School and State Building Evaluations Near Airports

Pursuant to State law, the Division of Aeronautics is required to evaluate certain proposed K–12 school (Education Code (EC) 17215), Community College (EC 81033), and State building (Public Utilities Code (PUC) 21655) sites. These evaluations are required for proposed sites within 2 nautical miles of an airport. Links with details about these statutes, and the specific requirements of each, are provided below. However, in general, the evaluations aim to determine whether a proposed site provides an adequate level of safety and non-disruptive noise and, in so doing, enables the guiding principles of safety for the building occupants and comprehensive community planning. Additionally, EC 17215 required the Department of Transportation to adopt regulations with criteria for K-12 school site evaluation. California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 21, Section 3570 was promulgated for this purpose, and information on CCR 3570 is also provided below.

General Considerations

Requests for site evaluations will come from the California Department of Education School Facilities Planning Division (EC 17215), Community College District (EC 81033), or responsible State Agency or Office (PUC 21655), as appropriate. Evaluations are to be completed within 30 working days of receipt of a complete request, which must include adequate maps (see Map Criteria). The evaluation report will be sent to the requesting agency, as outlined above, and not released to other outside parties, as the Aeronautics recommendation is just one part of the requesting agency's overall evaluation.

The evaluation will include a review of where the proposed site lies relative to aircraft flight paths and aircraft generated noise, the height of proposed structures relative to Federal Aviation Regulation Part 77 imaginary surfaces (see FAR Part 77), existing and forecast aviation activity for each airport runway, and consistency with adopted airport land use plans, military Air Installation Compatible Use Zone studies, and General Plans and similar planning documents. CCR 3570 (for K-12 school evaluation pursuant to EC 17215) and the California Airport Land Use Planning Handbook (Figures 3A, 3B, and 4B-4G, in particular) will be utilized in the evaluation and comments from the airport owner/operator and Airport Land Use Commission having jurisdiction will be considered. Additionally, an on-site flight or ground evaluation of the proposed site will be conducted.

California Department of Education Code 17215 (in part)

17215.
(a) In order to promote the safety of pupils, comprehensive community planning, and greater educational usefulness of school sites, before acquiring title to or leasing property for a new school site, the governing board of each school district, including any district governed by a city board of education, or a charter school, shall give the State Department of Education written notice of the proposed acquisition or lease and shall submit any information required by the State Department of Education if the site is within two miles, measured by air line, of that point on an airport runway or a potential runway included in an airport master plan that is nearest to the site.

(b) Upon receipt of the notice required pursuant to subdivision (a), the State Department of Education shall notify the Department of Transportation in writing of the proposed acquisition or lease.

(c) The Department of Transportation shall investigate the site and, within 30 working days after receipt of the notice, shall submit to the State Department of Education a written report of its findings including recommendations concerning acquisition or lease of the site. As part of the investigation, the Department of Transportation shall give notice thereof to the owner and operator of the airport who shall be granted the opportunity to comment upon the site. The Department of Transportation shall adopt regulations setting forth the criteria by which a site will be evaluated pursuant to this section.

(d) The State Department of Education shall, within 10 days of receiving the Department of Transportation's report, forward the report to the governing board of the school district or charter school. The governing board or charter school may not acquire title to or lease the property until the report of the Department of Transportation has been received. If the report does not favor the acquisition or lease of the property for a school site or an addition to a present school site, the governing board or charter school may not acquire title to or lease the property. If the report does favor the acquisition or lease of the property for a school site or an addition to a present school site, the governing board or charter school shall hold a public hearing on the matter prior to acquiring or leasing the site.

(e) If the Department of Transportation's recommendation does not favor acquisition or lease of the proposed site, state funds or local funds may not be apportioned or expended for the acquisition or lease of that site, construction of any school building on that site, or for the expansion of any existing site to include that site.

(f) This section does not apply to sites acquired prior to January 1, 1966, nor to any additions or extensions to those sites.

California Department of Education Code 81033 (in part)

81033.
(c) To promote the safety of students, comprehensive community planning, and greater educational usefulness of community college sites, the governing board of each community college district, if the proposed site is within two miles, measured by air line, of that point on an airport runway, or runway proposed by an airport master plan, which is nearest the site and excluding them if the property is not so located, before acquiring title to property for a new community college site or for an addition to a present site, shall give the board of governors notice in writing of the proposed acquisition and shall submit any information required by the board of governors.

Immediately after receiving notice of the proposed acquisition of property which is within two miles, measured by air line, of that point on an airport runway, or runway proposed by an airport master plan, which is nearest the site, the board of governors shall notify the Division of Aeronautics of the Department of Transportation, in writing, of the proposed acquisition. The Division of Aeronautics shall make an investigation and report to the board of governors within 30 working days after receipt of the notice.

The board of governors shall investigate the proposed site and, within 35 working days after receipt of the notice, shall submit to the governing board a written report and its recommendations concerning acquisition of the site. The governing board shall not acquire title to the property until the report of the board of governors has been received. If the report does not favor the acquisition of the property for a community college site or an addition to a present community college site, the governing board shall not acquire title to the property until 30 days after the department's report is received and until the board of governors' report has been read at a public hearing duly called after 10 days‘ notice published once in a newspaper of general circulation within the community college district, or if there is no such newspaper, then in a newspaper of general circulation within the county in which the property is located.

(d) If, with respect to a proposed site located within two miles of an operative airport runway, the report of the board of governors submitted to a community college district governing board under subdivision (c) does not favor the acquisition of the site on the sole or partial basis of the unfavorable recommendation of the Division of Aeronautics of the Department of Transportation, no state agency or officer shall grant, apportion, or allow to that community college district for expenditure in connection with that site, any state funds otherwise made available under any state law whatever for community college site acquisition or college building construction, or for expansion of existing sites and buildings, and no funds of the community college district or of the county in which the district lies shall be expended for those purposes.

However, this section shall not be applicable to sites acquired prior to January 1, 1966, or to any additions or extensions to those sites.

If the recommendation of the Division of Aeronautics is unfavorable, the recommendation shall not be overruled without the express approval of the board of governors and the State Allocation Board.

Public Utilities Code 21655

21655.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the proposed site of any state building or other enclosure is within two miles, measured by air line, of that point on an airport runway, or runway proposed by an airport master plan, which is nearest the site, the state agency or office which proposes to construct the building or other enclosure shall, before acquiring title to property for the new state building or other enclosure site or for an addition to a present site, notify the Department of Transportation, in writing, of the proposed acquisition. The department shall investigate the proposed site and, within 30 working days after receipt of the notice, shall submit to the state agency or office which proposes to construct the building or other enclosure a written report of the investigation and its recommendations concerning acquisition of the site.

If the report of the department does not favor acquisition of the site, no state funds shall be expended for the acquisition of the new state building or other enclosure site, or the expansion of the present site, or for the construction of the state building or other enclosure, provided that the provisions of this section shall not affect title to real property once it is acquired.

Related Definitions

Airport Runway (in part from CCR 3570) - Any runway, or potential runway included in an airport master record plan, that would be within 2 nautical miles of any boundary of a proposed school or state building site.

Runway (CCR 3570) - A defined rectangular surface on an airport prepared or suitable for the landing or takeoff of airplanes.

Forecast Aviation Activity (in part from CCR 3570) - A projection of future aviation activity included in an airport master plan, a regional transportation plan or similar document, or as provided by an airport owner or operator.

Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) (from Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular 150/5300-13, Airport Design) - The RPZ's function is to enhance the protection of people and property on the ground. This is achieved through ... clearing RPZ areas (and maintaining them clear) of incompatible objects and activities. The RPZ is trapezoidal in shape and centered about the extended runway centerline. The RPZ dimension for a particular runway end is a function of the type of aircraft and approach visibility minimum associated with that runway end.

Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL)(from CCR, Title 21, Section 5001(d)) - The annual CNEL, in decibels, is the average (on an energy basis) of the daily CNEL over a 12-month period. The annual CNEL is calculated in accordance with the following:

Annual CNEL = 10 log10 [(1/365) ΣAntilog (CNEL(i)/10)]

where CNEL(i) = the daily CNEL for each day in a continuous 12-month period, and S means summation. When the annual CNEL is approximated by measurements on a statistical basis, as specified in Section 5034 (of the CCR), the number 365 is replaced by the number of days for which measurements are obtained.

Map Criteria

The map criteria provided below is from the California Department of Education School Facilities Planning Division (SFPD) document SFPD Advisory 00-05. While developed by the SFPD for EC 17215 evaluations, this same criteria should be used for EC 81033 and PUC 21655 evaluations.

Before the Division of Aeronautics Program will evaluate a proposed site, the following maps must be provided:

A dated vicinity map of architectural or cartographic quality (which is drawn to a scale of 1" = 1,000', 1" = 2,000', or 1" = 3,000' and can be measured by an engineer's scale shown in the legend) clearly depicting the proposed site's boundaries and the airport's runway(s);

A separate dated schematic that clearly depicts the layout and boundaries of the proposed facility (drawn to the same standards as the vicinity map with a recommended scale of 1" = 500') delineating all existing and proposed property boundaries and/or streets;

Maps containing multiple site locations should have individual names or numbers assigned to each individual proposed school site.