The Pella City Council approved the denial of a request by Mahaska County Supervisors to Amend 28E Agreement for the South Central Regional Airport during last week’s regular meeting.
At the Policy and Planning meeting on August 20, 2013, Council discussed a request from the Mahaska County Supervisors to amend Article X Section 1 of the 28E Agreement between Mahaska County, the City of Oskaloosa and the City of Pella for the proposed regional airport. The intent of the proposal from the Mahaska County Supervisors is to remove the ability of the South Central Regional Airport Agency (SCRAA) to either utilize eminent domain or to request one of the member parties to commence eminent domain proceedings for the proposed regional airport.
Eminent domain is commonly defined as the inherent power of a government entity to acquire private property for public use. Equally important to note, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States requires just compensation for private property acquired for public use.
After discussing and evaluating the proposed amendment by the Mahaska County Supervisors, the Mayor and Council were in favor of denying the amendment. However, the Mayor and Council also believed it was important for the City to continue to work collaboratively with both Mahaska County and the City of Oskaloosa in addressing issues and concerns with the project.
This resolution denies the proposed amendment to the 28E agreement by the Mahaska County Supervisors.
As reported, the South Central Regional Airport Agency is currently conducting the necessary aviation planning studies to evaluate the public need for the regional airport. Unfortunately, it will take between 18 to 24 months to complete these planning studies. However, based on the analysis conducted to date, we believe the following items support the justification for the proposed regional airport:
A. Based on prior engineering analysis, it appears it is not economically feasible to upgrade the Pella Municipal Airport to a Category C Level.