The city of Beverly, Massachusetts, has an “unfortunate habit” of selling land to developers instead of keeping it clear of aircraft-collision hazards—and AOPA has turned to the FAA to head off the risk a construction proposal poses for flight safety.
In a July 31 letter to the FAA’s obstruction evaluation group, AOPA objected to a construction project proposed for Sam Fonzo Drive that would place an office building partly inside a runway protection zone, 430 feet northeast of the approach end of Runway 27 at Beverly Regional Airport.
As a matter of procedure, AOPA has formally requested that the FAA conclude an airspace study by issuing a finding that the proposed construction is a hazard to air navigation. That request, if granted, would produce an “objectionable” determination for the project from the agency. Such a determination would underline the FAA’s expectation that an airport respect its obligation as a recipient of federal funds from the Airport Improvement Program to “acquire land adjacent to airports to prevent incompatible land uses.”
“Ironically, our research shows that the city of Beverly has an unfortunate habit of selling airport land to developers instead,” Collins wrote, noting that “the complacency of local leaders to allow for continued encroachment” has increased the risk for the public and those aboard aircraft operating at the municipal airport.
Collins and AOPA’s Airport Support Network volunteer in Beverly, Bill Kossowan, are working to raise state and local officials’ awareness of the airspace-encroachment issue. Beverly’s airport community consists of a strong core of general aviation pilots including two active flying clubs, two flight schools, and a fixed-base operation—all of whom “provide a solid voice for local leaders to hear,” Collins said.