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We were informed a neighbor is planning a 2800 ft. X 150 ft. asphalt "air park" on property behind our home. The end of the runway is to be 360’ from our bedroom windows. As our home is in the curve of the road, neighbors on either side will be even closer to the end, just not under direct fire from planes taking off & landing. She is planning 4 Cessnas (no ideas on the model #), with amateur pilots. The wooded property was zoned “restricted residential”, but the change slipped thru the zoning board without neighbors on all four sides being notified & given an opportunity to voice opinions. Obviously we are worried about the safety of our home & those of our neighbors in a “crash zone”. Does the FAA have jurisdiction over such strips?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean feet (not inches)? 150 feet seems awfully wide $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Jun 22 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe 150ft includes the apron, not just the strip. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jun 22 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ Relevant related question, possibly duplicate; the short answer is "no, the FAA does not have control." I would concur with other commenters that 150 feet is very wide for a short private-use runway. I suspect that the actual runway width will be closer to 50-75 feet, or even less. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jun 22 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ I'd like to explain my downvote: 'Obviously we are worried about the safety of our home & those of our neighbors in a “crash zone”' This question seems to be making an unfounded assertion. It is not obvious at all that neighbors should be concerned about a plane crashing into their house. This distracts from the real question-- FAA jurisdiction over airport sites-- and could derail good answers with a political discussion. $\endgroup$ Jun 22 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ It would be much more productive to go back to the zoning board and discover why you were not given a chance to lodge an objection. This sort of thing is the bread and butter of local politics, and local news just love stories "residents concerned about new airport". $\endgroup$ Jun 22 at 20:33

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The FAA does have some control over the establishment of a "Private Use" airport in that certain regulations must be complied with prior to the work on the airport beginning. This is required so, among other things, an FAA "determination" can be issued as follows:

  1. No Objection; or
  2. Conditional; or
  3. Objectionable.

Source: § 157.7 FAA determinations.

Ultimately, these determinations are "advisory" but the FAA determination would likely have an effect on the availability and cost of insurance coverage for the entity building the airport and perhaps other issues that need to be considered by the local authorities.

A full reading of 14 CFR Part 157 is helpful in understanding the level of FAA involvement in the construction and development of a "Private Use" airport.



Below is some specific information regarding the construction and development of a "Private Use" airport.

The FAA must be notified if a "Private Use" airport is established. Also, the "Private Use" airport must comply with 14 CFR Part 157, Notice of Construction, Alteration, Activation, and Deactivation.

The source for this information can be found in this "Frequently Asked Questions" FAA document: What procedures must I follow to build a private-use airport?

This document states the following:

What procedures must I follow to build a private-use airport?

The FAA does not have procedures for building a private-use airport, but you may follow the design standards for public-use airports as a general guideline. You can find these standards in Advisory Circular (AC )150/5300-13, Airport Design. You can also find additional ACs that may be useful on our website.

You must notify us if you establish a new private use airport. Private-use airports must comply with 14 CFR Part 157, Notice of Construction, Alteration, Activation, and Deactivation. Part 157 applies if you are proposing to construct, alter, activate, or deactivate a civil or joint use (civil/military) airport or alter the status or use of the airport. To notify the FAA, complete FAA Form 7480-1, Notice of Landing Area Proposal , and send it to your nearest FAA Airports office.

IMPORTANT: Even if you file a notice with the FAA, you must separately notify your state aviation agency and also comply with any local law, ordinance, or state and federal regulations.

(emphasis is mine)

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    $\begingroup$ +1, but "control" is a very strong word. What the FAA actually has (as you describe) is a notification requirement, and the penalty for violating the notification requirement is a maximum fine of $1000 per violation. They don't have "control" to affect the actual action in any way. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jun 22 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ @randomhead Part 157 says that a "Notice of Intent" shall be submitted 90 days in advance of work being started on the airport so that the FAA can make an official "determination." (of interest to many parties). If the construction begins without a Notice of Intent and subsequent "determination" being made then interested parties will never have the opportunity to contest it if it is "Objectionable"(for example). Then the construction of the airport will have been made contrary to the regulations. A requirement to comply with Federal Regs is form of "control." $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Jun 22 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ And what is the FAA's recourse if the form isn't submitted? Only a fine. They cannot prevent the airport from being constructed. The FAA has much more "control" over airports that take public funds, and even more over aircraft and pilots. If a person operates an aircraft without a proper pilot's certificate, that person is subject to a penalty including imprisonment, which certainly "controls" their physical ability to operate an aircraft again. The FAA has no physical control over a private airport. (49 USC 46319 does prohibit the improper closure of an airport, again punishable by fine.) $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jun 22 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ @randomhead I don't want to debate the meaning of "control." I think I characterized its meaning in answer saying there is some control. It's not only the intent form, but the determination level which is the responsibility of the airport entity to obtain prior to construction. Perhaps the fine would be daily until the form was filed and a regulatory determination was made. Also, think about a pilot who enters Class B space without a clearance. Likely a fine or less, but the pilot still entered without a clearance. Does not ATC "control" Class B? $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Jun 22 at 23:13
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The FAA only has jurisdiction once a plane is in the air and they are not anxious to restrict traffic based on complaints. They have airport design guidelines for larger facilities. On the ground it is up to local authorities and zoning is the normal means of control.

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