoning laws.
"When the airport master plan came out there was more of a sense of urgency
to protect the area around the airport," Murray said. "Another aspect of
this is education. This is helping city councils to understand what the
ordinance actually says."
Stewart says the laws will help educate city planners on how to better
direct new development.
Disclosing the reality of aircraft noise to potential builders, he said,
should help limit development around the airport and help avoid contention
when airlines bring future commercial service to Logan.
"If by disclosing to someone that the house they're looking at building is
on the centerline of a runway or inside an influence area, this information
will be available to steer them away from a potential problem," he said.
"Everything the FAA does is safety related, so this will also keep
concentrations of people away from the approach zones and prevent possible
problems that way as well."
On the web:
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airport commissioner over letter to FAA
Battle over Santa Monica Airport's future revs up
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