Category: Avigation Easement

Avigation Easement

avigation-01-copyAn easement is the right a property owner grants to another for a specific use of their property. This right is acquired through purchase or condemnation. An avigation easement is the right a public or private agency acquires to use the airspace above a specific height for the flight of aircraft.

What is an Avigation Easement?

According to Baker v. Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority (1990) case, an “avigation easement” is required “when the noise, vibration, fumes, fuel particles and inconvenience caused by low-flying aircraft interfere with the use and enjoyment of the underlying property…”

What is the purpose of an Avigation Easement?

An airport might like to acquire an avigation easement over neighboring properties to prevent construction of buildings and towers, planting of trees, installation of lighting, or any other development that might interfere with takeoff and landing of aircraft. An Avigation Easement also protects against liability of any other nuisance such as noise, fumes, and vibration that may interfere with the use and enjoyment of the property.

Height restrictions with an Avigation Easement

In City of Los Angeles v. Japan Air Lines Co., LTD. (1974), the court stated that federal regulations require jets and other large aircraft to be operated at an altitude of at least 1500 feet above terrian, yet currently the County of Orange in Southern California has no height restriction.

Noise Levels with an Avigation Easement

In Baker v. Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority (1990) it was determined that noise levels should not exceed 65 decibels.

How to Obtain an Avigation Easement

Although the most common form of obtaining an avigation easement is through purchase or condemnation, avigation easements can be acquired by prescription as well, meaning the rights to the air space can be obtained for free if the air space has been used without complaint from adjacent land owners for at least 5 years in California (15 in Connecticut and 10 in the state of Washington).

Other Restrictions for an Avigation Easement

When an avigation easement is acquired, there are certain restrictions that can be put into place such as in Burbank (City of Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal, Inc.) a local ordinance prohibits takeoffs between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Appraising an Avigation Easement

When appraising an avigation easement, compensation is paid to the land owner for rights to the air space. Compensation for an Avigation Easement is based on the fair market value of the property “before” the easement and “after” the avigation easement. The difference between the “before” and “after” value of the property is the value of the avigation easement.

Valentine Appraisal and Associates has appraised more than 10 avigation easements in recent years. Please feel free to contact us at (661) 288-0198 as we are experts in avigation easements.

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