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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Location of privately-owned airports
General Business (GBS) CHAPTER 20, ARTICLE 14
§ 249. Location of privately-owned airports. 1. Legislative findings
and purpose. The continuing development and the rapid growth of air
transportation and the use of aircraft for various purposes, both
commercial and private, during the last twenty years, has substantially
contributed to the economic betterment, well-being and recreational
enjoyment of the people of the state. The increased number, size and
growth of airports resulting from operational requirements of newer and
larger aircraft operating more frequently has brought about a conflict
of land use. This is of particular concern to the state in major public
works construction such as highways, public buildings and facilities.
There is authority for municipalities to control the establishment or
improvement of publicly-owned airports and landing areas so as to assure
coordination between developments in the field of public works.
Uncontrolled establishment of privately-owned airports and landing areas
could seriously impair the existing federal-state highway program.
Federal-aid highway funds may not be used for reconstruction or
relocation of any highway, the usefulness of which may be impaired by
the location or extension of an airport. This activity also presents
major problems for municipalities particularly where the airport or
operations therefrom span more than one municipality.

The legislature, therefore, finds that in order to meet the problems
of local government in the establishment of privately-owned airports and
landing areas and to insure coordination between developments in the
field of public works that certain criteria be met in the location of or
extension of a privately-owned airport or landing area.

2. Definitions. When used in this section:

a. Airport means both an airport and landing area as defined in
section two hundred forty of this article.

b. Airport improvement means the extension, alteration, addition to or
realignment of the runways of an existing privately-owned airport or the
modification in any way of the landing and take-off directions at such a
privately-owned airport.

3. Approval of privately-owned airports. No person shall hereafter
establish a privately-owned airport or make an airport improvement to an
existing privately-owned airport except by authorization of the
governing body of the city, village or town in which such airport or any
part thereof is proposed to be established or improved. The governing
body of a city, village or town shall not authorize the establishment of
such an airport or an airport improvement at a requested location unless
in accordance with the standards prescribed by the commissioner of
transportation. The local governing body of a city, village or town
shall, prior to granting such authorization, request the commissioner of
transportation to determine whether or not the establishment of such a
privately-owned airport improvement complies with his standards. In
order to make such a determination of compliance, the commissioner of
transportation must first make findings of fact (1) that operations of
such airport will not conflict with or affect the safety of public
buildings or facilities, or operations on public highways or waterways;
and (2) that the volume, character and direction of traffic at such
airport will not constitute a menace to the safety of operations at
other airports in the vicinity. Approval for the establishment of such
an airport or airport improvement may be subject to any reasonable
conditions which the commissioner of transportation may deem necessary
to effectuate the purposes of this section.

4. Hearings. In connection with his determination as to whether the
establishment of a privately-owned airport or an airport improvement as
defined in this section complies with his standards the commissioner of
transportation may on his own motion or upon the request of an affected
or interested person or of the governing body of the city, village or
town requesting such determination of compliance, hold a hearing as
provided in subdivision five below.

5. Investigations, hearings. The commissioner of transportation or any
officer or employee of the department of transportation designated by
the commissioner of transporation, shall have the power to conduct
investigations and inquiries and to hold hearings concerning matters
covered by this act and the rules, regulations and orders of the
commissioner of transportation. Hearings shall be held upon such call or
notice as the commissioner of transportation or his duly designated
representative shall deem advisable. The commissioner of transportation
and each person designated by him to conduct any investigation or
inquiry, or to hold any hearing shall have the power to administer oaths
and affirmations, certify to all official acts, issue subpoenas, and
order the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of
books, papers and documents. In the case of the failure of any person to
comply with any subpoena or order issued under the authority of this
section, the commissioner of transportation or his authorized
representative may invoke the aid of any court of general jurisdiction
of this state. The court may thereupon order such person to comply with
the requirements of the subpoena or order to give evidence touching the
matter in question. Failure to obey the order of the court may be
punished by the court as a contempt thereof.

6. Rules and regulations. The commissioner of transportation is
authorized to adopt such rules and regulations as may be necessary for
the proper administration and enforcement of the provisions of this
section, but not inconsistent therewith, and to amend or repeal any of
such rules and regulations.

7. Delegation of powers. The commissioner of transportation may,
except as to rule-making powers, by a writing filed in the office of the
department designate any officer or employee of the department of
transportation to carry out his duties under this section.

8. Nothing in this section shall be construed to deny the governing
body of any city, village or town the right to perform any lawful
regulatory activity relating to privately-owned airports, which is not
within the purposes or scope of this section.