[TowerTalk] tower restrictions

Roger (K8RI) K8RI-on-TowerTalk at tm.net
Sun Jul 20 01:01:13 EDT 2008

Richard Hill wrote:
> Not quite on topic, but a developer in San Diego got a permit to build a
> "sky scraper" in the path of an alternate landing pattern, just out of the
> airport authority.  End result?  The developer had to remove two stories of
> the building and project approval processes were changed (and there were
> resignations from the planning department).
> http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20061105/news_1n5tootall.html
> Includes developer's position and history.

First that is a very old article and the FAA was not powerless.
A bit more background: 
Just a search on Montgomery field and Sunroad brings up a wealth of 

This situation differs greatly from a ham tower and city permits.Even 
where the FAA is a consideration, the individual only needs receive an 
opinion/statement for the local Flight Service District Office or FSDO 
as to what they must do and unless directly in the flight path for a 
runway or very close to the airport there usually isn't a problem. the 
FAA gets quite excited if the local of state tries to get involved 
within their regulations.  IOW they are quite territorial. <:-))

What the original article missed was that enroaced on the *instrument* 
flight pattern, not an alternative flight pattern and  although they 
called them small planes there are multi engine jets in and out of 
there. Something the city has tried to stop.
Basically the city ignored federal guidelines in issuing the permits.  
The *apparent* goal was to get it in and then force the airport to alter 
their pattern, but as the city had used federal funds they lost out.  
That particular airport, city, and the FAA have a long adversarial 

I think if you check farther the builder eventually ended up removing 
two floors from the building. IOW the top floor apartments and a second 
story for a parking garage. Now there's an investigation as to who did 
what and when<:-))

However it does show that even building permits provide no absolute 
guarantee even for large corporations. OTOH the builder may be able to 
recoup some losses from the city. I for see some long, messy legal 
battles out of that one.

Roger (K8RI - ARRL Life Member)
N833R (World's oldest Debonair)

More information about the TowerTalk mailing list