Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Aeronautics and Aviation

Planning and zoning of private airports

In accordance with Minnesota Rules, every airport is obligated to maintain unobstructed approaches to its runways. Airports must not pose undue hazards to adjacent properties, occupants, or jeopardize existing surface transportation, power, and communication transmission lines. Public airports in Minnesota are mandated to establish zoning to safeguard the airspace surrounding the airport, a prerequisite for receiving funding. This zoning serves as a protective barrier, preventing neighboring property owners from erecting structures such as towers that could compromise the functionality of runways funded by public investments. Zoning decisions are made at the local level.

Private airports lacking zoning protection are vulnerable to developments on neighboring properties that could render the airport ineffective. To safeguard the airport's viability, we recommend engaging with the local zoning administrator to explore potential protective measures. Options include acquiring adjoining properties outright or obtaining easements over the adjacent land.

The introduction of wind turbines, towers, or the establishment of another airport in close proximity to a private airport may lead to airspace conflicts. Proper protocol involves filing a Notice of Landing Area Proposal (FAA Form 7480) ensures the airport’s inclusion in the federal airport database. Companies involved in building structures like wind turbines often consult this database to assess the presence of airports in their intended construction areas. The FAA relies on this database to evaluate existing uses when reviewing other landing area proposals. It is imperative for all airports to complete the federal process before obtaining an official license.