The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering a significant reduction in the maximum height limit of buildings near U.S. airports to ensure aircraft have clearance to continue an ascent in the unlikely event that an engine fails at takeoff.
The proposed policy would limit building heights of new commercial projects within 10,000 feet of the end of the runway to no more than 160 feet tall. As a result, NAIOP-AZ has submitted a letter to strongly advocate that the FAA retract the proposed One Engine Inoperative (OEI) Procedures in the Obstruction Evaluation Studies published in the Federal Register on April 28.
While NAIOP-AZ fully supports the FAA’s role to oversee aviation safety, it opposes this proposed OEI policy, note that it does not address safety, does not contain adequate justification, penalizes unfairly communities surrounding airports by impeding much needed economic development, and lacks rigorous cost-benefit analyses.
NAIOP-AZ especially has a keen interest around one of the largest airports in the U.S., Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix where a number of its members have existing and planned buildings in multiple communities in relatively close proximity to the airport.
NAIOP-AZ is of the belief that if the policy determination outlined recently in the Federal Register is driven by economic considerations, it will have a chilling effect on developers constructing new facilities and on firms and tenants who may want to own existing facilities for investment purposes should a facility be close to or exceed the lower height requirements.
Should the FAA move forward, any OEI policy should, at a minimum, provide for certainty to developers and communities who engage in long-term planning, take into account the impacts and views of all stakeholders – not just in the aviation community, and be subjected to robust legislative rule-making requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, including a full cost- benefit and Federalism analysis.
Toward this end, NAIOP-AZ support HR 4623, pending in the US House of Representatives, which would mandate that the FAA follow normal rule-making procedures for a policy change of this magnitude that would include such an economic cost-benefit analysis.