CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Centennial Airport has no control over development near the 50-year-old airfield.
"The airport opened in 1968," said Centennial Airport's Planning Director Mike Fronapfel. "We don't have a whole lot of say once it's off of airport property."
On Friday night, Robert Marquis, 67, of Glade Park, Colorado, was killed when his Cirrus SR22 plane crashed just south of Centennial Airport.
An engine from the plane ended up lodged in the side of a home in the Stepping Stone neighborhood.
Time lapse images from Google Earth (seen in the video above) help illustrate how residential developments have inched closer to the airport.
"Since the airport doesn't have land use control off of our property, they can potential build up close to the airport property," said Fronapfel. "Typically, you want to have an aircraft no more than 1,000 feet over a populated area. As of now, the development has not impeded on the traffic at the airport."
There are signs near the airport, like the one at Arapahoe Road and Dayton Street that say, "Centennial Airport Influence Area," warning people that an airport is nearby.
"If you're in that boundary, you can expect overflights from aircraft and have some exposure to aircraft noise," said Fronapfel. "It borders on the north side with Belleview Avenue, on the south side with the power lines on the bluffs, on the west side is I-25 and Yosemite Street and on the east side is Parker Road."
He said that the airport asks pilots to follow the National Business Aircraft Association fly quiet rules to minimize the impact on residents living nearby. That involves reducing throttle and flaps used over residential areas.
Fronapfel also said the airport monitors new development to make sure the height of the construction doesn't impede airport operations. He also said they monitor flight paths over the new development.
"We ask that the traffic patterns stay south of Arapahoe Road and north of Lincoln whenever possible," said Fronapfel.
While the airport doesn't have any power to alter or restrict construction, there is a hope that realtors disclose to their clients that they are possibly moving into a home in the airport influence area. Fronapfel also hopes that there is some sort of notice attached to the home's title making it clear that the airport and airport noise are nearby. He said they make recommendations to developers to construct their homes to reduce interior noise from the airport.
In 2017, Centennial Airport had 340,000 takeoffs and landings. The airport received 12,000 complaints from 250 homes.
"To a certain degree, because noise is subjective, they're all justified," said Fronapfel. "It's fairly common at airports across the country to have a handful of complainers that produce the majority of the complaints."