Article 6.

Public Airports and Related Facilities.

§ 63-48.  Transferred to § 63-1 by Session Laws 1971, c. 936, s. 2.

 

§ 63-49.  Municipalities may acquire airports.

(a)        Every municipality is hereby authorized, through its governing body, to acquire property, real or personal, for the purpose of establishing, constructing, and enlarging airports and other air navigation facilities and to acquire, establish, construct, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip, operate, and regulate such airports and other air navigation facilities and structures and other property incidental to their operation, either within and without the territorial limits of such municipality and within or without this State; to make, prior to any such acquisition, investigations, surveys, and plans; to construct, install, and maintain airport facilities for the servicing of aircraft and for the comfort and accommodation of air travelers; and to purchase and sell equipment and supplies as an incident to the operation of its airport properties. It may not, however, acquire or take over any airport or other air navigation facility owned or controlled by any other municipality of the State without the consent of such municipality. It may use for airport purposes any available property that is now or may at any time hereafter be owned or controlled by it. Such air navigation facilities as are established on airports shall be supplementary to and coordinated in design and operation with those established and operated by the federal government.

(b)        All property needed by a municipality for an airport or restricted landing area, or for the enlargement of either, or for other airport purposes, may be acquired by purchase, gift, devise, lease or other means if such municipality is able to agree with the owners of said property on the terms of such acquisition, and otherwise by condemnation in the manner provided by the Chapter entitled Eminent Domain, full power to exercise the right of eminent domain for such purposes being hereby granted every municipality both within and without its territorial limits. If but one municipality is involved and the charter of such municipality prescribes a method of acquiring property by condemnation, proceedings shall be had pursuant to the provisions of such charter and may be followed as to property within or without its territorial limits. The fact that the property needed has been acquired by any agency or corporation authorized to institute condemnation proceedings under power of eminent domain shall not prevent its acquisition by the municipality by the exercise of the right of eminent domain herein conferred when such right is exercised on the approach zone or on the airport site. For the purpose of making surveys and examinations relative to any condemnation proceedings, it shall be lawful to enter upon any land, doing no unnecessary damage. Provided that municipalities building airports after the ratification of this Article shall not acquire by condemnation any property of any corporation engaged in the operation of a railroad or railroad bridge in this State if such property is used in the business of such corporation.

(c)        Where necessary, in order to provide unobstructed air space for the landing and taking off of aircraft utilizing airports or restricted landing areas acquired or operated under the provisions of this Article, every municipality is authorized to acquire, in the same manner as is provided for the acquisition of property for airport purposes, easements through or other interests in air space over land  or water, interests in airport hazards, or airport hazards outside the boundaries of the airports or restricted landing areas and such other  airport protection privileges as are necessary to insure safe approaches to the landing areas of said airports or restricted landing areas and the safe and efficient operation thereof. It is also hereby  authorized to acquire, in the same manner, land for the removal of airport hazards and the right of easement for a term of years or perpetually, to place or maintain suitable marks for the daytime marking and suitable lights for the nighttime marking of airport hazards, including the right of ingress or egress to or from such airport hazards for the purpose of maintaining and repairing such lights and marks. This authority shall not be so construed as to limit any right, power or authority to zone property adjacent to airports and restricted landing areas under the provisions of any law of this State.

(d)       It shall be unlawful for anyone to build, rebuild, create, or cause to be built, rebuilt, or created any object, or plant, cause to be planted, or permit to grow higher any tree or trees or other vegetation which shall encroach upon any airport protection privileges acquired pursuant to the provisions of this section. Any such encroachment is declared to be a public nuisance and may be abated in the manner prescribed by law for the abatement of public nuisances, or the municipality in charge of the airport or restricted landing area for which airport protection privileges have been acquired as in this section provided, may go upon the land of others and remove any such encroachment without being liable for damages in so doing. (1945, c. 490, s. 2; c. 810; 1981, c. 919, s. 8.)

 

§ 63-50.  Airports a public purpose.

The acquisition of any lands for the purpose of establishing airports or other air navigation facilities; the acquisition of airport protection privileges; the acquisition, establishment, construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment and operation of airports and other air navigation facilities, and the exercise of any other powers herein granted to municipalities, are hereby declared to be public, governmental and municipal functions exercised for a public purpose and matters of public necessity, and such lands and other property, easements and privileges acquired and used by such municipalities in the manner and for the purposes enumerated in this Article, shall and are hereby declared to be acquired and used for public, governmental and municipal purposes and as a matter of public necessity. (1945, c. 490, s. 3.)

 

§ 63-51.  Prior acquisition of airport property validated.

Any acquisition of property within or without the limits of any municipality for airports and other air navigation facilities or of airport protection privileges heretofore made by any such municipality in any manner, together with the conveyance and acceptance thereof, is hereby legalized and made valid and effective. (1945, c. 490, s. 4.)

 

§§ 63-51.1 through 63-52.  Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 695, s. 10.

 

§ 63-53.  Specific powers of municipalities operating airports.

In addition to the general powers in this Article conferred, and without limitation thereof, a municipality which has established or may hereafter establish airports, restricted landing areas or other air navigation facilities, or which has acquired or set apart or may hereafter acquire or set apart real property for such purpose or purposes is hereby authorized:

(1)        To vest authority for the construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment, operation and regulation thereof in an officer, a board or body of such municipality by ordinance or resolution which shall prescribe the powers and duties of such officer, board or body.  The expense of such construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment, operation and regulation shall be a responsibility of the municipality.

(2)        To adopt and amend all needful rules, regulations and ordinances for the management, government and use of any properties under its control whether within or without the territorial limits of the municipality; to appoint airport guards or police with full police powers; to fix by ordinance, penalties for the violation of said ordinances and enforce said penalties in the same manner in which penalties prescribed by other ordinances of the municipality are enforced.  It may also adopt ordinances designed to safeguard the public upon or beyond the limits of private airports or landing strips within such municipality or its police jurisdiction against the perils and hazards of instrumentalities used in aerial navigation.  Such ordinances shall be published as provided by general law or the charter of the municipality for the publication of similar ordinances.  They must conform to and be consistent with the laws of this State and shall be kept in conformity, as nearly as may be, with the then current federal legislation governing aeronautics and the regulations duly promulgated thereunder and rules and standards issued from time to time pursuant thereto.

(3)        To lease such airports or other air navigation facilities, or real property acquired or set apart for airport purposes, to private parties, to any municipal or State government or to the national government, or to any department of either thereof, for operation; to lease to private parties, to any municipal or State government or to the national government, or any department of either thereof, for operation or use consistent with the purpose of this Article, space, area, improvements, or equipment on such airports; to sell any part of such airports, other air navigation facilities or real property to any municipal government, or to the United States or to any department or instrumentality thereof, for aeronautical purposes or purposes incidental thereto, and to confer the privileges of concessions of supplying upon its airports goods, commodities, things, services and facilities; provided that in each case in so doing the public is not deprived of its rightful, equal, and uniform use thereof.

(4)        To sell or lease any property, real or personal, acquired for airport purposes and belonging to the municipality, which, in the judgment of its governing body, may not be required for aeronautic purposes in accordance with the laws of this State or the provisions of the charter of the municipality governing the sale or leasing of similar municipally owned property.

(5)        To determine the charge or rental for the use of any properties under its control and the charges for any services or accommodations and the terms and conditions under which such properties may be used, provided that in all cases the public is not deprived of its rightful, equal, and uniform use of such property.  Charges shall be reasonable and uniform for the same class of service and established with due regard to the property and improvements used and the expense of operation to the municipality.  The municipality shall have and may enforce liens as provided by law for liens and enforcement thereof, for repairs to or improvement or storage or care of any personal property, to enforce the payment of any such charges.

(6)        To engage, on an airport, in commercial and industrial land development projects which relate to, develop, or further airborne commerce and cargo and passenger traffic, and, in connection with any project, to improve real estate on an airport and lease that improved real estate to public or private commercial and industrial enterprises, or contract with others to do so.

(7)        To exercise all powers necessarily incidental to the exercise of the general and special powers herein created. (1945, c. 490, s. 6; 1991, c. 501, s. 1.)

 

§ 63-54.  Federal aid.

(a)        A municipality is authorized to accept, receive, and receipt for federal moneys and other moneys, either public or private, for the acquisition, construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment, or operation of airports and other air navigation facilities and sites therefor, and to comply with the provisions of the laws of the United States and any rules and regulations made thereunder for the expenditures of federal moneys upon such airports and other air navigation facilities.

(b)        The governing body of any municipality is authorized, if necessary, to comply with any federal law or regulation of any agency  thereof to designate the North Carolina Aeronautics Commission as its agents to accept, receive, and receipt for federal moneys in its behalf for airport purposes. Such moneys as are paid over by the United States government shall be paid over to said municipality under such terms and conditions as may be imposed by the United States government in making such grant.

(c)        All contracts for the acquisition, construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment, or operation of airports or other air navigation facilities made by the municipality shall be made pursuant to the laws of this State governing the making of like contracts, provided, however, that where such acquisition, construction, improvement, enlargement, maintenance, equipment or operation is financed wholly or partly with federal moneys the municipality may let contracts in the manner prescribed by the federal authorities, acting under the laws of the United States and any rules or regulations made thereunder notwithstanding any other State law to the contrary. (1945, c. 490, s. 7.)

 

§ 63-55.  Airports on public waters and reclaimed land.

(a)        The powers herein granted to a municipality to establish and maintain airports shall include the power to establish and maintain such airports in, over, and upon any public waters of this State within the limits or jurisdiction of or bordering on the municipality, any submerged land under such public water, and any artificial or reclaimed land which before the artificial making or reclamation thereof constituted a portion of the submerged land under such public waters, and as well the power to construct and maintain terminal buildings, landing floats, causeways, roadways and bridges for approaches to or connecting with the airport, and landing floats and breakwaters for the protection of any such airport.

(b)        All the other powers herein granted municipalities with reference to airports on land or granted to them with reference to such airports in, over, and upon public waters, submerged land under public waters, and artificial or reclaimed land. (1945, c. 490, s. 8.)

 

§ 63-56.  Joint operation of airports.

(a)        All powers, rights and authority granted to any municipality in this Article may be exercised and enjoyed by two or more municipalities either within or without the territorial limits of either or any of said municipalities and within or without this State, or by any municipality acting jointly with any other municipality therein either within or without this State, provided the laws of such other state permit such joint action.

(b)        Any two or more municipalities may enter into agreements with each other, duly authorized by ordinance or resolution, as may be appropriate, for joint action pursuant to the provisions of this section. Concurrent action by the governing bodies of the municipalities involved shall constitute joint action.

(c)        Each such agreement shall specify its terms; the proportionate interest which each municipality shall have in the property, facilities and privileges involved, and the proportion of preliminary costs, costs of acquisition, establishment, construction, enlargement, improvement and equipment, and of expenses of maintenance, operation and regulation to be borne by each, and make such other provisions as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. It shall provide for amendments thereof and for conditions and methods of termination; for the disposition of all or any part of the property, facilities and privileges jointly owned if said property, facilities and privileges, or any part thereof, shall cease to be used for the purposes herein provided or if the agreement shall be terminated, and for the distribution of the proceeds received upon any such disposition, and of any funds or other property jointly owned and undisposed of, and the assumption or payment of any indebtedness arising from the joint venture which remains unpaid, upon any such disposition or upon a termination of the agreement.

(d)       Municipalities acting jointly as herein authorized may create a board from the inhabitants of such municipalities for the purpose of acquiring property for establishing, constructing, enlarging, improving, maintaining, equipping, operating and regulating the airports and other air navigation facilities and airport protection privileges to be jointly acquired, controlled, and operated. Such board shall consist of members to be appointed by the governing body of each municipality involved, the number to be appointed by each to be provided for by the agreement for the joint venture. Each member shall serve for such time and upon such terms and as to compensation, if any, as may be provided for in the agreement.

(e)        Each such board shall organize, select officers for terms to be fixed by the agreement, and adopt and from time to time amend rules of procedure.

(f)        Such board may exercise, on behalf of the municipalities acting jointly by which it is appointed, all the powers of each of such municipalities granted by this Article, except as herein provided, subject, however, to such limitations as may be contained in the agreement between such municipalities. Real property, airports, restricted landing areas, air protection privileges, or personal property costing in excess of a sum to be fixed by the joint agreement, may be acquired, and condemnation proceedings may be instituted, only by authority of the governing bodies of each of the municipalities involved. The total amount of expenditures to be made by the board for any purpose in any calendar year shall be determined by the municipalities involved by the approval by each. No real property and no airport, other air navigation facility, or air protection privilege, owned jointly, shall be disposed of by the board, by sale, or otherwise, except by authority of the appointed governing bodies, but the board may lease space, area or improvements and grant concessions on airports for aeronautical purposes or purposes incidental thereto.

(g)        Each municipality is authorized and empowered to enact such ordinances as are provided for by this Article, and to fix by such ordinances penalties for the violation thereof, which ordinances shall have the same force and effect within the municipality which enacted them, and on any property controlled by it, either separately or jointly with another municipality, or adjacent thereto, whether within or without the territorial limits of it, or either or any of them, as ordinances of the municipality involved, and may be enforced in such municipality in like manner as are its other ordinances.

(h)        Condemnation proceedings may be instituted in the names of two or more municipalities jointly, and the property acquired by such joint condemnation proceedings shall be held by the municipalities as tenants in common, each municipality being entitled to a pro rata interest in said property as the value of its contribution to the acquisition of said property bears to the total cost of acquiring said property, and in the event one municipality desires to acquire property for expansion of or addition to the facilities, and the other or others do not elect to join in the acquisition of such property, such municipality may institute condemnation proceedings in its name individually, and all property now owned or hereafter acquired by a municipal corporation for additions to or expansions of aeronautical facilities operated jointly shall be and remain the sole property of the municipal corporation acquiring same.

(i)         For the purpose of providing funds for necessary expenditures in carrying out the provisions of this section, a joint fund shall be created and maintained, into which each of the municipalities involved shall deposit its proportionate share as provided by the joint agreement, and into which shall be paid the revenues obtained from the ownership, control and operation of the airports and other air navigation facilities jointly controlled.

(j)         All disbursements from such fund shall be made by order of the board, subject, however, to such limitations as shall be contained in the agreement between such municipalities.

(k)        Specific performance of the provisions of any joint agreement entered into as provided for in this section may be enforced as against any party thereto by the other party or parties thereto.

(l)         In the event any property is now held or may hereafter be acquired by two or more municipalities for aeronautical purposes, and such municipalities do not agree upon the terms of an agreement, as heretofore provided, and shall not agree to create a board as heretofore provided, then and in that event a board of not less than five nor more than seven members shall be created from the inhabitants of such municipalities, each municipality being entitled to appoint as nearly as possible the proportionate number of representatives on said board as the value of its contribution shall bear to the entire amount of money or property so held by such municipalities for aeronautical purposes. In determining the value of the contribution of any municipality, the value of any funds or property used for the development of said property or the building of facilities on said property shall be taken into consideration.

(m)       The said board shall have all powers given by this Article to boards created by agreements between municipalities, provided, however, that any funds appropriated by a municipality and turned over to the board for aeronautical purposes shall only be used for these purposes designated by the municipality furnishing such funds.

(n)        The actions of such board shall be determined by a majority vote of the members thereof, and a majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for any meeting of the board, and such boards so created shall have full control of all revenues received by reason of the airport or other aeronautical facilities, and shall have power to expend all sums so received for such aeronautical purposes as the board deems proper, and pay over any surplus to municipalities in proportion to their respective interests.

(o)        In the event the aeronautical facilities or any part thereof shall cease to be used for aeronautical purposes, such of the facilities as are jointly owned by two or more municipalities shall be sold, and each municipality shall receive its pro rata proportion of the sums realized from the sale of facilities jointly owned.

(p)        In the event aeronautical facilities are now owned or hereafter acquired by two or more municipalities, and are operated under a board as hereinabove provided, and one or more of such municipalities deem it advisable to expand or enlarge the facilities or invest more money in such facilities, all of the municipalities then having representation on the board shall be entitled, if they so desire, to contribute their pro rata part of such additional investment and maintain their pro rata representation on said board, provided, however, that if one or more of the municipalities involved shall fail to contribute its or their proportionate part of such additional investment, the representation of such municipality on such board shall be readjusted, to the end that the representation of each municipality on said board shall represent as nearly as possible its pro rata contribution to the entire investment.

Provided further that where one municipality at the time of the passage of this Article shall have invested more than one half of the total investment in a jointly owned airport, then, and in that event the minority owner or owners shall be allowed five years from the date of the passage of this Article in which to pay over to the majority owner a sum sufficient to equalize the amount of ownership of the present minority owner or owners with the total ownership of the majority owner. Provided further that this Article shall not be construed to amend or impair in any respect contracts or agreements in effect at the time of the adoption of this Article.

(q)        In the case of an airport board or commission authorized by agreement between two cities, as defined in G.S. 160A-1(2), pursuant to this section, one of which is located partially but not wholly in the county in which the jointly owned airport is located, and where the board or commission provided water and wastewater services off the airport premises before January 1, 1995, the board or commission shall have the authority to acquire, construct, establish, enlarge, improve, maintain, own, operate and contract for the operation of water supply and distribution systems and wastewater collection, treatment and disposal systems of all types, on and off the airport premises. In no event, however, shall such a board or commission be held liable for damages to those off the airport premises for failure to provide such water or wastewater services. (1945, c. 490, s. 9; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 644, s. 1.)

 

§ 63-57.  Powers specifically granted to counties.

(a)        The purposes of this Article are specifically declared to be county purposes as well as generally public, governmental and municipal.

(b)        The powers herein granted to all municipalities are specifically declared to be granted to counties in this State, any other statute to the contrary notwithstanding. (1945, c. 490, s. 10.)

 

§ 63-58.  Municipal jurisdiction exclusive.

Every airport and other air navigation facility controlled and operated by any municipality, or jointly controlled and operated pursuant to the provisions of this Article, shall, subject to federal  and State laws, rules, and regulations, be under the exclusive jurisdiction and control of the municipality or municipalities controlling and operating it, and no other municipality in which such airport or air navigation facility is located shall have any police jurisdiction of the same. (1945, c. 490, s. 11.)

 

§§ 63-59 through 63-64.  Reserved for future codification purposes.