A land-use plan for property within the airport boundary and in areas adjacent to the airport is an essential part of an airport master plan. The land-use plan on and off the airport is an integral part of an area wide comprehensive planning program, and therefore it must be coordinated with the objectives, policies, and programs for the area which the airport is to serve. Incompatibility of the airport with its neighbors stems primarily from the objections of people to aircraft noise. A land-use plan must therefore project the extent of aircraft noise that will be generated by airport operations in the future. Contours of equal intensity of noise can be drawn and overlaid on a land-use map and from these contours an estimate can be made of the compatibility of existing land use with airport operations. If the land outside the airport is underdeveloped, the contours are the basis for establishing comprehensive land-use zoning requirements.
Although zoning is used as a method for controlling land use adjacent to an airport, it is not effective in areas which are already built-up because it is usually not retroactive. Furthermore jurisdictions having zoning powers may not take effective zoning action.
Aircraft operations into and out of the airport may be made unnecessarily complex to minimize noise encroachment on incompatible land uses. Despite these shortcomings the planner should utilize zoning as a vehicle to achieve compatibility wherever this approach is feasible.
Airports become involved in two types of zoning. One type is height and hazard zoning, which is mainly to protect the approaches to the airport from obstructions. The other type is land-use zoning. The extent of land use in the airport depends a great deal on the amount of acreage available. Land uses can be classified as eitherclosely related to aviation or remotely related to aviation. Those
closely related to aviation use include the runways, taxiways, aprons, terminal buildings, parking, and maintenance facilities. Nonaviation uses include space for recreational, industrial, and commercial activities. When considering commercial or industrial activities, care should be taken to ensure that they will not interfere with aircraft operations, communications equipment, and aids to navigation on the ground. Recreational facilities such as golf courses may be suitable within the immediate proximity of the airport boundary or certain agricultural uses are also appropriate as long as they do not attract birds. When there is acreage within the airport boundary in excess of aviation needs, it is sound fiscal planning to provide the greatest financial return from leases of the excess property. Thus the land-use plan within the airport is a very effective tool in helping airport management make decisions concerning requests for land use by various interests and often airports delineate areas on the airport property for the development of industrial parks.
The principal objective of the land-use plan for areas outside the airport boundary is to minimize the disturbing effects of noise. As stated earlier the delineation of noise contours is the most promising approach for establishing noise-sensitive areas. The contours define the areas which are or are not suitable for residential use or other use and, likewise, those which are suitable for light industrial, commercial, or recreational activity. Although the responsibility for developing land uses adjacent to the airport lies with the governing bodies of adjacent communities, the land-use plan provided by the airport authority will greatly influence and assist the governing bodies in their task of establishing comprehensive land-use zoning.