New York General Business Law Section 249 - Location of privately-owned airports.

249. Location of privately-owned airports. 1. Legislative findings and purpose. The continuing development and the rapid growth of air transportation and the use of aircraft for various purposes, both commercial and private, during the last twenty years, has substantially contributed to the economic betterment, well-being and recreational enjoyment of the people of the state. The increased number, size and growth of airports resulting from operational requirements of newer and larger aircraft operating more frequently has brought about a conflict of land use. This is of particular concern to the state in major public works construction such as highways, public buildings and facilities. There is authority for municipalities to control the establishment or improvement of publicly-owned airports and landing areas so as to assure coordination between developments in the field of public works. Uncontrolled establishment of privately-owned airports and landing areas could seriously impair the existing federal-state highway program. Federal-aid highway funds may not be used for reconstruction or relocation of any highway, the usefulness of which may be impaired by the location or extension of an airport. This activity also presents major problems for municipalities particularly where the airport or operations therefrom span more than one municipality.

The legislature, therefore, finds that in order to meet the problems of local government in the establishment of privately-owned airports and landing areas and to insure coordination between developments in the field of public works that certain criteria be met in the location of or extension of a privately-owned airport or landing area.

2. Definitions. When used in this section:

a. Airport means both an airport and landing area as defined in section two hundred forty of this article.

b. Airport improvement means the extension, alteration, addition to or realignment of the runways of an existing privately-owned airport or the modification in any way of the landing and take-off directions at such a privately-owned airport.

3. Approval of privately-owned airports. No person shall hereafter establish a privately-owned airport or make an airport improvement to an existing privately-owned airport except by authorization of the governing body of the city, village or town in which such airport or any part thereof is proposed to be established or improved. The governing body of a city, village or town shall not authorize the establishment of such an airport or an airport improvement at a requested location unless in accordance with the standards prescribed by the commissioner of transportation. The local governing body of a city, village or town shall, prior to granting such authorization, request the commissioner of transportation to determine whether or not the establishment of such a privately-owned airport improvement complies with his standards. In order to make such a determination of compliance, the commissioner of transportation must first make findings of fact (1) that operations of such airport will not conflict with or affect the safety of public buildings or facilities, or operations on public highways or waterways; and (2) that the volume, character and direction of traffic at such airport will not constitute a menace to the safety of operations at other airports in the vicinity. Approval for the establishment of such an airport or airport improvement may be subject to any reasonable conditions which the commissioner of transportation may deem necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section.

4. Hearings. In connection with his determination as to whether the establishment of a privately-owned airport or an airport improvement as defined in this section complies with his standards the commissioner of transportation may on his own motion or upon the request of an affected or interested person or of the governing body of the city, village or town requesting such determination of compliance, hold a hearing as provided in subdivision five below.

5. Investigations, hearings. The commissioner of transportation or any officer or employee of the department of transportation designated by the commissioner of transporation, shall have the power to conduct investigations and inquiries and to hold hearings concerning matters covered by this act and the rules, regulations and orders of the commissioner of transportation. Hearings shall be held upon such call or notice as the commissioner of transportation or his duly designated representative shall deem advisable. The commissioner of transportation and each person designated by him to conduct any investigation or inquiry, or to hold any hearing shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations, certify to all official acts, issue subpoenas, and order the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers and documents. In the case of the failure of any person to comply with any subpoena or order issued under the authority of this section, the commissioner of transportation or his authorized representative may invoke the aid of any court of general jurisdiction of this state. The court may thereupon order such person to comply with the requirements of the subpoena or order to give evidence touching the matter in question. Failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.

6. Rules and regulations. The commissioner of transportation is authorized to adopt such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the proper administration and enforcement of the provisions of this section, but not inconsistent therewith, and to amend or repeal any of such rules and regulations.

7. Delegation of powers. The commissioner of transportation may, except as to rule-making powers, by a writing filed in the office of the department designate any officer or employee of the department of transportation to carry out his duties under this section.

8. Nothing in this section shall be construed to deny the governing body of any city, village or town the right to perform any lawful regulatory activity relating to privately-owned airports, which is not within the purposes or scope of this section.

Last modified: February 3, 2019