Florida Town Presses On With Anti-Flight Training Effort

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The town council of Grant-Valkaria, a small town on Florida's Atlantic coast, voted this week to go ahead with an effort to restrict flight training activities at the Valkaria Airport, even after the town's own zoning board voted against the plan. "Basically it's a travesty, it's an absolute travesty," one unidentified pilot told the local WFTV News. Town attorney Karl Bohne adjusted the ordinance on Monday to clarify that the town is not trying to regulate flying, which the FAA wouldn't allow, but is trying to prevent flight schools from opening facilities at the airport, according to Florida Today.

The proposal has brought opposition from AOPA, the National Air Transportation Association, and other aviation advocates. AOPA says the county owns the airport, and it has agreements with the FAA that obligate it to allow aeronautical activity on the field. "Flight training activities cannot be legislated out of existence at Valkaria by the town government," wrote John Collins, AOPA's manager of airport policy, in a letter to the town mayor, Del Yonts. On Monday night, the council said it would send its proposal to the FAA for comment. A second hearing is scheduled for June 11, and the town council is expected to hold a second vote on the ordinance sometime in July. FAA officials have said that the town is within its rights to pass an ordinance, but it cannot be enforced on airport property, according to Florida Today.