City council unanimously agree to offer $305,000 in airport land proposal

Published on Thu, Aug 28, 2003
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City council unanimously agree to offer $305,000 in airport land proposal

The city council unanimously agreed to offer $305,000 to the owner of several acres lying near the southern end of the Blaine Municipal Airport.

Robert Carruthers owns 5.43 acres that contain tall trees that encroach into the airport�s flight path and have been condemned by the city. Because these acres also contain wetlands, the city of Blaine is attempting to purchase his land to avoid mitigation costs.

The city of Blaine recently presented a $300,000 purchase proposal to Carruthers, who in turn requested an amount of $310,000 � the extra $10,000 for legal costs he has incurred. City council unanimously decided Monday to offer Carruthers $305,000.

City attorney Jon Sitkin believes a deal will be reached soon. Carruthers� land was appraised two years ago at $260,000.

Purchase could save money
Because Carruthers� land contains wetlands, the city would incur mitigation costs to some degree. A current court order states that the city has to log the area, stumps and all.

The city has already spent over $117,000 in court costs, engineering and legal fees, and permits dealing with these acres and several around it.

The city, Sitkin said, is trying to purchase the land to save costs. If the city was to own the land, it would only cut the trees, saving costs. Should the city not be able to purchase the land, it will have to log the area, and then purchase other lands to re-create the wetlands they have destroyed.

According to Tomsic, if the city were to destroy one acre of wetland, they would likely have to purchase two acres and construct wetlands, to compensate for the initial destruction.

Any money from the sales of these trees, if they are topped, would go directly to the Carruthers family, as well as the Klein family, a neighboring property owner who also owns encroaching trees.

There are a total of 485 trees in the southern end of the airport that have been identified as too tall. There are several more in the northern area, near B, C and D streets.

The estimated cost of alleviating the tree encroachment issue, should the city purchase Carruthers land, could be at least $500,000.

Committee to be formed
In other airport news, Blaine mayor Dieter Schugt said a citizens committee focusing on airport issues will be created, but not until the end of the year.

The committee, similar to the Citizens Wastewater Advisory Committee (CWAC) that deals with sewer issues, will be called the blue ribbon committee.

The final details of the committee are still being worked out. Schugt, and council members Ken Ely and John Liebert constructed the idea.