December 1, 2005
AOPA-supported airport protection legislation has been introduced into the Minnesota legislature by state Senator Michael Jungbauer, an AOPA member. Jungbauer recently introduced two bills that would establish airport land-use planning commissions and a model airport zoning ordinance. Both would help stop incompatible development from threatening general aviation airports.
"The land-use planning bill is modeled after California legislation, and it makes it much more difficult for unrestrained development to spring up around an airport," said Roger Cohen, AOPA vice president of regional affairs.
AOPA spoke with Jungbauer and his staff about protecting airports and suggested using California's legislation as a model.
The bill (SF0079) would require that Minnesota counties establish airport land-use commissions that would be charged with coordinating "planning at the state, regional, and local levels to provide for the orderly development of air transportation, and protecting the public health, safety, and welfare" around general aviation airports. The resulting land-use master plans would be used to set zoning around airports. Some commission members would be required to have aviation knowledge.
The airport land-use planning commissions also would review any development plans or requests for zoning changes. If the commission disapproves the plan, the governing body would have to go through a public process to override the airport land-use planning commission's decision.
The other bill (SF0080) directs the Minnesota Department of Transportation to develop a model zoning ordinance to regulate the height of objects around airports. Local governments would be required to adopt zoning regulations that would conform to FAA obstruction standards.
"Sen. Jungbauer is an avid pilot and AOPA member," said Cohen. "We laud his efforts to protect general aviation in Minnesota."
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