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Aviation board looks at property

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The city’s Board of Aviation Commissioners is willing to spend up to $500,000 to buy land near the end of one of its airport runways.

The purchase would help Columbus Municipal Airport keep the 35-acre property clear of development that could potentially interfere with flights, airport director Brian Payne said.

The $500,000 figure for the land is what owner Centra Credit Union representatives believe it’s worth, aviation board president Caleb Tennis said.

The land is zoned residential and is located between Breckenridge and Clairmont Drives just southeast of Poshard Drive near a subdivision.

Buying the land is a safety precaution to leave more space for aircraft, Payne said. The acreage is considered outside a runway safety area, mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration as open areas needed for aircraft to take off and land.

However, Payne said the aviation board is trying to be safety conscious by taking steps to protect aircraft approaches.

Tennis brought up the idea of purchasing the land at the March aviation board meeting.

“One of the goals of the airport is to essentially protect the area around the airport from encroachment,” he said.

Tennis said those efforts include trying to keep additional nearby residential development from occurring.

The aviation board agreed Tuesday to send a letter of intent to Centra describing its interest in buying the property.

The board plans to have the land appraised for agricultural use, but nearby properties are used for residential, aviation board attorney Michael McIver said.

If Centra is interested in selling the land, the airport plans to hire two FFA-certified appraisers to help determine a fair value.

In doing so, the airport could receive up to 90 percent of the cost from the FFA to purchase the land by following its guidelines, Payne said.

He added he has contacted First Appraisal Group Inc. and Monroe/Owen Appraisal Inc., both from Bloomington.

The aviation board could approve spending money on the appraisal within the next couple of weeks, he said.

If the airport pursues trying to buy the land, it will need approval from the Columbus City Council to spend airport money for its portion of the purchase.

If the 35 acres is acquired, it would be leased out as farmland, adding to the 1,200 acres the airport owns and leases for farming.

The airport is a self-sufficient entity of city government.

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