The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

July 17, 2013

TARA holds regional airport meeting in Pella

(Continued)

Hammann said there is a petition circulating that would take the power of eminent domain out of the 28E agreement that created the SCRAA. He said there are now 1,600 signatures on the petition. Hammann said that eminent domain should be taken out of the agreement and SCRAA officials should just find landowners who are willing to sell their ground for the airport.

Hammann also questioned that when the cities of Oskaloosa and Pella sell their current airports to finance their part of regional airport costs, will the land be sold as agricultural or commerical land. Also, he asked that when land is purchased for the regional airport, would it be bought at the agricultural or commercial land rate.

Mahaska County Supervisor Mark Doland spoke about a recent supervisors meeting where the airport was discussed. The SCRAA needs only a section of 220th Street west of Independence Avenue closed for the airport. Doland said he voted against the closure.

“They don't plan on taking any houses,” Doland said.

Doland said he plans to make a motion in Monday's Mahaska County Board of Supervisors meeting to take the eminent domain power from the SCRAA.

Van Maanen said regional airport proponents argue that a new regional airport is needed due to safety issues.

“It is not a safety issue,” he said. “I don't buy the safety issue.”

Van Maanen said Class C aircraft have been landing at the current Pella airport for 10 years. He said diverting farm machinery onto Highway 163 due to the construction of the airport is more of a safety issue.

During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, TARA members encouraged the audience to get out and vote in the November elections. In Oskaloosa, there are four Oskaloosa City Council members and Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt up for re-election. In Pella, there is one city council seat up for election.

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