Davidson Broadcasting’s request to build a tower in Rowan County raises a question over who has more power: County commissioners or the FAA?

The bottom line is Davidson Broadcasting’s request to build the tower in Rowan County was rejected once by county commissioners and yet again by the N.C. Court of Appeals on the basis that the tower would interfere with planes using a private airstrip nearby.

But DB president Gig Hilton says the FAA handed down a “determination of no hazard letter.” Problem is, the FAA oversees public airports, not private airports.

And which entity has ultimate oversight?

In the opinion, the court of appeals wrote “Some courts have held that the state or local zoning regulation is preempted by the federal aviation regulations. However, a majority of courts in the United States which have considered the issue have held that federal aviation law does not preempt all local or state land use regulation which may affect aviation.”

The appeals court also cited the FAA’s letter stating that the agency “does not relieve the sponsor of compliance responsibilities relating to any law, ordinance or regulation of any federal, state or local government body,” as reasons the federal organization’s law would not preempt local law.

Hilton will ask the N.C. Supreme Court to hear the case.