Saturday, May 10, 2003

Land wanted by airport to cost $9.5M


Jury settles on record price for Conner family's 80 acres

By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - A Boone County jury Friday awarded the Conner family of Hebron $9.5 million for 80 acres being taken by the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport for its new north/south runway.

"It's my understanding that it is the largest award (ever) for industrial property in Boone County," said Phil Taliaferro, a Covington lawyer who represented the family.

The award gives the family $119,000 an acre for what is now farmland, which has been in their family for more than 200 years.

"They felt through the whole thing, that it was not just about them but it was for all the citizens of Boone County who face the threat of condemnation," Taliaferro said.

Last year, after the airport board said it would move to take the land by eminent domain, the family agreed to sell the land to the airport in return for having a Boone County jury decide its value.

The jury took 21/2 hours Friday to come back with the $9.5 million amount. Arguments in the case began May 5 in front of Circuit Judge Jay Bamberger.

"We'll review it Monday and then determine what we will do, either appeal it or accept it," said airport spokesman Ted Bushelman.

The airport had previously offered the family $2.56 million. The Conners had wanted $4 million, based on the value of industrial land, Taliaferro said. The Marie Conner Family trust that brought the suit was made up of six Conner family members.

"It's all right I guess," Dennis Conner said of the award. "We're still angry with the airport that they put us through this."

Three of the siblings still live on a portion of land not taken by the airport.

They will be able to keep their homes because they are not in the path of the $230 million runaway expansion project.

Taliaferro praised the family for holding out for what they thought the land was worth.

"It was a true David and Goliath story," Taliaferro said. "The Conners wouldn't back down; they weren't intimidated."

The Conner tract and 13 other landowners' holdings were in the way of the airport's new 8,000-foot north-south runway on the western side of the airport, as well as a 2,000-foot extension of the western end of the existing 10,000-foot east-west runway.

The $230 million project is to be completed by 2005.

The 13 other landowners will also have the value of their land determined by Boone County juries.

Florence lawyer Steve Dallas will argue a case in October. The dates for the other cases have not been set.

E-mail bkelly@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Jammin' is laid-back street fest
Dancin' crowd helps festival pick up the pace
Pathologist's conviction reversed
College grads find dream jobs elusive
Hamilton soldier shot dead in Iraq

IN THE TRISTATE
Event honors traditions
Robbers hit bar; patron shoots
Obituary: Jean Angela Noppenberger, Sister of Charity
Tristate A.M. Report
Number of audits likely to grow
Fire captain accused in abduction
Hey west side, you're next

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
McNUTT: Author to lead writers' session
Faith Matters: Moms honored at area services

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Gas leak closes road by Lebanon
Suspect returns for trial in 1974 killing
Cleanup spoils summer
A snip for charity
Fugitive who owes victim imprisoned

OHIO
Victim receives $550,000
Pickerington parents propose pay-to-play to salvage activities
President picked for Cleveland Foundation
Ohio contests unemployment fine
Historic highway helped America grow westward
Boarder pleads guilty to murder of Mount Victory councilwoman
More animal farms avoid regulation
Bathroom passes ease wait for new coaster
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
Land wanted by airport to cost $9.5M
Tired of your old tires? Now's your chance
Western regents OK joint engineering degree programs with UK and U of L
Murder suspect had violent history
Three charged for meth lab
'Probable' case of SARS being treated in N.Ky.
N.Ky. Rep. Lucas one of only four Democrats who voted for tax cut
Escapee gives up after tear gas lands
Court upholds dismissal of case against Mexican
WKU dorm fire, death prompts review of safety
Kentucky obituaries
Court rules in favor of W.Ky. industrial park bond issue
Child-support lawsuit targets candidate
Candidates spent $12.5M
Cleanup proceeding at Paducah plant