Question: What’s future of airparks?

Question: I’ve been thinking about trying to obtain a residential airpark property – a house or lot on which to build a house – but I seem to hear a lot of talk (maybe rumors) that the FAA is opposed to residential airparks and is moving to eliminate the existing ones or at least keeping new ones from springing up. What can you tell me about these situations?

Answer: First of all, let’s make it very clear that there are two kinds of residential airparks.

One set of airparks – by far the largest group – is located on privately owned and maintained airparks.

The other kind of airparks is what are known as “Thru the Fence (TTF)” operations usually located on land adjacent to public-owned airports.

I can assure you that the fly-in communities located on privately-owned airports do not have any trouble with the FAA. There might be some questions from the FAA as to airspace problems if a privately owned airpark is within a short distance of an airport with an operating control tower, but generally speaking there aren’t FAA troubles.

The local zoning agencies are the ones that affect residential airparks. Assuming the permitting and hearings processes that are in effect in the area are followed and approvals are received, there are no troubles from federal or even state, county or local officials.

Noise complaints, low flying, dangerous activities are completely different issues and have nothing to do with the question.

The rumors about FAA opposition to residential airparks result from projects at public airports that have received federal funding or hope to do so. In a number of cases over the years, some FAA offices have voiced opposition and threatened to withhold funding for airport projects if TTF projects are undertaken or are in operation. Depending on the FAA region, the opposition has been more strenuous than others.

Recently, problems erupted in the Northwest region on a long-established state-owned airport with a TTF agreement. After several meetings among airpark residents, state officials and FAA, it appears the problem has been alleviated and no additional demands have been heard from the FAA.

Hopefully this answers your question. It has always seemed to me that a residential community with TTF agreement would be good for a public airport because nearby residents would be aviation enthusiasts supportive of the airport and not opposed to the noise, aromas or other things some non aviation people think about. But, I’m not a bureaucrat and must not understand the problems seen by FAA officials.

2 replies on “Question: What’s future of airparks?”

I just went through a very lenghtly process concerning my airport. It was public and had FAA verbal approval and praise to develop as a residentual airpark. After competive intervention politics got involved and was tangled in lawsuits for 6 years. This caused FAA to change position and a move againest thru the fence or any type of residentual property where federal funds are or have been used. In the end FAA and the State aviation agencys we repaid all investement that they had in the property. The airport is now private and development is moving forward. From my point of view, airparks are changing. The parks that have more to offer, a community if you will are in demand and can warrant the cost to develop. I would not recommend getting involved with a park that is connected to or part of a public funded property or runway because it could change without any consideration for what is located on or near and the past usage including existing homes. Just a word of caution, it could cost your home.

I am a Realtor in Reno, Nv. and have some property for sale close to a private airport, which is on an 80 acre parcel. I have spoken with some of the local and more official airpark developers and it seems the economy is taking a toll on development right now. No one knows what the economy will do in the next couple of years or what the Federal Gov’t. will do either about the economy or airparks. Adam Smith said in his book, ‘Wealth of Nations’ that ‘most people who succeed do so inspite of the gov’t. not because the gov’t. did much to help’, please forgive the paraphrase; the point is people love to fly, flying is special, flying is fun and rewarding, and living in close proximity to your plane and runway can be an extraordinary luxury which can be affordable if well planned. I have some ideas about how this might work for small groups of pilots and would like to talk to interested people. There are restrictions and some complications, but nothing is impossible. We live in a great country and have wonderful opportunities. Flying private planes is an incredibly wonderful freedom and we should all do everything we can to promote, protect, and encourage this priviledge. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to hearing your opinions,
Wes Waltenspiel
Keller Realty
Reno, Nv.

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