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Aviation and Spaceports Office

Aviation and Spaceports Office / Programs & Services / Airport and Airspace Protection

Airport and Airspace Protection

Aviation and Spaceports Office

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Aviation and Spaceports Office supports airport and airspace protection operations and procedures through airport compatible land use, airport protection zoning, federal obstruction evaluation and airport airspace analysis, the Airspace Obstruction Permitting process, local government comprehensive plan amendment review, local government airport protection zoning ordinance technical review assistance, and local government airport protection zoning variance review.

 

Airport Compatible Land Use
Pursuant to Section 333.03, FS, FDOT completed a new Florida Airport Compatible Land Use Guidebook.  The Guidebook is a product of extensive stakeholder input, and involves representatives from government, the aviation and real estate industries, and non-governmental organizations with an interest in aviation, planning, or governance.

 

The Guidebook promotes airport land use compatibility and airspace protection through several means. It calls attention to existing statutory requirements related to airspace protection and airport land use compatibility. It offers clarification on existing statutory requirements on airport protection zoning, while also offering guidance on the implementation of these requirements. The Guidebook also provides clarification on standards and principles underlying airport protection zoning requirements, and provides options for discouraging the encroachment of incompatible land uses upon aviation facilities.

 

In December 2012, the Guidebook was updated with the most recent changes to federal and state laws and regulations. Sections on best practices, prevention, and mitigation of incompatible land use were also expanded.

 

Although the Guidebook is intended to be accessible to a wide audience, the laws, regulations, and guidelines governing airspace and airport protection zoning in Florida are complex. The Guidebook is therefore supplemented by two additional documents: the Guidebook Brochure and the Airport Compatible Land Use – A Primer to the Guidebook.  The purpose of the brochure is to increase awareness of the Guidebook by being available to interested parties at meetings and events.  The primer provides a brief, top-level overview of laws, regulations, issues and solutions to matters related to airport land use compatibility.

 

The complex nature of three-dimensional airspace obstruction surfaces makes displaying them on a two-dimensional map highly challenging. As part of the Compatible Land Use Project, FDOT developed maps in accordance with requirements of Section 333.03(1), FS.  These maps show the extent of the area around public-use aviation facilities that may be subject to airport protection zoning and tall structure notification criteria.

 

You may contact the Airspace and Land Use Manager for additional information, or to request an electronic copy of a map.

 

For additional information, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed guidance for airport land use compatibility. You may contact the FAA Planning and Environmental Division at (202) 267-3263. Additionally, the Department of Defense has issued guidance on planning in the vicinity of military air installations, which is available in Department of Defense Instruction 4165.57.

 

Airport Protection Zoning
Pursuant to Section 333.03, FS, local governments having an airport hazard area within their jurisdictional limits have the authority to adopt, administer, and enforce airport protection zoning. Every political subdivision having an airport hazard area within its jurisdictional limits should have enacted its own local airport protection zoning ordinance, consistent with the provisions of Section 333.03, FS, by October 1, 1977. A copy of such ordinance and any updates should be on file with FDOT.  In the case that the local government has adopted such zoning provisions, upon the receipt of a final FAA determination, the sponsor should seek a variance to the local airport protection zoning ordinance directly with the local government, and should forward a copy of the variance application to FDOT.  FDOT has 45 days to provide comments on the proposal or waiver of that right to the sponsor and local authority considering the application for variance. It is the responsibility of the local government to incorporate FDOT’s 45-day comment period into its local variance process.

 

You may contact the Airspace and Land Use Manager for additional information.

 

Federal Obstruction Evaluation / Airport Airspace Analysis
Federal requirements related to airspace protection encompass two areas. First, proponents of any proposed construction or alteration of tall structures that exceed federal notification criteria are required to submit FAA Form 7460-1, Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration. Secondly, the FAA uses the information provided in this form to conduct an obstruction evaluation and airport airspace analysis, designed to identify and quantify the impacts that the proposal may have on the National Airspace System.

 

The FAA provides additional information on federal notification criteria and the obstruction evaluation process, including forms, at their Obstruction Evaluation / Airport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) website.

 

State of Florida Airspace Obstruction Permitting Process
Chapter 333, FS protects the National Airspace System overlying the State of Florida by preventing airport hazards and incompatible land uses in the vicinity of military and public-use airports. The statute also gives FDOT the responsibility and authority to issue or deny an Airspace Obstruction Permit for construction or alteration of any proposed or existing structure within a 10-nautical mile radius of the geographical center of a military or public-use aviation facility in the state if the proposal exceeds the federal obstruction standards. However, an FDOT Airspace Obstruction Permit is only required when an airport protection zoning ordinance has not been adopted by the local government in accordance with Section 333.03, FS, or airport protection zoning measures have not been otherwise established through either a joint zoning board or an agreement with another local government in accordance with Section 333.03, FS. Therefore, if a county has adopted an airport protection zoning ordinance but the proposed structure is located in an incorporated municipality that has not, then a state airspace obstruction permit is required. The permitting authority does not revert to the county.

 

To apply for an FDOT Airspace Obstruction Permit, the sponsor must submit an application to FDOT in Tallahassee to the attention of the Airspace and Land Use Manager. Generally, if a FDOT Airspace Obstruction Permit is required, FDOT staff sends notification of such requirement via certified mail, along with the Airspace Obstruction Permit application and a copy of Chapter 333, FS. Once a complete application is received, FDOT has 30 days to review the application and issue or deny the permit.

 

While reviewing an airspace obstruction permit, FDOT (in accordance with Section 333.025, FS) considers numerous factors. FDOT takes into account the safety of persons on the ground and in the air, the safe and efficientuse of navigable airspace, and surrounding land use density. It considers public and private interests, impacts on instrument approaches, technological advances, and potential conflicts with federal airways. It also weighs the character of flying operations and planned developments of airports, the nature of the terrain and height of existing structures, and the cumulative effects on navigable airspace of all existing structures, proposed structures identified in the applicable jurisdictions' comprehensive plans, and all other known proposed structures in the area.

 

Marking and Lighting Requirements
Marking and/or lighting of a structure is required under Florida law if that structure is determined to be an airspace obstruction. Marking and lighting recommendations are made by the FAA as a part of an aeronautical study determination in order to enhance pilot visual awareness of the structure’s presence and location. All airspace obstruction permits contain provisions that require obstruction marking and lighting. Advisory Circular 70/7460-1K, “Obstruction Marking and Lighting”, describes the standards for the marking and lighting of structures such as buildings, chimneys, antenna towers, cooling towers, storage tanks, and supporting structures of overhead wires, among others, and is available on FAA’s Obstruction Evaluation / Airport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) website.

 

You may contact the Airspace and Land Use Manager for additional information.

 

State of Florida Local Government Comprehensive Plan Amendment Review
In accordance with Chapter 163, FS, local governments adjacent to public-use aviation facilities must adopt comprehensive plan goals, objectives, and policies that ensure land use compatibility with the public-use aviation facilities. When a local government proposes a comprehensive plan amendment, FDOT may provide comments regarding the proposed amendments. Local governments preparing to propose such amendments during a comprehensive plan amendment cycle are encouraged to coordinate their efforts with FDOT. FDOT is available to provide guidance regarding local government airport land use compatibility planning.

 

You may contact the Airspace and Land Use Manager for additional information.

 

State of Florida Local Government Airport Protection Zoning Ordinance Technical Review Assistance
In accordance with Section 333.03(5), FS, local governments with an airport hazard area within their jurisdictional boundaries must adopt, administer, and enforce airport protection zoning regulations. When a local government prepares an airport protection zoning ordinance, FDOT staff is available to provide technical assistance with ordinance development. Local governments preparing such an ordinance are encouraged to coordinate their efforts with FDOT.

 

You may contact the Airspace and Land Use Manager for additional information.

 

State of Florida Local Government Airport Protection Zoning Variance Review
In accordance with Section 333.07(2), FS, applications for a variance to airport hazard areas within a government’s jurisdictional boundaries must be forwarded to FDOT.  FDOT has 45 days from the application receipt to comment or provide a waiver of that right to the applicant and the local government board of adjustment. In the process of the review of such variance applications, FDOT applies the criteria contained in Section 333.025, FS and Section 333.03, FS, and provides comments based upon those criteria.  While the responsibility for filing notifications and permitting applications or variances rests with the project sponsor, FDOT is available to provide additional guidance for projects that may impact the National Airspace System in Florida.

 

You may contact the Airspace and Land Use Manager for additional information.