Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Aeronautics and Aviation

Zoning Ordinance

Aerial Photo of an Airport

Things to consider during first draft of the zoning ordinance.

  1. Zone for the Ultimate Design as soon as possible. Don’t wait for Construction.
  2. Plan on Non-precision and Precision approaches. (see note 2)
  3. The Model Ordinance is a MINIMUM Requirement. (see note 3)
  4. Additional Restrictions are Encouraged. (see note 4)
  5. Add the statement “The _____ Airport is an essential public facility.” (see note 5)
  6. Add a statement tying the airport zoning ordinance to the municipal comprehensive plan and/or zoning plan. (see note 6)
  7. Require an Airport Zone influence area "Disclosure Statement" on property titles affected by all of the zones in the Airport Zoning Ordinance. (see note 7)
  8. Revise the variance process to include a statement that “The Board of Adjustment may request review of the variance request by the MnDOT Airport Zoning Administrator prior to making a decision.” (see note 8)


2. GPS Approaches are considered Non-precision approaches and GPS-WAS may be considered Precision approaches. Technology is expanding and the number of approaches available will continue to increase. If your airport future includes a runway 5000 feet or longer, plan for precision approach surfaces.

3. The A, B, and C Zones are minimum standards, or "best practices," intended to protect people on the ground as well as the airport. An airport owner can do more if it so chooses.

4. One airport added a "B-1 Zone”, a new zone that covers an area along each runway, 1000 feet on either side of the runway centerline. The B-1 Zone adopts the restrictions of Zone B. The intent is to prevent residential encroachment near the airport. Why create neighbors who may later complain about airport noise? An airport owner can also adopt additional Zone C restrictions if they would assist the community better define what it wants to achieve through its comprehensive plan.

5. The statement regarding “an essential public facility” becomes important if and when a lawsuit is filed to challenge the validity of airport zoning under the airport owners police power authority. The statement will be helpful in eliminating or minimizing the amount of property use damages the airport owner could be forced to pay.

6. A statement tying the airport zoning ordinance to the municipal comprehensive plan and/or zoning plan helps to establish the validity of airport zoning by being a part of a larger broad community planning effort.

7. An Airport Zone influence area "Disclosure Statement" on property titles will help to establish an "informed consent" agreement when people choose to live near an airport.

8. Under the current requirements, MnDOT does not become directly involved unless the Board of Adjustment fails to act on a variance request. The situation to avoid is if the Board grants a variance that creates a significant hazard, then MnDOT Aeronautics could be forced to discontinue State and potentially Federal funding for the airport. It's better to have the Board fully aware before a decision is made.

The Model Ordinance Zoning for Minnesota Airports