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Phoenix Sues Tempe Over Flight Path Issues

The Phoenix Aviation Department, operator of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX),is suing the nearby city of Tempe over moves to enable residential development under flight paths for the airport.

The formal complaint, filed Maricopa County Superior Court, follows nearly a year of failed talks over planned residential developments in a high-noise corridor. The City of Phoenix, which owns and operates PHX, is suing Tempe for breach of contract, asking the court to rescind Tempe’s recent zoning and land use changes and prohibit future residential.

“The Phoenix Aviation Department does not object to a sports arena, restaurants, shops, and other compatible uses related to the proposed Tempe Entertainment District,” said Chad Makovsky, Phoenix director of aviation service. “Today’s action is about ensuring Tempe lives up to its commitments to protecting our state’s largest economic engine – Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the more than 57,000 employees and 44 million annual travelers who depend on the Airport, and the communities surrounding the Airport who depend on the long-standing agreement between our two cities.”

At issue is a 1.2 square mile area of land adjacent to the airport in the City of Tempe which is exposed to noise levels exceeding 65-decibel day/night level (65 DNL). The Federal Aviation Administration recently re-affirmed the boundaries of this high noise area and confirmed that it is not compatible with housing.