The FAA says so-called through-the-fence agreements, where "hangar home" landowners adjacent to airports have gated access to the airport next door, threaten operations, safety, security and future expansion of airports. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure heard from all sides of the debate over whether these kinds of deals should be allowed. The FAA has proposed that the 75 existing arrangements between publicly funded airports and private owners be honored but that no further through-the-fence deals be allowed. AOPA says it was misquoted by the FAA in FAA new releases about the issue. "The FAA stated that AOPA would accept a policy against establishing new residential through-the-fence (RTTF) access arrangements," AOPA said in a statement. In fact, AOPA's comments on the FAA's 2009 proposal to eliminate this access clearly stated that "the FAA should not necessarily close the door to future requests but rather establish specific criteria for new RTTF access and not ban it entirely.'" The National Air Transportation Association supported the FAA proposal.
NATA President Jim Coyne said airports are for airplanes and related businesses and residential development doesn't fit. "Due to the intrinsic nature of residential properties, as compared to commercial properties, RTTF agreements limit the flexibility of airport sponsors to expand according to the needs of the community. NATA believes that the FAA has made an overwhelming case for prohibiting new RTTF agreements and supports its proposal." The hearing also heard from some airport operators supporting the RTTF ban. Ann Crooks, manager of Emira Corning Regional Airport in New York, said it's about the money. "Scarce federal funds should not be squandered on airports that do not take steps to preserve the ongoing viability of the facility."