AOPA and the State of Florida are tackling a threat to Titusville's Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX). The city council last week approved a zoning variance that would allow a school to locate immediately adjacent to the airport property. That's a violation of state law and common sense.
"If ever there were an 'incompatible use,' this is it," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of Airports. "You don't put school children next to a busy training airport. We urge the city council to reverse their decision."
Florida statutes require that cities zone to protect the land around airports from incompatible use such as high-density housing or schools.
But the city council was confronted with an emotional issue. A private "charter" school had lost its lease in downtown Titusville. The school found a vacant industrial building they thought they could convert into classrooms. Only problem, that building was next to the airport in an area zoned for light industrial use. The school asked, and received, a zoning change.
"We believe strongly that locating a school this close to the airport is not in the best interest of the school's students or the airport," Dunn wrote Titusville Mayor Ronald Swank. "Allowing the school to relocate to this industrial site would be contrary to the health, safety, and welfare needs of the public."
The State of Florida is threatening legal action.
June 16, 2004