40-Story Condo Impinges on Airspace
The AOPA says that Pompano Beach (FL) is in danger
of violating a contract with the federal government unless it takes
steps to prevent construction of a proposed 40-story condominium
adjacent to Pompano Beach Airpark (PMP). The FAA has ruled the
Ocean Heights development project a "hazard to air
navigation," and AOPA has strongly advised the city to
stop the project.
"Pompano Beach Airpark is an immensely popular general aviation
airport," said AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Bill Dunn.
"Any of the changes proposed for the airport to accommodate the
condo project would have a negative effect on pilots' ability to
use the airport."
AOPA strongly opposes the development project and has sent a
sharply worded letter to Pompano Beach City Manager C. William
Hargett, Jr. In the letter, Dunn reminded Hargett that the city has
no choice but to protect the airport against the Ocean Heights
project, no matter how much the city would like to see the project
The federal government declared the airport war surplus after
World War II, and turned it over to the city in 1947, with strings
attached. The deed awarding the Pompano Beach Airpark to the city
said, in part, that Pompano Beach "shall adequately clear and
protect the aerial approaches to the airport by removing, lowering,
relocating, marking, or lighting or otherwise mitigating existing
airport hazards and by preventing the establishment or creation of
future hazards [emphasis added]."
After being told by the FAA that the project posed
a hazard, the developers, George Rethati and the Beach Colony
Corporation, tried several backdoor methods to convince the FAA to
rule in favor of the project, including petitions to change the
traffic pattern and traffic pattern altitude, and to change or
eliminate a number of instrument approach procedures and minimum
weather standards for the airport.
"The city of Pompano Beach entered into a contract with the
federal government when it accepted possession of the airport,"
said Dunn in the letter. "That contract very specifically requires
the city to protect the airport and prevent any development that
would compromise the utility and safety of the airport."
Dunn continued, "City administration approval of the Ocean
Heights project is completely inconsistent and in our opinion, a
direct breach of your contract with the federal government."
Pompano Beach Airpark is home to more than 245 based aircraft,
and during the first eleven months of 2002 had more than 199,000