Thursday, December 14, 2017

South Central Regional Airport Authority begins request to release airport land

The South Central Regional Airport Agency met at City Hall in Oskaloosa on Wednesday night. The board passed resolutions to prepare a request to the Federal Aviation Administration to release municipal airport land and to prepare for a public information meeting regarding land acquisition.

OSKALOOSA — The South Central Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA) passed a resolution Wednesday to request that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) release real estate owned by the Oskaloosa Municipal Airport.

The move starts the process for HDR, Inc., the engineering firm hired by the SCRAA, to develop legal descriptions, plats of survey, obtain appraisals and work with the FAA to develop the official request for release that will ultimately be submitted to FAA headquarters for their consideration.

Jerry Searle of HDR explained that the municipal airport will remain in operation until the new airport opens.

“Initially, it will release parcels, with the final parcel being released being that which must be maintained as an airport,” Searle said. “There could be multiple releases. The non-aeronautical assets may be disposed of commensurate with the acquisition property.”

He added that, once the parcels are released, the city of Oskaloosa must follow certain guidelines for the sale of those parcels.

“The disposal by the city based on the appraisals, the city can not accept anything less than the appraised value,” Searle said. “The appraisal is very important.”

SCRAA Chairman Jim Hansen said that the sale of the parcels must also be approved by both the city of Oskaloosa and the city of Pella.

He also explained that the revenue from the disposal of the land is intended to be the city of Oskaloosa's primary funding for the new airport project.

Searle also pointed out that the U.S. Department of Defense will also need to clear the land disposal because the municipal airport was originally built as an auxiliary airfield for the Ottumwa Naval Air Station, although he did not expect any resistance from the DOD.

The board also passed a resolution authorizing HDR to set up and conduct a public information meeting as required by law regarding the acquiring of agricultural property.

“The purpose of the task order is to comply with FAA procedures throughout the land acquisition process,” Searle said. “In addition to that, it also incorporates the provision from Iowa Code. The purpose of the public meeting is to provide an opportunity for property owners to learn of the proposed actions and provide additional comments prior to the acquisition process being officially initiated.”

He added that the meeting will most likely occur some time in February.

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