Columbia City Council Discusses Land Purchase For Airport

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council introduced an ordinance Monday to purchase more than 50 acres of land to expand Columbia Regional Airport.

That would allow the airport to expand its runways to meet FAA standards.

Columbia Regional Airport's 2009 master plan explains that the runway visibility zone for runway 2/20 and 13/31 does not meet FAA design standards, and 2/20's length of 6,501 is short of the 7,400 foot recomendation.

The land would come from one 52.83-acre purchase and another 5.4-acre purchase.

The city estimates the cost will be $639,000 with the FAA reimbursing the airport for 90 percent of the cost.

However, the five-acre property has been owned by the same family for more than 50 years and the 52-acre property has been owned by the same family for more than 100 years. According to Missouri's Heritage Value Statute, eminent domain purchases of land owned by the same family for more than 50 years has to be purchased at 50 percent increase over fair market value, and the FAA will only pay 90 percent of fair market value, leaving the city to cover the rest.

If the city council votes to purchase the land, but a private landowner does not elect to sell the property, then the city could choose to seize it.

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