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Aviation Office / Programs & Services /Airport and Airspace Protection and Zoning
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Aviation Office (AO) supports airport and airspace protection and zoning operations and procedures through the adoption, administration and enforcement of airport protection and airport compatible land use zoning regulations. This is in accordance with Chapter 333, Florida Statutes (FS), Airport Zoning, and the utilization of federal obstruction evaluation and airport airspace analysis (OE/AAA) in accordance with 14 C.F.R. Part 77, to insure the safe and efficient use of navigable airspace, and the operation of existing or planned air navigation and communication facilities. These operations and procedures include Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards and procedures for aeronautical studies and the FDOT and local government airspace obstruction permitting processes. This process was recently modified by the amendment of Chapter 333, FS.
Chapter 333, Florida Statutes, Airport Zoning, amended effective July 1, 2016The Florida Legislature amended Chapter 333, FS, effective July 1, 2016. A substantial portion of the provisions of Chapter 333, FS was amended which requires the revision of existing airport zoning regulations of almost all Political Subdivisions by July 1, 2017. , Chapter 333, FS continues to require that every Political Subdivision having an airport hazard area (any area where an airport hazard/obstruction might be established) within its territorial limits shall adopt, administer, and enforce airport zoning regulations. To assist Political Subdivisions in identifying and complying with the changes to Chapter 333, FS, the AO has provided the following resource documents/presentations and posted them to the AO website:
HB 7061 & FS 333 Comparison MatrixChapter 333 FS – Airport Zoning PowerPoint Presentation (1.61 MB)Chapter 333 FS Airport Zoning PowerPoint Presentation – Recording (193.10 MB)Chapter 333 FS Airport Zoning - Suggested Regulation Revision ChecklistChapter 333 FS – Airport Zoning (2015)Chapter 333 FS – Airport Zoning (2016)House Bill 7061 – Transportation
Changes to Chapter 333, F.S. include the following:New definitions, Section 333.01, FS;
Amended numbering of provisions of 14 C.F.R. Part 77 standards;
Amended criteria for FDOT evaluation of airport protection zoning permit applications, Section 333.025, FS
Amended criteria and processes for political subdivisions’ airport protection zoning regulations, Sections 333.03, 333.04, 333.05, 333.06, 333.07, and 333.09, FS;
Amended appeals process, Section 333.09(3), FS;
Amended judicial review process, Section 333.11, FS;
Amended standards for airport land use compatibility zoning regulations, Section 333.03(2), FS;
Amended the requirement for a political subdivision, which controls an airport, and for another political subdivision, which has land underlying a surface of the airport, to enter into an interlocal agreement or joint airport zoning board to adopt, administer, and enforce airport zoning regulations (referred to as Multiple Zoning Authorities), Section 333.03(1)(b), FS;
Revised submittal requirements for airport protection zoning permit applications and amended airport zoning regulations to the FDOT AO, Sections 333.025(4), and 333.03(3), FS;
Deadlines for submitting revised airport zoning regulations in compliance with Chapter 333, FS (2016), Section 333.135, FS; and
Repeal of Sections 333.065, 333.08, 333.10 and 333.14, FS.
Requirements for submitting Airport Zoning Permit Applications and Amended Airport Zoning RegulationsChapter 333, FS has been amended to modify the procedure for providing copies of airport zoning permit applications and amended airport zoning regulations. The AO has provided email address accounts to facilitate submission of these documents.
Airport Zoning Permit Applications
It should be noted that the effective date for the requirement to submit airport zoning permit applications to the AO, in accordance with Section 333.025(4), FS, is JULY 1, 2016. In a change to prior law this statutory section now requires that the local government shall provide a complete copy of the permit application to the AO for review:
Upon receipt of a complete permit application, the local government shall provide a copy of the application to the department's aviation office by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by a delivery service that provides a receipt evidencing delivery. To evaluate technical consistency with this subsection, the department shall have a 15-day review period following receipt of the application, which must run concurrently with the local government permitting process.
In lieu of the certified mail requirement the AO has authorized the local government to submit the permit application to the AO using the email address: DOTAirportZoning@dot.state.fl.us. If the zoning authority does not use the email account then delivery must be as required by the statute. The email account may also be used for submission of questions regarding this requirement.
Amended Airport Zoning Regulations
Section 333.03(3), FS requires political subdivisions having airport zoning responsibility to submit copies of their amended airport zoning regulations to the FDOT AO within 30 days of adoption. The AO has established another email address, DOTRegulationReview@dot.state.fl.us., to be used to submit the amended airport zoning regulations to the AO and to submit questions. Existing airport zoning regulations which require amendment in accordance with Section 333.03(3), FS “…shall be amended to conform to the requirements of this chapter by JULY 1, 2017.”
ZONING FOR LANDS UNDERLYING AIRPORT SURFACES
Consistent with prior law Section 333.03(1)(b), FS provides a continuing requirement for political subdivisions, in specific circumstances (lands underlying airport surfaces), to adopt, administer and enforce airport protection and airport land use compatibility zoning regulations as follows:
(1)(b) If an airport is owned or controlled by a political subdivision and if any other political subdivision has land upon which an obstruction may be constructed or altered which underlies any surface of the airport as provided in 14 C.F.R. part 77, subpart C, the political subdivisions shall either: 1. By interlocal agreement, adopt, administer, and enforce a set of airport protection zoning regulations; or 2. By ordinance, regulation, or resolution duly adopted, create a joint airport protection zoning board that shall adopt, administer, and enforce a set of airport protection zoning regulations.
In addition, Section 333.03(2), FS provides: “In the manner provided in subsection (1), political subdivisions shall adopt, administer, and enforce airport land use compatibility zoning regulations.
In accordance with the foregoing statutory sections multiple political subdivisions, under the specified circumstances, must by interlocal agreement or joint zoning board adopt, administer and enforce a set of airport protection and airport land use compatibility zoning regulations and submit a copy to the FDOT AO.
You may contact the Airspace and Land Use Manager for additional information.
Airport Compatible Land UsePursuant to Section 333.03, FS, FDOT completed a new 2020 Airport Airspace & 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 2020 Airport Airspace & Land Use Guidebook Primer. 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 ZoningPursuant 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.
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 efficient use 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.
State of Florida Local Government Comprehensive Plan Amendment ReviewIn 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.
State of Florida Local Government Airport Protection Zoning Ordinance Technical Review AssistanceIn 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.
State of Florida Local Government Airport Protection Zoning Variance ReviewIn 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.
Florida Department of Transportation
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