Sun, Sep 12, 2004
Local government thinks it can set minimum flyover altitudes
Residents and city council members of Salt Lake City
are up in arms over a proposed ordinance that would prohibit
flights over the city below 2,000 feet AGL.
For some reason, a city council panel thinks that it has the
authority to override federal jurisdiction over the nation's
airspace by establishing rules to govern aircraft flights over
their city. The residents, however, are more worried about what
effect the new ordinance may have on... Santa Claus.
Apparently the city already has an ordinance in place that
mandates minimum altitudes for aircraft flying over the city, but
it appears that it has never been enforced. Santa Claus, however,
was always granted a waiver so he could make his deliveries on
Christmas Eve with his reindeer-powered sled. It seems the waiver
is not going to be granted anymore, and residents are not happy
Tim Campbell, executive
director of the Department of Airports, said the city council
panel is not manned by scrooges. "We were updating the ordinance
and this provision had not been looked at for a number of years,"
Campbell said to the Associated Press on Friday. "Members of the
panel felt it was just not appropriate," said Campbell. He supports
the Santa waiver.
Some members of the Salt Lake City Council proper are not
exactly amused with the issue. "I have a 4-year-old who still
believes in Santa Claus," said Councilman Carlton Christensen. A
vote on the ordinance is expected next month.
However, the entire issue may be moot, once the Council finds
out that the city does not have the authority to regulate the
airspace above the city -- an authority that only the federal
government wields, through the Federal Aviation Administration.
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