Chapter 10.56
AIRCRAFT

Sections:

10.56.010    Altitude limitations.

10.56.020    Aerial activities permit – Required when.

10.56.030    Aerial activities permit – Fee.

10.56.040    Aerial activities permit – Applications.

10.56.050    Aerial activities permit – Issuance – Revocation – Appeal.

10.56.060    Violation – Penalty.

10.56.070    Chapter in addition to other laws and regulations.

10.56.010 Altitude limitations.

A. All aircraft of whatever type or description while being operated above the city, in an effort to provide a reasonable opportunity for a safe landing in any emergency situation and in an effort to minimize any nuisance to the public from engine noise or from any resultant vibration, shall maintain an altitude which is greater than 1,000 feet.

B. Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, this section shall not apply to aircraft engaged in emergency search-and-rescue operations, law enforcement operations, emergency transportation of patients to and from local medical facilities, aircraft engaged in interstate commerce, and aircraft involved in actual emergency situations; provided, that aircraft operators engaged in these activities shall notify the Bellingham police department and fire department of such activities and coordinate same through the What-Comm dispatch center. [Ord. 9391, 1984; Ord. 8573 § 14(A), 1977].

10.56.020 Aerial activities permit – Required when.

The following activities may not be carried on within the city limits except with a permit issued by the city:

A. The release of any object or thing from any aircraft;

B. Any skydiving or other parachute activity where the anticipated drop or landing area lies within the city except during the case of an actual emergency;

C. Any aerobatic display or any other event involving aircraft which requires any aircraft to fly at an altitude less than the limit established in BMC 10.56.010(A). Included in this category are intermittent flights originating from or arriving at public or private property located within the city limits other than a licensed airport facility. Intermittent flights are defined as four or less flights per year;

D. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, commercial flights, private business flights, non-emergency medical flights, and all other flights originating from or arriving at public or private property located within the city limits other than a licensed airport facility. This subsection shall not apply to aircraft engaged in the activities identified in BMC 10.56.010(B), except as follows:

1. Aircraft engaged in emergency operations shall not be based or parked on property located within the city limits, other than a licensed airport facility, except during the duration of such emergency.

2. Permanent or semi-permanent basing or parking of aircraft within the city limits shall only be at an FAA-approved facility which meets city fire, health and land use requirements for such facilities, provided stationary aircraft displays of a temporary nature shall be exempt from this requirement.

3. The fueling, repair and maintenance of aircraft shall be conducted only at an FAA-approved facility which meets city fire, health and land use requirements, unless such aircraft is disabled and/or the nature of the emergency itself makes compliance with such requirements impractical.

4. Medical facilities which operate or contract with airborne ambulance services shall obtain an aerial activities permit or establish an approved helistop or other appropriate aircraft facility. [Ord. 9408, 1985; Ord. 9391, 1984; Ord. 8573 § 14(B), 1977].

10.56.030 Aerial activities permit – Fee.

Any person or organization who wishes to engage in any aerial activity for which a permit is required by this chapter shall submit an application to the chief of police, together with a fee of $50.00 to cover the cost of processing such application. The chief of police shall act upon applications governed by BMC 10.56.020(A), (B) and (C), or, in his discretion, may refer any such application to the hearing examiner for review. Applications governed by BMC 10.56.020(D) shall be referred to the hearing examiner. [Ord. 2002-10-069 § 18; Ord. 9408, 1985; Ord. 9391, 1984; Ord. 8573 § 14(C), 1977].

10.56.040 Aerial activities permit – Applications.

The application shall contain the following information:

A. The name(s) and address(es) of the person or persons who will be participating in such activity;

B. The name(s) and address(es) of the person or persons who own the aircraft involved in the activity;

C. The location(s) over which the activity will occur;

D. If the applicant is an organization or other group of individuals, the designation of one individual who is responsible for the group’s activities or can act as their spokesperson;

E. The date(s) and time(s) such activity will occur;

F. An estimate of the number of spectators anticipated at the location of the activity;

G. The number of aircraft to be used in the activity;

H. Such other information as the chief of police or the hearing examiner may require.

In addition, applicants governed by BMC 10.56.020(D) shall complete and submit an environmental impact checklist supplied by the city. [Ord. 2002-10-069 § 18; Ord. 9391, 1984; Ord. 8573 § 14(C)(1), 1977].

10.56.050 Aerial activities permit – Issuance – Revocation – Appeal.

A. The chief of police or the hearing examiner shall act upon such applications as soon as is administratively possible and may place such conditions upon the permit issued as will ensure that the aerial activity will be conducted in an orderly manner and as will be necessary to maintain and preserve the public health, safety and welfare; provided, that the chief of police or his designee, upon receipt of an application, shall cause notice of such application to be given by publication in the official city newspaper not less than 48 hours prior to its consideration of the application. The chief of police shall further cause notice of such application to be mailed to all property owners located within 300 feet of the boundaries of the property where the landing/takeoff area is located, if such area is other than a licensed airport facility. Such notice shall be mailed not less than one week prior to consideration of the application. In addition, notice of the application shall be posted in at least three conspicuous public places at least one week prior to consideration of the application. The city’s cost of providing notice shall be reimbursed by the permit applicant.

B. At a minimum, each permit shall be conditioned so as to provide for the following:

1. Each permit shall be subject to the condition that the surface of the landing/take-off area be such that dust, dirt or other objectionable matter will not be blown onto the adjoining property by aircraft operations.

2. Each such permit granted shall be subject to the condition that all provisions of the building, fire and health codes are complied with at all times. When, in the opinion of the police chief or fire chief, a degree of hazard exists greater than covered by the building, fire or health codes, the police chief or fire chief may require additional safeguards to protect the health, welfare and public safety.

3. Each permit shall be subject to the condition that the permittee neither authorizes, allows or permits the use of his aircraft or facilities by persons, firms or corporations violating any provisions of this code or any applicable federal, state or local laws or regulations.

4. Each permit shall be granted on the condition that the permittee procure, obtain and file with the city risk manager, and maintain in full force and effect, a liability insurance policy insuring the city and said permittee, its officers, agents and employees, for claims of personal injury, fire, property damage and general liability in the sum of not less than $2,000,000 per occurrence, or in such other sum as shall be deemed necessary by the city risk manager. The permittee shall file an insurance certificate with the risk manager reflecting the required coverages and naming the city as additional insured prior to the conduct of any aerial activities.

5. The permit shall be on the condition that adequate provision be made to control the access of the public to the landing/take-off area and on the further condition that appropriate provisions are provided for surface vehicle parking, the exact quantity and extent thereof to be specified in the permit.

6. Flight patterns to or from an established landing/take-off area shall be defined and shall be adhered to in subsequent normal operation. Flight patterns, generally, shall be established to avoid or minimize the impact of flights upon developed residential areas and places of public assembly.

7. The permittee shall protect, defend, indemnify, save and hold harmless the city and all of its officers, agents and employees from any and all claims for losses, injuries, damages and liability to persons or property occasioned by the acts or omissions of the permittee, and permittee’s officers, agents and employees, arising out of use of the permit.

C. If the chief of police or hearing examiner has reasonable grounds to believe that the activity will violate any ordinance or statute, or if after issuance of the permit there are reasonable grounds to believe the activity will be in violation of any condition placed upon the permit, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the public health, safety and welfare will be endangered by the activity, then the chief of police or hearing examiner may deny or revoke the permit.

D. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the chief of police relating to a permit issued under this chapter may appeal that decision to the hearing examiner by filing a timely notice of appeal with the hearing examiner within 10 days of the date of such decision. [Ord. 2002-10-069 § 18; Ord. 10062, 1990; Ord. 9391, 1984; Ord. 8573 § 14(C), 1977].

10.56.060 Violation – Penalty.

Any person violating any provisions of this chapter including any conditions placed upon any permits issued under this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. [Ord. 2001-11-079; Ord. 9391, 1984; Ord. 8573 § 14(D), 1977].

10.56.070 Chapter in addition to other laws and regulations.

The provisions of this chapter shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other applicable statutes, ordinances or regulations. [Ord. 9391, 1984].