Lanett works to acquire land for airport expansion

Published 7:40 am Thursday, May 7, 2020

LANETT — The City of Lanett is taking legal action to acquire some private property being sought for its ongoing airport improvement project.

Following Monday’s regular meeting, the council met in an executive session approximately 30 minutes in length and unanimously approved a resolution authorizing attorneys to file condemnation action to acquire four lots owned by Ray and Joann Fuller. There’s a little more than 100 acres of land in the four lots.

“The City of Lanett finds the property is necessary for the further development and expansion of the municipal airport,” the resolution reads. “Attempts to acquire such property rights by purchase from the owners have been unsuccessful. Be it resolved, the City of Lanett authorizes and directs its attorneys to file a condemnation action to obtain the property.”

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Lanett City Attorney Stanley Gray told The Valley Times-News there had been a difference of opinion between the property owners and the city on the value of the land. He said that in the vast majority of such cases, these differences could be settled out of court.

For the most part, Gray said the city wasn’t trying to take ownership of the land but was trying to have trees removed to have adequate air space to safely land planes.

The first phase of an expansion is just about finished. The paving has been completed on the new runway, and striping is taking place there now. The new runway is some 4,400 feet in length. This compares to 3,155 feet for the old one. A second phase will be funded by an $8 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant. This will extend the runway in a southwesterly direction more than 1,000 feet, making the landing strip more than a mile long.

“We have been getting a lot of work done out there,” McCoy said. “We have poured the footings for the new terminal, and the striping looks really good. I especially like the big numbers at the end of the runway.”

The new terminal is expected to be more spacious and traveler friendly than the old one. The Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) will have an office in the new terminal.

A runway that’s more than one mile long can land corporate jets. Business representatives can come here by jet. This will enable them to readily meet and have discussions with the CCDA staff.