Pella Chronicle

Local News

September 12, 2013

Request from Mahaska Co. to amend 28E denied


B. Prior aeronautical forecasts have indicated sufficient demand for a new regional airport.

C. The Iowa Aviation System Plan 2010-2030 recommends the cities of Oskaloosa and Pella develop a new regional airport to replace the two existing airports serving our communities. The plan also states that a “Lack of cooperation may result in airports with inadequate infrastructure and services to meet the air transportation demands of the region, impacting quality of life and opportunities for economic growth”.

In addition to the above information, if the Federal Aviation Administration awards significant federal funding for the project through its competitive grant process, staff believes the demonstrated public need for the project will have been met. Therefore, under this scenario, the use of eminent domain for the regional airport project is appropriate.

In analyzing the proposed amendment, Pella City Staff believes that it is unlikely the project could be built without having eminent domain available to ensure the necessary property could be purchased for the project. For instance, the project could be derailed if only one property owner refused to sell needed property for the regional airport. Secondly, approval of the proposed amendment has the potential to drastically increase the cost of the project as the value of the property needed for the project would be based on the demands of the property owner versus ‘just compensation’ as established under the current federal regulations. Furthermore, the FAA will require the project to purchase all of the required property before federal reimbursement would be considered, which would require significant cash outlays from both cities with no assurance of federal reimbursement. Unfortunately, the combination of these two items may make the project financially unfeasible for the cities of Oskaloosa and Pella.

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