Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Airport board seeks more land

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HEBRON — The Kenton County Airport Board voted Monday to begin condemnation proceedings to acquire 55 acres near Ky. 20, land owned by the company whose president is airport board member Paul Hemmer.

        The land is needed, according to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport officials, for road improvements, parking and water management for the proposed third north-south runway. The airport has been buying property along and on either side of the proposed runway footprint for several years.

        Hemmer Construction Co. of Fort Mitchell bought the land, adjacent to its AirPark International office and distribution complex, about three months ago for a reported $2.5 million with the intention of developing it as an industrial/commercial site.

        Including AirPark International, the company already owns more than 500 acres near the airport.

        The airport, one of the 50 busiest in the world, wants to construct a third north-south runway because of continued growth in the number of flights. The airport now handles about 23 million passengers annually, but studies indicate that number will increase to more than 37 million by 2010.

Court recourse
               The next step in the condemnation is for Hemmer to seek relief in court. New appraisals of the acreage will be made and Boone Circuit Court will set a sale price.

        “It's just a part of the process,” said Mr. Hemmer following the board meeting. “It would be nice if our value and the airport's value were the same, but that's not the case.”

        Mr. Hemmer said the construction company had already put together a development plan for the 55-acre tract and had done zoning work.

        “We didn't buy the land to sell it to the airport,” he said. “Our plan was for industrial development. We had already spoken to some possible clients, and some people have already looked at the property. What we planned was compatible with the airport. Many companies want to locate near a major airport.”

        Mr. Hemmer declined to say how far apart his company and the airport were on a price for the land.

        Bob Holscher, airport director of aviation, presented a list to board members Monday from Airport Council International, a major airport consulting firm, showing that Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Air port ranked 12th in number of aircraft movements for the first six months of 2000, ahead of such major U.S. airports as Philadelphia, Houston, Boston, Pittsburgh, as well as airports in London and Frankfurt, Germany.

Volume increase
               The ACI figures show that the airport handled 241,092 aircraft movements (landings and takeoffs), an increase of 5.2 percent over the same period in 1999.

        The airport ranked 37th internationally in passenger traffic for the first half of 2000 with 11,146,302, also a 5.2 percent increase; and 44th in cargo vol ume.

        In other action, the airport board:

        • Approved an application to the FAA to reinstate the $3 passenger boarding fee, which would raise about $22 million to pay for purchase and/or sound insulation of houses in the flight paths of the runways.

        • Authorized the director of aviation to hire C&S Engineers to provide consulting services for implementation of a land acquisition database and mapping system. The system would provide the airport board with the capability of tracking and reporting the status of the the land acquisition program.


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