Survey Results: Problems at Airparks – Part 3

Here’s the third – and final – installment of results from the recent Living With Your Plane survey of subscribers informing us how much their airpark is affected by different problems that have cropped up around the country.

As we noted in first two articles, the responses came from 53 individuals representing 23 different states. Even better, none of the respondents came from the same fly-in community so that means we received a broad response.

In our first installment we discussed problems with airpark rules, animals running loose and people on the runway – taxiway. The second article covered attendance at homeowner association meetings, use of the runway by non-residents and noise complaints.

For this final report we’ll provide responses to our questions about non-aviation folks buying airpark lots, enforcement of architectural rules, allowing junk to accumulate on lots and commercial operations from residential airparks.

Properties being sold to non-aviation people

This is an issue that is becoming a problem at airparks, according to the survey results. More than half of the respondents – 53.1 percent to be exact – said they were seeing this as an issue on the horizon.

Another 12.2 percent said it was a very common problem at their airpark. Slightly more than one third of those completing the survey said sale of lots to non-aviation individuals hadn’t happened at their airpark.

Here are some comments:

“We try to discourage it, but not much can be done.”

“A few of our lots have been sold to non-aviators or wanna-be aviators. They may not have fully thought through the expense of aviation and the addition of a hangar to the cost of their home. This is causing the size and value of homes to be reduced, possibly affecting the value of current hangar homes.”

“Our Association is beginning to consider changing the by-laws to restrict ownership to aviation-only people.”

“Some of the buyers are car guys, who do not want to pay assessments or increased dues. A few are simply speculators (not very wise ones, I think).”

“A minority, but vocal. They seem to be disappointed that they can’t sell their houses that were never set up to accommodate pilots.”

“How do we stop this? How are other airparks dealing with this? How do other specialty developments, such a horse owner developments for instance, deal with this?”

“It happens, but has not caused any problems. People understand where they are buying.”

“Our CC&Rs prohibit selling to a non-pilot — at least one owner/buyer must be a pilot. Minimum pilot qualification is solo sign-off.”

“Occasionally a problem, but resolved by legal proceedings to enforce the restrictions.”

Is enforcement of architectural rules a problem?

There are frequent disputes over architectural situations at just under 4 percent of the airparks, according to the survey and the issue is increasing at another 23.5 percent.

Fortunately, 72.5 percent of the airparks from which we had completed surveys said the problem rarely comes up.

“Which rules, who says, why me, not the other guy and on and on” are issues that constantly come up at one airpark’s meetings as they regard architectural issues.”

“More lots are starting to sell, and with increased activity the committee is paying more attention to what requests are being submitted.”

“We’re wrestling with the definitions of ‘mobile home and manufactured housing’, not wanting any such things to be installed. However, it’s now water under the bridge because the first “manufactured home” was put in this summer and we were all (well most of us) up in arms with the architectural committee about their having approved it! We proceeded to stack the committee when it came time to fill 2 of the 3 positions later. Long story…!”

“Have only had two cases which were resolved in time.”

“We have strict covenants.”

“Good people, reasonable rules, it works”

“Our rules were ‘creatively’ enforced when the developer controlled the airpark and committees — he needed to sell lots. Now we’re more disciplined and we are getting cooperation from almost all neighbors.”

“We have just one lunatic trying to build a two-story ‘hangar’ adjacent to his one-story house. That is a no-no and we are in court over that now – 4 years so far.”

What about property owners allowing junk to accumulate?

With relatively large lots, some airparks are seeing this as a problem and at almost 6 percent of the residential airparks it is an on-going problem, our survey revealed.

Another 35.3 percent of the respondents said this wasn’t a big issue at their fly-in community and more than half 58.8 percent said it rarely happens.

“There’s always one that leaves junk.”

“Never an issue. Town rules are properly enforced”

“Some are borderline on what they’ve allowed to accumulate.”

“This is an on-going situation with just one or two neighbors.”

“Our airpark lots are tiny (1/4 acre) so there is scant room for much junk to accumulate outside the hangars in public view. Our community security patrol runs a tight ship here.”

“Every neighborhood has its slobs.”

“The problem occurs only from non-aircraft property owners. Can be handled through complaints to the Code Compliance office”

Our final survey question dealt with commercial operations from the residential airpark

The vast majority – 78.8 percent – reported that this wasn’t a problem at their fly-in community. There were 17.3 percent of the respondents that indicated it happens sometimes at their airpark and the problem was getting worse at 3.8 percent of the residential airparks.

“Not yet but it is a threat. Non owners adjacent to airstrip have been given access via their sub-division covenants. We fear that it may become a problem in the future.”

“This is currently a problem we are resolving. Commercial operations on a private airpark can cause you to lose your insurance.”

“We have a commercial ‘side’ to the airpark. We have 22 businesses in the airpark, and most are very welcome and advantageous. Where else can you annual your airplane, have maintenance performed, or buy fuel by just taxiing down the street.”

“Not a problem because this is a public use airport and these activities are expected by all lot owners. However, none of these activities are conducted by the lot owners as per the covenants and restrictions.”

As we reported in an earlier installment, the problems seem to be quite manageable. There are always going to be some problems, just as in any type neighborhood. However, it appears from these results that aviation people are doing a pretty good job of keeping their communities in good order.

As always, we look forward to reading your comments. You can add them by clicking on the comment button.