Airport Agreements

Agreements Between Adams County and Denver Regarding Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport was constructed on land that was once part of Adams County.  In 1986, legislation was passed that allowed Denver to annex property in Adams County to build a new airport (C.R.S. § 30-6-109.5). There was a special election held in Adams County and Denver on May 17, 1988 and the voters of both jurisdictions voted to allow the annexation and to approve Intergovernmental Agreements between Adams County and Denver. The two approved Agreements were the Intergovernmental Agreement on Annexation and the Intergovernmental Agreement on a New Airport. These agreements are included in the reference documents.
Denver International Airport opened in 1995 and the Agreements approved in 1988 remain in effect.

The voters of Adams County and Denver approved an amendment to the Agreement on a New Airport in 2016. This amendment allowed Denver to develop up to 1500 acres of airport property for non-aviation purposes and share the tax revenue generated from that development with Adams County. That Amendatory Intergovernmental Agreement is also included in the reference documents.

Airport Coordinating Committee

Adams County and several of its municipalities formed the Airport Coordinating Committee (ACC) in 1986. The current members of the ACC are Adams County, City of Aurora, City of Brighton, City of Commerce City, City of Federal Heights, and City of Thornton. The ACC was formed and continues to exist to protect the mutual interests of the jurisdictions in the siting of, planning and operation of Denver International Airport and to enforce the Agreements entered into in 1988.  

Noise Litigation

There is a significant history of litigation between the Adams County jurisdictions and Denver regarding enforcement of the noise provisions of the 1988 Agreement on a New Airport. The noise provisions of the Agreement identified acceptable noise levels and identified noise monitoring stations where noise levels would be tracked. Denver produces a noise report each year that is intended to accurately represent the noise levels at these identified stations. The method by which Denver tracks and reports noise was the subject of the most recent litigation between the parties. Adams County will continue to enforce the noise provisions of the 1988 Agreement to the full extent allowed by the Courts.

Over the years, Denver has paid Adams County for noise violations pursuant to the 1988 Agreement. These payments have generally been spent in accordance with noise mitigation plans developed by the jurisdictions and approved by the Court. It is important to note that the noise provisions were intended to protect development that was in existence at the time of the 1988 Agreements and does not protect newer developments near the airport.  

Reporting Noise Concerns

To investigate airport noise or report concerns about airport noise, please visit Noise and Airspace | Denver Airport ( Adams County cannot take noise complaints and has no authority to address noise generated by Denver International Airport.  

Referenced Documents