The Hailey City Council approved on Monday a new section in the city’s comprehensive plan dedicated to land use and zoning around Friedman Memorial Airport.

The addition was recommended by airport Manager Chris Pomeroy, who stewarded the new Public Airport Facilities section through the approval process at the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission last month.

The new comp plan chapter lays out multiple sections geared toward “proactive planning” around the airport to ensure the safety of aircraft operations and neighbors and to assure that the airport can continue to operate safely and successfully, “protecting the federal, state and local investment.”

“It needs to be in our comp plan,” City Council Chairwoman Kaz Thea said.

Pomeroy said Friedman Memorial Airport was the No. 2 airport in providing economic benefits in the state (behind Boise Airport), generating $305 million last year. He said a “dual path” continues to exist in the airport master plan that allows for possible relocation of the airport.

Zoning goals included in the new comprehensive plan section are designed to prevent hazards and protect the quality of life around the airport, Pomeroy said, by maintaining existing open space in the vicinity of the airport, “especially in key areas off the runway approach and departure corridors,” to reduce risks for people and property on the ground and in the air.

The addition also discourages high-density residential development and encourages commercial and industrial uses near the airport that benefit from and do not conflict with aircraft operations, with a preference for “open space” in those potential zones.

Development of an Airport Vicinity Overlay District is proposed in the plan section, to better identify an Airport Influence Area and “critical zones,” following federal regulations for “safe, efficient use, and preservation of the navigable airspace,” that would include building height restrictions and criteria for evaluating land uses or activities adjacent to the airport.

State law calls for the new comprehensive plan addition, but no deadlines must be set for zoning, Pomeroy said.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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