Our opposition to the FAAs Compliance Guidance Letter

As we’ve discussed before on this site, the FAA is taking a position against through-the-fence airparks at federally obligated airports. The FAA has issued a memorandum relating to “Compliance Guidance Letter (CGL) 2009-1-Through-the-Fence and On-Airport Residential Access To Federally Obligated Airports”. Our opposition to the CGL and memorandum are based on a number of points. We have submitted the following statement of our opposition to the FAA proposal.The premise for the FAA objections to so-called Through-the-Fence operations is based on the assumption that residential airparks are a non-compatible use of property adjacent to public-owned airports.

It is my contention that this is an erroneous assumption for the following reasons:

  1. Persons acquiring residential airpark property are individuals who do not consider airport noise, aroma or regulations as problems. They acquire property on a residential airpark because they want to be at the airport.
  2. Residential airpark property owners pay their fair share of taxes and fees by virtue of Through-the-Fence fees, real estate and personal property taxes. In studies made by Living With Your Plane property values on residential airparks usually are 10-20 percent higher than like property in the same community not on a residential airpark.
  3. Airpark property deeds can include restrictions on noise and other complaints against the airport.
  4. There is no evidence that residential airpark property owners complain about airport noise or other conditions.
  5. Security at public airports is enhanced by the proximity of residential airpark residents who are interested and knowledgeable of aviation activities.
  6. Residential airpark property owners are strong contributors to the financial success of on-airport operators through their purchases of fuel, maintenance, avionics, instruction, etc.
  7. On airport hangar homes provide similar benefits to the airport and its tenants, ie, FBOs, fuel sales, rent and higher property value.

FAA cites its expenditures to purchase homes adjacent to or near airports because of noise complaints and safety issues. These issues have been created at Part 121 airports. There is no evidence that any residential airparks have been proposed or developed adjacent to or on any Part 121 airport.

It is my opinion that FAA can easily continue improving public-owned airports through AIP funding at airports without Part 121 operations without disturbing or objecting to Through-the-Fence residential airparks. Only at Part 121 Airports is there a question of incompatible land use from an adjacent residential airpark.

When FAA requires airports receiving AIP grants to zone adjacent land in a certain manner, at the same time it can require deed restrictions to enhance the compatibility of land use.

Do you have comments/thoughts? Post them below and we’ll pass them along to FAA, AOPA and EAA.