Airport Affected Area (AAA)

On April 19, 2005, the Montana Sate Legislature approved the "Airport Compatibility Act" (ACA), Title 67, Chapter 7, Montana Code Annotated. Pursuant to the ACA, local governing bodies who own or control an airport included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) were to
  • Designate an airport affected area (AAA)
  • Concurrently adopt regulations for the AAA that comply with MCA 67-7-203, and
  • Administer and enforce the regulations that are adopted 
County Ownership
Ravalli County owns the airport east of the City of Hamilton, and is therefore the local governing body with the authority to designate an AAA. Ravalli County's airport is included in the NPIAS. The designation of the AAA and associated regulations were to be adopted by April 19, 2006, but the Ravalli County failed to adopt the AAA or regulations. The county is currently in the process of identifying the AAA and generating appropriate land use regulations.

Statute identifies that the governing body may not create an AAA less than 10,000 feet from the thresholds of each runway or less than 1 miles wide on each side of each runway [MCA 67-7-201 (3)]. A greater area may be regulated if studies have been conducted in conformance with part 150 of the Code of Federal Regulations and Airport Noise Compatibility Planning, if maps of the area have been prepared, and a program has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration [MCA 67-7-201 (3) (a)].

AAA Regulations
The Montana Association of Counties (MACo) developed a set of model AAA regulations, but there does not appear to have been any work done to determine whether the model regulations address the particular needs of Ravalli County. Also, in November 2002, the BCC adopted regulations governing the Airport Influence Area (AIA) - an irregularly defined area generally following roads and topographical features. While the AIA regulations may meet the legal requirments of the ACA, the Commissioners and the Airport Board both suggested that this could be a good oppertunity to update and modernize the regulations to conform to exisiting statute and correct any deficiencies that may have surfaced in the past six years. To date there has been no study performed to determine whether AIA regulations might be consistant with state-mandated requirements for AAA regulations.

MCA 67-7-208 prescribes that in adopting AAA regulations, the governing body may request the assistance of existing Planning Boards. The BCC has requested the assistance of the Planning Department and the Planning Board in developing the AAA regulations. View the Ravalli County AAA Regulations draft.