When the Yakima Air Terminal Board wanted to update its airport protection ordinances, it invited AOPA to review the proposal and make suggestions. So AOPA staff members sat down with board members at AOPA Expo in San Jose, Calif., last November to go over the draft Airport Overlay Ordinance and Primary Airport Overlay Zone, and discuss the best ways to protect the airport.
Then, in a Dec. 29 letter to the chairman of the board, AOPA expressed its strong support for the overlay plans and offered some suggestions for strengthening them even further.
“We are excited to see Yakima being proactive about protecting its airport from inappropriate development and appreciate their outreach to the aviation community,” said John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy. “We hope the city’s efforts will be a model for other communities. This kind of planning is good for everyone; it protects the airport from encroachment, and it protects the surrounding community from noise and safety hazards.”
The board’s overlay plans bring the airport into compliance with Washington state and federal laws while increasing the distance required between the runway and any new development. The plans also take into account usage and height restrictions for neighboring developments, remind developers of the need to seek obstruction evaluations from the FAA for certain projects, and put final approval of any new development in the hands of the city, even if the FAA determines a proposed structure is not a hazard.