While the federal government regulates airspace around airports, it does not have the power to regulate local land use. The state authorizes cities and counties to protect local airports from incompatible land uses through the development of local zoning ordinances.
Federal regulations (14 CFR Part 77) require notice to the Federal Aviation Administration through the construction and airspace determination process when someone wants to build a structure that could impact air navigation. Through that process, the FAA provides a determination of whether or not a structure is considered to be a hazard to air navigation, but it does nothing to prevent construction. If a hazardous structure is built, the FAA's only recourse is to adjust air navigation. Sometimes, structures that are not determined to create hazard to air navigation may require adjustment to air navigation that changes the effectiveness of the airport under adverse weather conditions.
If a city or county allows a structure to be built that obstructs airspace to an airport that damages the federal investment in that airport, the FAA may hold the airport in noncompliance and withhold future grant funding. Because approval for construction of the structure is within the power and control of the local government entity, FAA does not have the ability to go after the owner of the structure.
For each airport in Iowa that has known zoning ordinances, those ordinances are listed under the technical information section for each airport at Iowa Airports. Information on compatible land uses for airports can be found at Studies, Reports and Special Initiatives.