Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Dispute focuses on farm value

Trial to decide sale worth

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        BURLINGTON — A 2-year-old dispute over the value of a 113-acre family farm made its way to a Boone County courtroom Monday.

        The Kenton County Airport Board and representatives of the estate of the late William Edgar Woodward of Burlington were in Boone Circuit Judge Jay Bamberger's courtroom for the first of what is expected to be a three-day trial.

        The main issue in the eminent-domain case: the value of the Limaburg Creek Road land that was owned by Mr. Woodward, who died in 1998.

        The Woodwards, whose family had owned the land at least 55 years, think it's worth $2.8 million — about $25,000 an acre in the state's fastest-growing county — but the airport has offered just $450,000 — about $4,000 an acre.

        Family member Donna Wilson said the airport is already using the property. She said there are three retention ponds the airport uses to contain de-icing chemicals, and there is a wall at the end of Limaburg Creek Road to prevent any access.

        “It seems the airport just does what they feel they need to do,” Ms. Wilson said. “I guess that's not fair.”

        Monday's opening day of testimony included David Schoepf, an appraiser the airport hired. He said the land, which was zoned for agricultural use, could not be used for any residential or commercial applications because it had too narrow an access and no easements for water or sewers.

        Both sides have to abide by whatever the jury decides. Testimony continues today, skips Wednesday and is expected to be finished by Thursday.


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