Airpark Land Ownership vs. HOA

We received the following email from a Living With Your Plane reader today. Please post your feedback in the comment area below the letter. I am looking for experiences and suggestions pertaining to residential airparks where a developer or individual owns the underlying land of the runway(s), taxiways, roads and other common areas. In my […]

We received the following email from a Living With Your Plane reader today. Please post your feedback in the comment area below the letter.

I am looking for experiences and suggestions pertaining to residential airparks where a developer or individual owns the underlying land of the runway(s), taxiways, roads and other common areas. In my particular instance, the primary Home Owners Association (HOA) is chartered with maintaining these areas and has collectively paid for paving the runway, adding runway lights, grading and fill of graveled areas, etc. Attorneys have told the HOA that they are responsible for safety by this action of maintaining the runway and common areas, and less-so the underlying land owner.

Our underlying land owner is a resident pilot and dues-paying HOA member. However he is reluctant to relinquish his overall control. This has already caused conflicts where residents feel his actions on his land adjacent to the runway (declared right-of-way and easement) create an unsafe aviation condition, but are powerless to change it. The HOA is never consulted beforehand either. In addition, our small airpark with about 25 owners has three separate HOA/covenant boundaries which were determined when each area was sold. The irrigation and trash users are also separate entities.

I have heard some stories that had non-HOA owned underlying land, but the underlying owner had either defaulted on loan or taxes, or sold to another who was less “aviation friendly” and major legal battles have then ensued. Personal tragedy happens every day with unexpected results, so our current owner’s level of cooperation may not always be there.

Although we receive no federal funds, the recent FAA policy change for federally obligated airports and treating any airpark homeowners as “through-the-fence” (TTF) operations is also worrisome. It does not take much imagination to get TSA similarly involved and then worried about those non-vetted pilots living at an airport yet possibly being a potential national security risk. If the HOA owned the underlying land, then residents are no longer TTF.

Since our HOA owns no land and does not pay taxes, it has a limited voice when dealing with county and other government levels too. New taxes and insurance may be small price to pay for increased control with overall airpark land ownership.

So please reply if you have some thoughts or help on the subject of underlying land ownership.

2 comments

  1. Here is the world’s largest airpark:

    Nested in Northeast Florida, a few miles south of Daytona Beach and NASCAR’s epicenter, the Daytona International Speedway, lies one of the most unique residential communities in the world.

    The Spruce Creek Fly-in Community is the world’s most famous residential airpark. With a 4,000 ft lighted runway and a GPS approach, the private airport at the center of the community can accommodate anything from a Stearman to a Gulfstream.

    Originally a navy airfield during WWII, it evolved into the world’s largest residential fly-in community. Today, almost 5,000 residents, 1,300 homes and 700 hangars share a unique life in this private gated village with immaculately groomed homes and common grounds. The first thing a visitor sees after driving through the security gates is a sign that summarizes the spirit of this community: “CAUTION Children and Adults at Play”. Truly a piece of pilot’s heaven.

    A championship golf course and Country Club and 24-hr patrolled security complements the safety, privacy and enjoyment of the residents. Frequent community-wide events and social clubs for most any interest from flying to book reading and gardening ensure a tightly knit and friendly community hard to duplicate anywhere. John Travolta and many other celebrities have enjoyed the Spruce Creek Fly-In lifestyle and privacy. Current home prices vary from a $165,000 condo to several million dollar hangar mansions.

    Please keep in mind that any visits are by invitation only, as the community is not open to the public. If you are interested in Spruce Creek Real Estate, contact the folks at Karlhaus Realty for an invitation and they will happily schedule a guided tour: Spruce Creek Real Estate.

  2. I’ve really taken a bath on my Florida condo in the past few years. Couldn’t sell it so I had to rent and the renters I’ve had are nightmares. I am always looking for useful tips/blogs like this.

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