Question – What’s the best form of organization and management for a residential airpark and how should the property be owned?
Answer – I’m not sure there is a “best” form of organization and management. Virtually every fly-in community has unique situations that require individual attention. What works great for a fly-in community in one state might create overwhelming problems in another. Even airparks in the same state can have problems that mandate different modes of organization and management.
Given the above preamble, I can comment that the vast majority of residential airparks with which I have any familiarity have an incorporated homeowners association. In most cases the homeowners’ association owns the runway and related taxiways and streets. Maintenance of these items of infrastructure fall onto the association that is managed and funded by the owners of property within the fly-in community.
There are a wide variety of options to that simple outline. They vary from state to state, county to county and city to city. Laws and rules differ so dramatically around the country that no one is able to prepare a “model” document that will work everywhere. There are other forms of organizations, such as an LLC (Limited Liability Company), a developer-owned and managed facility and a through the fence agreement at a publicly owned airport.
Usually a developer or a group of people organize the fly-in community, get the required legal approvals and prepare the documents allowing them to sell the lots and operate the facility. Generally, these documents spell out when and if a homeowners association will become effective and how it will be managed.
The deed restrictions that go with the establishment of the legal entity spell out how and what the property owners can and cannot do. That’s why I always encourage would-be property purchasers to get the legal documents carefully checked by a competent attorney and explained to you in a manner you can understand. Once you’ve purchased a lot you’re going to live by the deed restrictions, Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). Changing them is difficult at best and often times virtually impossible.