Restrictive Jacksonville Ordinance Draws EAA's Attention
August 22, 2006 — A narrowly written city ordinance that bans construction of aircraft and airboats at Jacksonville, Fla., residences has EAA acting on behalf of its membership in that city, and to prevent similar arbitrary bans in other areas of the country. The ordinance, passed in June, specifically bans the building or restoring of anything that flies or is intended to leave the ground. It was written to solve a single dispute between an EAA member and some of his neighbors, who contended the project was noisy and caused an eyesore.
"A number of communities and individual residential subdivisions have restrictions on mechanical construction or repair projects in residential areas, but these apply to all types of projects, such as cars, boats, home remodeling and so forth," said Earl Lawrence, EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs.
"It seems quite unfair that an aircraft builder could not quietly fit two parts together while is neighbor might be able to rebuild and engine test a muscle car next door."
After learning of the new ordinance, EAA Legal Advisory Council member Pat Phillips contacted Jacksonville city attorneys to discuss the background of the ordinance, and to reiterate that such a narrowly focused regulation might not stand court scrutiny.
Many aircraft builders begin airplane projects at their home until construction has advanced to the point where transporting the aircraft to an airport for final construction is more practical.
According to an Aug. 20 article in the Florida Times-Union, city officials are now admitting that the ordinance may need "tweaking."
"We can imagine the outcry from the public if Jacksonville passed a rule saying residents could not work on automobiles, boats or motorcycles at the their own homes," Lawrence said. "Just because the majority of city residents do not have airplane projects is no reason to discriminate against those who do this lawfully."
Lawrence added that noise and nuisance ordinances in most communities handle such situations and should be used instead of a blanket ban. EAA will continue to monitor the situation to ensure fairness in such regulations.
For more information regarding this issue, a website has been created by those affected in Jacksonville. That website can be accessed at www.jaxairplane.com.