AOPA fights to keep land-use protection for small airports

March 27, 2008

AOPA fights to keep land-use protection for small airports

By AOPA ePublishing staff

AOPA is asking the Pennsylvania legislature to maintain protection for privately owned, public-use airports.

Commonwealth lawmakers are considering a measure, H.B.2159, which would amend Pennsylvania’s airport zoning laws to exempt cities and towns from enacting zoning laws that protect such airports and surrounding airspace from obstructions and other hazards.

During a March 26 legislative hearing, AOPA Vice President of Local Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn presented oral and written testimony, saying that the amendment would mean privately owned, public-use fields could no longer guarantee a safe operating environment for airport users or neighbors. That could force small airports to close, creating a ripple effect that would damage the economies of small communities, increase congestion at larger airports, and open municipalities to lawsuits.

“This law was originally enacted to provide a statewide standard of safety, and clearly, the commonwealth should have as strong an interest in ensuring the safety of these airports as it does publicly owned airports,” Dunn said in his written statement to the House Local Government Committee. “The aircraft and pilots who operate at one are no less deserving than those at the other.”

March 27, 2008