New Airport Takings in Nile
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 11:01AM
Clark Hill

City of Niles is acquiring avigation easements to support its airport.

The City of Niles has issued the first phase of good faith offers to acquire avigation easements from adjacent owners. “Avigation” means navigation of aircraft.

I have extensive experience representing property owners in avigation easements. Perhaps the most dramatic example occurred in Lenawee County. In those cases, the County sought easements that placed homes in a runway protection zone. After two jury trials and four appeals, the courts upheld verdicts requiring the County to acquire the houses, which created a public right of way for aircraft to travel within three to twenty-one feet above the owners’ houses. 

A number of articles and blog posts discuss airport condemnation issues:

The takings in Niles may not be as dramatic as those in Lenawee County because the RPZs do not appear to be as substantial. However, the have real impacts on properties and the attitude that an avigation easement only entails “air rights” does not truly evaluate those impacts. For example, takings that eliminate vegetation can result in real impacts, particularly for residential properties. Furthermore, the easement sought by Niles appears to include a unique and legally questionable provision that could have significant impacts on the properties.

I am forming a group of owners for coordinated representation, which is beneficial for all.

If you have any issues relating to local airports or eminent domain, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Article originally appeared on Clark Hill Property Owner Condemnation Services (
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