Thursday, August 29, 2002

Deal reached on land for airport expansion

By James Pilcher,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and 13 residents who own land needed for planned new runways agreed Wednesday to terms allowing the airport to buy the property and continue construction on the project without further delay.

        The out-of-court settlement removes any opposition by the landowners, who own about 200 acres of land, to the airport taking possession of the property. The landowners had stalled the condemnation proceedings by asking a Boone County Circuit Court judge to consider whether the Kenton County Airport Board, which owns the airport, had the right to condemn land in Boone County.

        In return, the airport agreed to let a jury decide the final value of the land. That could favor the landowners because property values could rise between now and the trial dates, set for next year.

        “It's a win-win situation,” said Covington-based lawyer Phil Taliaferro, who is representing the landowners along with Florence lawyer Steve Dallas. “The airport gets to use the land immediately and remove any costly delays, and we get the possibility of the land going up in value between now and the trial. And we think that is likely, since there is less and less land available all the time.”

        The airport is in the beginning stages of a $230 million runway project. The work is to be completed by 2005.

        The airport has already paid about $3 million for the land — court-appointed “commissioners” have set an estimated current value at about $4 million — and must pay the rest before it can actually begin working on the land, a process that should be completed within a few weeks, airport officials said.


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