Photo: Councilman Jarvis Johnson hosts community meeting addressing new FAA airport compatible land use regulations. Photo by Trilla Cook The town hall meeting originally scheduled for June 25 at Kingwood Park High School, was canceled when a community meeting concerning new FAA land use regulations was scheduled for July 1. Council Member Jarvis Johnson of District B opened the meeting regarding proposed airport compatible land use regulations to a large crowd of concerned citizens and homeowners. He told the group that he knew they would have some very tough questions about what the airport and FAA are doing and he hoped to get answers to all of their questions. “ You might not get the answer that you want but you will get a truthful answer,” he said. Johnson welcomed special guests to the meeting including Mayor McMannes of Humble, Representative Senfronia Thompson, Councilman Mike Sullivan of District E and representatives from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s office. Johnson then turned the meeting over to Eric Potts, deputy director of the Houston Aviation Department and Marlene L. Gafrick, director of the Planning and Development Department. “These regulations will not affect properties as they currently exist today,” said Potts. “We’re not here to over-regulate. All of the information on the screen can be accessed on the Web site, including a list of frequently asked questions which we will continually add to as we get more information from the community.” Audience members were given three-by-five inch cards to write down questions and concerns to be addressed after the presentation. Potts said that information they collect from each of the public meetings will be evaluated. According to Gafrick, the airport brings in 24 billion dollars to Houston’s economy. “In 2006, the FAA admonished the City of Houston for allowing incompatible development to encroach into areas affected by airport operations. In a letter, the FAA asked the City to adopt measures that ensure compatible land development and would protect their investment of grant funds in the three airports,” said Gafrick. The City of Houston is proposing new regulations aimed at preventing land use and developments around the three major airports – George Bush Intercontinental airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and Ellington Field (EFD) – that are incompatible with airport operations, safety and future growth. Under federal law, as a recipient of FAA airport development grants, the City of Houston is required to assure that “appropriate actions have been taken to restrict the use of land adjacent to or near the airport” and “to protect the airport and any future federal investment to meet the air travel needs of the citizens and businesses in the Houston metropolitan area.” Compliance is both a matter of federal law and necessary to protect the Houston airports from encroachment and incompatible land uses that may affect safety, reduce capacity or hinder future growth and federal funding. To determine the three tiers, the city reviewed the areas where noise from airport operations and airport-related land use might have the most adverse impact now and in the future based upon current airport master plans and projected growth in air traffic. In order to regulate as little area as necessary for airport operations, the regulated area at each airport is divided into three so-called “tiers.” Tier 1 is the area closest to the airport runways. Tier 2 follows natural or man-made boundaries to identify the areas that are associated with airport-related land use and service functions. Tier 3 is the State law defined area, the three-by-five mile box, where the city could regulate land usage. During the meeting, citizens were assured that all existing buildings, if left unchanged, will not be affected. Existing buildings may be affected if they are rebuilt, renovated or undergo other structural improvements. Addressing that issue, Gafrick said they do not want to discourage homeowner improvements. An environmental impact study is currently underway, according to Potts, and is estimated to be complete within the next three years. “The focus of that study is to provide two additional runways at IAH,” he said. The first of another set of public hearings regarding the proposed new regulations will be Aug. 21. The town hall meeting will be rescheduled in September, details to be announced. Council Member Mike Sullivan’s office will host another town hall meeting July 8 at San Jacinto College South Campus. For more information, go to www.fly2houston.com; call 281-233-1366 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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