Discussion The three areas of primary concern for both the protection and safety of an airport are height of objects (typically called “obstructions”), aircraft noise impacts, and hazards created by the presence of wildlife. Obstructions Tall objects such as cell towers, water tanks, wind farms, or trees that penetrate airspace where aircraft fly are obviously not appropriate. FAA’s Regulation Part 77, Objects Affecting Navigable Airspace, defines “imaginary surfaces” that generally should be kept free of penetrations. One of these imaginary surfaces is the approach slope to the runway threshold. Both zoning and the building permitting process are used to help prevent tall objects around airports. FAA may also deem a proposed object a hazard, which in most cases will halt the issuance of a building permit. A common form of zoning associated with airports is the development of an airport zoning ordinance. These are typically sponsored by local municipalities or state statute. When feasible, they should include both height and land use restrictions to adequately protect the airport, safe movement of aircraft, and persons that live or work in the vicinity of the airport. Proponents of proposed structures near airports are required to obtain FAA approval prior to construction. Local governments should institute a process where this coordination is done early in the planning process. Airport Obstructions RUNWAY SURFACE Tree Penetration Structure Penetration Tree Penetration Cell Tower Penetration Tree Penetration
RULES FINANCIAL GENER AL THE AIRPORT 27 Noise Considerable progress has been made over the past 20 years to reduce aircraft engine noise; however, this issue remains as a point of controversy between airports and their neighbors. The public is concerned not only about the total amount of noise to which it is exposed, it is also concerned about the number of flights that pass over their home, the individual noise levels emitted from aircraft, the time of day or night aircraft pass over, and the aircraft’s height in proximity to the ground. Through a federal Interagency Committee on noise, FAA selected 65 day-night noise level (DNL) as the threshold of significance. DNL is a composite rating of noise that considers nighttime aircraft noise as normally more of a nuisance than day-time noise. This DNL rating includes consideration of the noise of multiple aircraft takeoffs and landings, with those at night counting 10 times those in the day. Many airports have prepared noise maps that identify the DNL contours for their airport. Communities use these noise maps to guide the adoption of responsible land use plans and zoning to protect both the airport and its neighbors. Techniques used to mitigate aircraft noise impacts include: • Work with FAA to modify flight track location to overfly corridors of compatible land use; • Establish voluntary runway use programs, maximizing certain runways and flight tracks when weather and activity permit; • Manage time and location of
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