Thursday, October 20, 2011
Lack of FAA clearance apparently not a big deal
From the Daily News:
Queens newspapers reported the FAA had "thrown a wrench" into the plans, putting the ambitious project - already approved by the Board of Standards and Appeals, which oversees zoning requirements - "in jeopardy" and "in peril."
But the decision carried surprisingly little weight because the FAA does not have authority to block construction of a building, even if it feels the height presents a danger to air traffic.
"There is really no teeth in the law," said John Mogul, an aviation consultant hired by the developer of the RKO Keith's project.
[Thompson] still expects to begin work next year and finish the project by early 2015, but it remains unclear how tall the project will be when it's completed.
But the case highlights an issue with significant implications in Queens, home to the city's two airports and plenty of nearby development soaring skyward.
The FAA asks local zoning authorities, like the city's Board of Standards and Appeals, to consider whether a project has the FAA's approval before giving it a thumbs up.
"We defer to the local zoning regulations," said FAA spokesman Jim Peters.
But the fact that the FAA alone cannot halt a project it finds hazardous has led to calls for reform.