Chapter 18.09


18.09.010    Purpose.

18.09.020    Use restrictions.

18.09.030    Land use regulations.

18.09.040    Development standards.

18.09.010 Purpose.

The Airport District is established to:

A.    Protect land uses around the San Carlos Airport from potential hazards of airport operations.

B.    Identify a range of uses compatible with airport accident hazard and airport noise exposure.

C.    Prohibit the development of incompatible uses that are detrimental to the general health, safety and welfare and to existing and future airport operations.

D.    Comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. (Ord. 1540 (Exh. D (part)), 2019: Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)

18.09.020 Use restrictions.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, no use may be made of land or water within the Airport District in such a manner that would:

A.    Create a hazard to air navigation, as determined by the FAA;

B.    Result in glare in the eyes of pilots using the airport;

C.    Make it difficult for pilots to distinguish between airport lights and others;

D.    Impair visibility in the vicinity of the airport;

E.    Create steam or other emissions that cause thermal plumes or other forms of unstable air;

F.    Create electrical interference with navigation signals or radio communication between the airport and aircraft;

G.    Create an increased attraction for wildlife. Of particular concern are landfills and certain recreational or agricultural uses that attract large flocks of birds that pose bird strike hazards to aircraft in flight; or

H.    Otherwise in any way endanger or interfere with the landing, takeoff or maneuvering of aircraft intending to use the airport. (Ord. 1540 (Exh. D (part)), 2019: Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)

18.09.030 Land use regulations.

Table 18.09.030 prescribes the land use regulations for the Airport District. The regulations for the Airport District are established by letter designations as follows:

“P” designates permitted uses.

“M/C” designates uses that are permitted after review and approval of a minor use permit by the Zoning Administrator when uses will be located within an existing building, but requires review and approval of a conditional use permit by the Planning Commission when proposed to be located within a newly constructed building.

“C” designates use classifications that are permitted after review and approval of a conditional use permit by the Planning Commission.

“(#)” numbers in parentheses refer to specific limitations listed at the end of the table.

Land uses not specifically listed in Table 18.09.030 shall be evaluated by the Director based on a use that is substantially similar in character. Uses not listed in the table or not found to be substantially similar to the uses below are prohibited.




Airports and heliports


Vehicle rental, sales or leasing services


Flight training and other instruction facilities, including aircraft operation, maintenance and repair and the repair and service of instruments and radios


Maintenance, repair and testing of local and transient aircraft and aircraft engines


Reconstruction, assembly, repair and servicing of aircraft and other facilities or equipment related to aircraft or aircraft operation


Restaurant and on-sale liquor establishment


Sale, lease, rental or charter of aircraft and aircraft equipment, including fixed-base operations


Testing, calibration and repair of radios and navigational instruments


Professional sales, general business and executive offices, and accessory uses


Hotel or motel


Warehouse and indoor storage


Research laboratories


Prototype development


Automobile parking lot or structure


Public and quasi-public uses and facilities, including fire protection, policing, and the furnishing of utility services


Retail establishments selling ammunition or firearms

C (2)

Specific Limitation:

1.    Shall be conducted entirely within an enclosed building.

2.    See Section 18.23.290 for additional requirements.

A.    Required Findings. In addition to any other findings that this title requires, in order to approve any use permit for a use or facility subject to regulations of this chapter, the review authority must find that the use or uses support the airport, are airport-dependent, or that there is no potential detriment to the airport in terms of population concentrations, interference with airport activities and uses, and height or other safety requirements. (Ord. 1540 (Exh. D (part)), 2019: Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)

18.09.040 Development standards.

Table 18.09.040 prescribes the development standards for the Airport District. Additional regulations are denoted in the right hand column. Section numbers in this column refer to other sections of this title, while individual letters refer to subsections that directly follow the table.




Additional Regulations

Maximum Height (ft.)

50 (A)

Site Area (sq. ft.)


Minimum Yards (ft.)


15 (B)

Interior Side


Street Side

15 (B)



Maximum Lot Coverage (% of lot)


See Chapter 18.03, Rules of Measurement

A.    Maximum Height. The maximum height of buildings, structures and vegetation shall not exceed the regulations established in the San Mateo County Airport Use Plan for the San Carlos Airport, and in no case shall exceed fifty feet.

B.    Front and Street-Side Yards. All front and street-side yards are subject to the following standards:

1.    A landscaped planter, a minimum of five feet in width, shall be provided along all front and exterior side property lines, excluding walkways and accessways;

2.    Off-street parking may be located within the portion of required front and exterior side yards outside of the required landscaped planter; and

3.    Drives and walks for ingress and egress shall not exceed forty percent of any required yard. (Ord. 1540 (Exh. D (part)), 2019: Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)