Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Colorado Supreme Court denies hearing Quiet Skies' Vance Brand Airport (KLMO) noise lawsuit



The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday denied Citizens for Quiet Skies' request for the high court to review the Colorado Court of Appeals' decision in favor of local airport business Mile-Hi Skydiving.

Citizens for Quiet Skies and members of the group sued Mile-Hi Skydiving and the company's owner, Frank Casares, in October 2013. The plaintiffs alleged that Mile-Hi planes corkscrew over some homes in Boulder County with loud planes in order to gain altitude, causing a nuisance.

Casares' attorneys argued that he was following Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for where he can operate his planes and abiding by Longmont regulations in regards to airport noise.

In May 2015, Boulder District Court Judge Judith LaBuda sided with Mile-Hi Skydiving and Casares, awarding him with more than $120,000 in damages and attorney's fees.

In July 2015, the plaintiffs took the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals, and Citizens For Quiet Skies founder Kimberly Gibbs said the awards to Casares were "very vindictive and unreasonable."

The Court of Appeals also sided with Casares and Mile-Hi Skydiving in December 2016, prompting Gibbs and the plaintiffs to take the case to the Colorado Supreme Court in March. 

The Colorado Supreme Court justices didn't issue an opinion, but denied the plaintiffs' request that they review the case.

Casares' attorney, Anthony Leffert, said the Colorado Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case reaffirms what he and his client have said all along — Mile-Hi Skydiving isn't breaking any laws.

"Federal regulatory and state law are all really consistent here. The city of Longmont does regulate Mile-Hi Skydiving. They do have sound limits on operations and Mile-Hi are well within that sound limit," Leffert said. "This case that was brought by the Citizens for Quiet Skies and Kim Gibbs was always contrary to the law and ignored what the law was and created new claims to get around it."

Gibbs said she and the other plaintiffs saw going to the Colorado Supreme Court as part of their commitment to see the lawsuit through to a conclusion. She said she wanted to thank the other plaintiffs — her husband, Timothy Lim, Suzanne Webel, Richard Dauer and John and Carla Behrens.

"I do want to make it really clear how grateful I am to the other plaintiffs and to all of our supporters — (who number) in the hundreds — who made a financial contribution to this effort," Gibbs said. "The plaintiffs in particular were very brave for standing up for what we believe on an important local issue."

She said the high court defeat was disappointing and that she still disagrees with both the Boulder District Court and Colorado Court of Appeals decisions in the case.

"In summary, what this District Court decision and the higher court decision really means is that this carnival ride operating over our home with no regulation and routinely violating the local noise ordinance was not a nuisance," Gibbs said.

She said that Citizens for Quiet Skies will continue lobbying elected representatives on the federal level to change national aviation law to give communities more local control over general aviation airports such as Vance Brand Municipal Airport.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.timescall.com

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