May 10, 2018

Those within about 4 miles of Arthur N. Neu Airport must apply for permission to build a house or business or tower if it is higher than 200 feet above the airport.

That regulation is being more closely enforced due to a grain-distribution tower that a farmer built east of Carroll that protrudes into the airport’s protected airspace, county officials say.

The tower is the subject of two court cases that seek to leave the tower in place. The farmer who paid to build it, Loren Danner, wishes for it to stay. Otherwise, he might have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to modify or remove it.

His tower sits about 1½ miles from the nearest airport runway. Under a Federal Aviation Administration rule, he should have asked for permission to build the tower. And others should have asked for permission, too, to build other buildings near the airport.

Here’s how it works: The threshold rises 1 foot for every 100 feet from an airport runway, with an outward limit at 20,000 feet. So those in parts of Carroll and all of Glidden — and numerous landowners in between — must apply for permission to build if their structures protrude higher.

“It’s going to really affect the timeline of everything that’s built,” said Rich Ruggles, a county supervisor. “Agriculture is certainly going to take another hit on this.”

There are hills within that radius from the airport that are taller than the threshold, county officials say. The approval process can take more than a month.

Danner was ordered by a judge to lower or remove his grain tower by this month, but it stands. His challenges in court are pending.