FAA expressed concerns about proposed housing development near airport, now site of fatal plane crash

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LONE TREE, Colo. — The Federal Aviation Administration wrote a letter to the city of Lone Tree in February expressing concerns about noise and safety at proposed housing development south of the Centennial Airport, the same location where a fatal plane crash is now being investigated.

The small aircraft went down in a field near Centennial Airport on Friday night, killing the pilot and sending the aircraft’s engine into the wall of a nearby home.

Developing that same plot of land has been a goal for a Lone Tree Developer. Plans submitted to the city of Lone Tree show the land sectioned out and developed into homes, businesses and open spaces.

In February, the Federal Aviation Administration expressed concerns about noise and safety for the housing development. It said in a letter that while the likelihood of an airplane crash is low, the chances go up in the area around the airport.

“Although the frequency of aircraft accidents is comparatively very low, the numbers of aircraft using the concentrated airspace of airport approach and departures areas, together with the complexities of takeoff and landing operations, does mean that accidents are proportionately higher in those areas than in other locations further away from airports. This is one of the main reasons that the congregation of people is strongly discouraged under airport traffic patterns and approach and departure areas,” said John Bauer in a letter, a FAA Denver Airports District Office manager.

FOX31 contacted the developer multiple times Monday to discuss the FAA’s concerns and did not receive a response.

The city of Lone Tree said it’s too early to make a judgement about the proposed development.

“The City of Lone Tree extends its condolences to the family of Robert D. Marquis. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.  At this point, however, it would be premature for the City to comment on this rare, isolated incident as it is still being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board,” said city spokesperson Denisse Coffman in a statement.

The FAA said the Centennial Airport is the 23rd busiest airport in the U.S. Last year, the FAA said planes made 42,654 flights over the proposed development in 2017. The airport spokesperson sent FOX31 a statement about the FAA’s concerns and the proposed project.

“There is no higher priority for this airport than the safety of its users and the communities that surround it. While we are aware of the FAA’s objection to the development, Centennial Airport is not in the position to regulate land that it does not own,” airport spokesperson Deborah Grigsby Smith said in a statement.

“Should a developer choose to develop land within the Centennial Airport Influence Area, we will work with that developer to mitigate concerns such as ensuring homes are built with proper insulation; the landing systems and the airspace are protected; and that prospective homebuyers are notified by the seller—prior to purchase—that their future home is located near a very busy airport.”


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