Seeking fair compensation for air easements

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The 900 feet westward extension of the main runway at the LaGrange Callaway Airport will allow increased air traffic, larger planes and cargo operations. For comparison, the extended runway will be longer than the primary runway at Peachtree DeKalb Airport, and both have inclement weather capabilities. This expansion will benefit LaGrange, Troup County, West Georgia and the manufacturing community. Progress requires change and I support this action.

I own 3.225 acres with over 400 feet of U.S. Highway 29 frontage under the flight path of this runway beginning approximately 800 feet from the edge of the runway protection zone. Although this property is currently zoned residential, its highest and best use is for commercial purposes, potentially as a retail center. A retail center would benefit local government by producing additional sales tax revenue.

Laws grant government the right to seize property from citizens for the greater good of the community. However, these laws also confer a responsibility on government to properly compensate citizens whose property is seized through condemnation. In addition, to curb the excess use of power by governments, the law provides citizens the right to have a jury of their local peers determine the amount of compensation due from the government.

All citizens have a duty to protect the value of their property for their family and future generations. The easement the government now has over my property gives the government the exclusive use of air space over my property and significantly restricts the uses of the property beneath the easement forever. I have sought relief from these restrictions by requesting clarification of the language in the restrictions and proposing their removal. Both approaches have been unsuccessful.

I still hope for a negotiated settlement. However, I am forced to exercise my right to pursue through the judicial system appropriate compensation from the state. This compensation should include the value of the airspace needed by the airport to conduct its activities, offset the devaluation of my property due to the increased size and volume of planes and pay for damages due to the severe restrictions preventing the property’s highest and best future use.

John E. Arrington


(Property referenced in the letter is a family home on West Point Road.)