Carson City Airport plan draws concern from developer

Developer Don Langson is keeping an eye on plans for the Carson City Airport, concerned about how they could affect development of his nearby property.

Langson and his wife, Toni, attended a Saturday morning workshop session of the Carson City Airport Authority board where the draft Airport Master Plan was being reviewed for last-minute changes before the plan's expected adoption at the board's meeting Thursday.

Langson expressed concern that the planned extension and realignment of Runway 270 would direct more flights over the Langsons' 39-acre parcel west of Goni Road, making it difficult to develop any residential uses there because of noise from aircraft taking off and landing.

"You're encroaching on the property rights of individual property owners and I'm not sure what you're doing is legal," Langson said.

Board member Brad Graber said extending the runway by 600 feet on the east end will mean business jets will be at a higher altitude by the time they reach the airport's west boundary, which would reduce noise levels on the ground.

"Moving it to the east is really a workable solution," Graber said.

"I don't agree," Langson responded. "I don't think it's right that you have directed flights over any property just because it was vacant. There's no (nullification) of rights on my property."

Langson said he was concerned the master plan would lead to larger aircraft using the airport. Board Chairman David Corrao said the plan and the proposed improvements to Runway 270 are intended to bring the airport up to current Federal Aviation Administration requirements for the existing level of use and improvements to accommodate the next higher level of usage are not planned.

Langson asked if the master plan includes the purchase of his property. Airport engineer Jim Clay said the purchase is included as a desired acquisition in 2003, without a recommendation about when it would happen.

"It's more of a wish-list thing," Clay said.

Corrao said a future airport authority board will probably have to address whether it wants to proceed with the acquisition of Langson's land.

"I've had it since 1963 and its been my dream to develop this property and I'm not willing to let it go," Langson said.

In 1996, purchase of the property was near the top of the authority's priority list and it ordered an appraisal, which valued the parcel at about $575,000. But a second appraisal valued the 39 acres at $1.1 million and Langson told the authority that was less than what he would accept for it.

In January 1997, the Langson's filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Carson City, alleging the city, through zoning and special use permit requirements, had denied them the $12 million of worth they associate with their property. Before the month was out, the airport board decided not to pursue acquiring the property.

When the suit came to trial in July 1999, the federal judge dismissed it, agreeing with the city's argument that the Langsons had presented no evidence to support their claims that the city violated their civil rights when it refused their request to build a mobile home park. The Langsons' appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was denied by a three-judge panel in August 2000.


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