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Paynesville Press - July 24, 2002

Airport commission hold emergency meeting

The Paynesville Regional Airport Commission held an emergency meeting on Friday, July 19, at 5:30 p.m.

The commission voted to recommend to the Paynesville City Council and to the Paynesville Township Board of Supervisors to purchase an additional 22 acres from Jason Mages. The vote was 3-0, with Dave Peschong, Bert Stanley, and Steve Whitcomb voting in favor. John Atwood and Ed McIntee abstained.

The commission had been advised by attorney John Martin, who is acting as special counsel during the condemnation proceedings, that a motion could be filed in court arguing that the airport commission should purchase this property.

The extra 22 acres, on the south side of what would become the new airstrip, would be separated from the rest of the parcel. The airport commission was planning to pay a severance fee ($1,000 per acre) to Mages for splitting this property.

The airport commission's appraised value for property needed to purchase is $1,600 per acre, an increase of $600 per acre for the outright purchase rather than severance. This would increase the overall cost of land acquisition by at least $13,200, to nearly $305,000 (according to the airport commission's appraisals).

The actual price for land acquisition will be determined by the court. The airport commission is seeking a quick take, which would grant them title to the property immediately (allowing construction to start this fall) while the price for the land would be determined by a court-appointed panel.

The airport commission has not signed an agreement with any of the five landowners whose property is needed for the new airport. the condemnation petition was filed in Stearns County District Court on Friday, July 5. A first hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 1, at 1:30 p.m.

If the city council and township board agree with the additional purchase, the airport commission would need to purchase over 150 acres for the new airport and acquire rights to over 30 acres through easements.

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