One size doesn’t fit all: General aviation airport zoning laws and ordinances

Posted in: Aviation


Mead & Hunt is in the early stages of assessing the value of various airport zoning laws and ordinances around general aviation airports. We are specifically looking at ordinances pertaining to height, hazards and land use compatibility. The results of this research will be compiled in a guidebook as the end product for Airport Cooperative Research Program Project 04-22: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Compatibility Zoning at General Aviation Airports. The 15-month study will include broad-scale research involving:

  • A review of literature from past ACRP studies and other sources. The goal is to identify a mix of GA airports that have either successfully carried out airport compatibility zoning or struggled to implement a process that mutually benefits the airport and surrounding community.
  • Interviews with airport managers, local planners and other industry stakeholders to identify different approaches to airport land use compatibility planning.
  • Case studies of a select group of airports and communities to understand why certain zoning regulations work in one community, but not another.

The goal of the study is to interview a diverse group representing at least 40 GA airports with varying backgrounds and perspectives that represent:

  • States with and without laws requiring airport zoning regulations
  • A mix of GA airports owned by a state agency, county, city, independent authority or private entity
  • A mix of GA airports of varying activity levels and sizes
  • A mix of GA airports in rural and urban environments

I am excited to be serving as principal investigator and leading the Mead & Hunt team for this important project. If you have recommendations on potential GA airports to be included in the study or for more information, please contact me.

About the Author

Blending her passion for airports and land use planning, Maranda Thompson serves as Mead & Hunt’s senior aviation planner and project manager focusing on airport land use compatibility planning projects on the West Coast. Maranda enjoys working with airport sponsors and communities to create a transparent and collaborative process to reach mutually beneficial outcomes. In her free time, you’ll find Maranda exploring the outdoors with her family or introducing her young daughter to the Polynesian culture through dance and music.

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