Development Near the Airport


The Jim Hamilton – LB Owens Airport (CUB) was opened on April 24, 1930.  Though initially rather secluded and rural, that is no longer the case.  In the ensuing 90 years, development of all types has surrounded the Airport.  Even the Airport has undergone some significant changes during that time in an effort to improve safety, efficiency, and compatibility with surrounding development.

To a greater extent than most other facilities, Airports are impacted by three-dimensional concerns as well as airspace imaginary surface penetrations that may occur off of the Airport property.  Also, certain types of development are more compatible than others with Airport operations.  Finally, the trapezoidal-shaped approach surfaces on either end of the Runway are especially critical because they are above the area where aircraft are transitioning from air to ground or ground to air.

For these reasons, as well as quality-of-life concerns such as aircraft noise, development in areas that are in close proximity to the Airport is more closely scrutinized than may be other areas in the County and City.  This webpage will provide basic information for the Developer, Architect, and Engineer regarding development projects that are being considered near the Jim Hamilton – LB Owens Airport (CUB).

Jurisdiction:  The Jim Hamilton – LB Owens Airport (CUB) is owned and operated by Richland County. However, most of the Airport is located within the City of Columbia.  The Runway 31 Approach end of the Runway is located in the unincorporated County and the Runway 13 Approach end of the Runway is located in the City.  Each of these Governments have an Airport Overlay District (AOD) ordinance and accompanying map that protects the Airspace Imaginary Surfaces surrounding the Airport from temporary (trees or cranes) or permanent (buildings, towers, poles) penetrations.


Airport Overlay District (AOD) – A district described on the zoning map within which, through superimposition of a special designation, further regulations and requirements apply in addition to those of the underlying districts to which such designation is added.  The airport overlay district is established in recognition of airport related hazards which may endanger lives and property; obstructions which effectively reduce airspace required for aircraft takeoff, landing, and maneuvering which reduce the utility of the Jim Hamilton – LB Owens Airport and the public investment therein.

(Airspace) Imaginary Surfaces – There are five types of imaginary (can be defined, but cannot be seen) surfaces which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has applied to public use airports for the purpose of determining obstructions to air navigation.

They exist to prevent existing or proposed manmade objects, objects of natural growth or terrain from extending upward into navigable airspace.

These imaginary surfaces either slope out and up from all sides and ends of runways or are a horizontal plane or a sloping plain above public use airports.  They are defined as:

Primary Surface:  Aligned (longitudinally) with each runway and extends 200 ft. from each runway end

Horizontal Surface:  Horizontal plane 150 ft. above the established airport elevation.  Constructed by swinging arcs around the end of the primary surface

Conical Surface:  20:1 slope surface extending beyond the horizontal surface

Transitional Surface:   Constructed to join approach and horizontal or approach and transitional surfaces

Approach Surface:  Longitudinally centered with the runway and extends beyond the primary surface

(Airspace) Elevation Contour:  A continuous line of consistent elevation expressed in feet above mean sea level (AMSL) that follows a sloped airspace imaginary surface as a means of identifying and locating approximate height restrictions over an area in close proximity to an airport.

Airport – The Jim Hamilton – LB Owens Airport located at 1400 Jim Hamilton Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29205

FAA Form 7460-1 – A Standard Form published by the FAA titled NOTICE OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OR ALTERATION.  Its purposes are as follows:

  • Evaluate the effect of the construction or alteration on operating procedures
  • Determine the potential hazardous effect of the proposed construction on air navigation
  • Identify mitigating measures to enhance safe air navigation
  • Place new objects on Navigational Charts

Additionally, when construction is imminent, there is a second form, Form 7460-2 (Notice of Actual Construction or Alteration) that may be required as well.

Aircraft Approach – The airborne directions, path, conditions, and navigational aids that an aircraft follows in transitioning from air to ground at its destination airport.

Obstruction Light – A light indicating the presence of an object which is dangerous to an aircraft in flight. 

Noise Contour – A line on a map that represents equal levels of noise exposure.  The Airport uses the FAA computer model, the Integrated Noise Model (INM), to calculate noise contours based on the current aircraft fleet mix.  The number of annual flights, aircraft types, flight tracks, runway use and time of day are critical inputs to the noise contour model.  The unit plotted on the map is the Day / Night Noise Level (DNL) in 5-decibel increments for DNL values of 60, 65, 70, 75 and 80.  The FAA defines significant noise exposure as an area within the annual 65 DNL noise contour. Federal guidelines, adopted for appropriate land use planning, identify incompatible residential land use within an annual average noise exposure of 65 DNL or higher. An image of the Airport's Noise Contour Map is shown below.

(Airspace) Elevation Contour – A continuous line of consistent elevation expressed in feet above mean sea level (AMSL) that follows a sloped airspace imaginary surface as a means of identifying and locating approximate height restrictions over an area in close proximity to an airport.

Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) – A trapezoidal shaped area off the end of the runway end that serves to enhance the protection of people and property on the ground in the event an aircraft lands or crashes beyond the runway end.  RPZs underlie a portion of the approach closest to the airport.

(14 CFR) Part 77 Airspace –That section of the Code of Federal Regulations, having the force of law, that ensures the Safe, Efficient Use and Preservation of the Navigable Airspace.  It specifically defines Airspace Imaginary Surfaces that surround the Airport and must be protected and preserved.  

Compatible Land Use Evaluation (CLUE) Tool – An online, computer-based model provided by The South Carolina Aeronautics Commission (SCAC) that enables developers to locate their proposed development on the map to find out if it is in an Airport Safety Zone or an Airport Land Use Zone.

Title 55, Section 55-13-5 of the South Carolina State Code of Laws requires that certain development applications in SCAC-specified Airport Safety Zones and Airport Land Use Zones be submitted by local government planning, zoning, and building permit officials to SCAC for review and comment. This interactive site is designed to assist the general public in understanding airspace and land use compatibility near airports by evaluating a "test case" development proposal against Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and SCAC standards.

Title 55 – The South Carolina State Law pertaining to Aeronautics.

Obstruction Evaluation / Airport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) – That evaluation and analysis performed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Staff of proposed development that may impact Airspace Imaginary Surfaces near the Airport.  Initiated by the submission of the FAA Form 7460-1.

Noise Abatement – Voluntary procedures followed by pilots in maneuvering aircraft in close proximity to the Airport to help mitigate the effects of aircraft noise to those on the ground. 

(Airspace) Obstacle / Penetration – Any object that penetrates clearance requirements within 14 CFR Part 77 protected surfaces.

(Airspace) Obstruction – Any obstacle that impacts navigable airspace.

South Carolina Aeronautics Commission (SCAC) – That State Agency that coordinates Aeronautical matters on behalf of the State Government to include the preservation, development, and improvement of State public-use Airports.


Other Useful Links

Avigation Easement Template

RC Planning & Development Services

CoC Planning & Development Services

RC Airport Overlay District

CoC Airport Overlay District

FAA Form 7460