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Jacksonville Ordinance Prohibiting Homebuilding At Home Upheld

Motion Seeks Clarification

December 20, 2006 — Homebuilt aviation enthusiasts and aircraft restorers in Jacksonville, Florida, are continuing to pursue their legal options after a judge recently ruled the city's ordinance prohibiting work on airplanes at home was constitutional. That ruling allows charges against an EAA member for violating the ordinance to move forward, but a motion for rehearing and/or clarification on the order has already been filed.

The ordinance, passed in the summer of 2006, contains two sections: (a) prohibits parking or storing aircraft or airboats in residentially zoned areas, except in completely enclosed buildings; and (b) prohibits anyone from repairing, testing, operating, modifying, or altering flying craft or airboats anywhere on a residential lot.

Brian Kraut, EAA 692635, was cited for violating both provisions of the ordinance (656.420) and sought to have it ruled unconstitutional, but Duval County Judge John Moran's ruling upheld the ordinance. However, in his ruling he addressed only section (a) of the ordinance, writing, "Defendant has not been deprived of his right to own aircraft or store them on his property; he may own any aircraft but store it off-site or on his property in an enclosed garage." There were no comments on section (b).

That's what led Kraut's attorney, Jeffrey R. Ludwig, to motion for rehearing and/or clarification. "In his order, the (judge) really didn't get into talking about if it was permissible under the ordinance for a homebuilder to work on an airplane in his garage, and that's what everyone is excited about.

"The judge didn't clarify how working on an airplane is different from common hobbies such as working on a car in a garage," said Ludwig, EAA 316810.

A hearing date on the motion has not been set, but Ludwig feels ultimately the solution will likely involve legislative modification to the law.

EAA Chapter 193 in Jacksonville is helping to finance Kraut's appeal on the ordinance. "I credit the chapter for stepping up to the plate," Ludwig said. "It's of vital interest to not only EAA members, but to aviation as a whole in Duval County."

For more information, visit www.jaxairplane.com.

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