FAA Issues Residential “Through The Fence” Policy


  Bookmark and Share

FAA Issues Residential “Through The Fence” Policy

By Mike Mitchell

March 18, 2011 - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday issued its interim policy on residential through-the-fence (RTTF) access agreements at federally-funded airports (background information). 

This action adopts an interim policy amending and clarifying FAA policy concerning through the fence access to a federally-obligated airport from an adjacent or nearby property, when that property is used as a residence, and permits continuation of existing access subject to certain standards.  

This action also modifies sponsor grant assurance 5, Preserving Rights and Powers, to prohibit new residential through-the-fence access to a federally-obligated airport.

Prior FAA policy discouraged through-the-fence access to a federally-obligated airport from an off-airport residence. Owners of properties used both as a residence and for the storage of personal aircraft, sometimes called “hangar homes,” had urged the agency to permit an exception to the through-the-fence policy for residents who own aircraft. 

The policy outlines the requirements that airport sponsors must follow if they wish to continue RTTF agreements at federally-funded airports. These agreements allow people who own residential property with aircraft storage facilities near an airport to access the airport from off-airport property. These properties are sometimes known as "hangar homes." 

The interim policy requires airport sponsors with existing agreements to develop an airport access plan that outlines how the airport will meet its obligations to operate as a public-use airport. The plan must detail how the airport sponsor meets standards for control of the airport, safety of operations, self-sustainability, and nondiscriminatory airport rates. 

The policy also amends one of the conditions of federal funding, called grant assurances, to prohibit new RTTF access to a federally-funded airport. RTTF agreements that are not consistent with the FAA's new policy may introduce safety risks by creating direct access to runways or taxiways, impede a sponsor's ability to collect appropriate fees, or limit the airport's ability to address future growth.


RTTF agreements also may restrict airport access for all general aviation pilots because of noise concerns and hours of operations since residences are nearby. The FAA has no objections to these agreements at privately owned airports, if they do not receive federal funds. 

At this time, the FAA is adopting an interim policy. The policy review conducted in 2010 highlighted a number of differences among the airports identified as having residential through the- fence arrangements. As a result, the FAA believes it will take more time and more detailed information to better understand these arrangements and how they impact each airport sponsor’s ability to comply with its grant assurances.  

However, the agency also acknowledges that interested stakeholders have a more immediate need for resolution. The goal of the interim policy is to strike a careful balance by accommodating residential through-the-fence access where it already exists. 

To date, the FAA has not been able to clearly define the specific criteria or requirements that would allow airport sponsors to enter into new residential through-the-fence arrangements while ensuring ongoing compliance with their grant obligations.


Therefore, the interim policy requires airports with existing residential through-the-fence arrangements to develop access plans outlining how the airport sponsor meets certain standards for control of airport operations and development and for self-sustaining and nondiscriminatory airport rates. 

This interim policy is effective immediately. The FAA will conduct another policy review in 2014. To view the interim policy, go to Electronic Public Inspection Desk-Federal Aviation Administration Rules (read full policy).

Other News Stories


Home Aviation News Aviation Stories Of Interest FAA Exam Upcoming Events Links To Other Sites General Aviation Helicopters Medical Factors Facing Pilots
Maintenance and Aircraft Mechanics Hot Air Balloon Aviation Training Handbooks Read Online Aviation History Legal Issues In Aviation Sea Planes Editorials
 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News                                          Bookmark and Share


AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator