Note: Dr. Paul Sullivan has been working on developing a residential Airpark in Harbor Springs, Mich. For the last few years. The property is platted and approved and the latest problem was getting approval for a hangar that exceeded 2,000 SF. Because local regulations and the national fire code rate such a structure as a commercial building it required considerable extra requirements.
Now, it appears there is arelief from these onerous requirements and they could become a precedent for others facing the same problem.
Below is the test of a note from Sullivan. He also makes available the rulings and decisions that apply.
To Dave Sclair
Living With Your Plane
It is difficult to tell you how happy I am to report I was successful
in getting a variance from our local Appeal Board. We can now build up
to a 4,900 SF hanger without fire suppression.
You know how long I have been attempting to deal with this difficult
issue. I am sure it will be welcome information to members of Living
With Your Plane to be informed of this precedent.
Basically the attorney pointed out that the International Building Code
(IBT), adopted by Michigan and many states, is in error. They define a
residential hangar as 2,000 SF or less. Anything larger is a commercial
They go on to define a commercial hangar as a hangar in which airplanes are painted and major repairs are performed.
Our Attorney, Scott Fraim, (810-733-2050) pointed out that not size but
use should be what defines a hangar. He stated you could have a 500 SF
hangar, and if airplanes were painted and major repairs carried out, it
would be a commercial hanger.
I cannot recommend highly enough Scott Fraim.
Paul W. Sullivan
Sullivan’s Harbor Springs Airpark
The legal documents are included below as a PDF. Click on them to see a complete copy. If you have trouble opening them, please send me an e-mail and I;ll forward them directly to you – firstname.lastname@example.org