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Updated: 6:44 p.m. Monday, April 1, 2013 | Posted: 5:42 p.m. Monday, April 1, 2013
By Linzi Sheldon
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
The head of Charlotte Douglas International Airport plans to ask city leaders this month to appropriate $35 million for airport expansion. The money would pay for properties south of the airport. Since Charlotte Douglas International Airport opened its third parallel runway in 2010, Kimberly Wallace said at times, she'll hear the roar of planes over her home on Dorcas Lane every few minutes. "It's disrupted my life," she said. "It sounds like you're sitting beside the highway and a big truck goes by." Eyewitness News was the first to tell her Aviation Director Jerry Orr wants to buy her property and dozens of others' for the airport to grow. Wallace said she's glad to hear it. "I am, because I'm too close to it," she said. "I can't do it. I can't listen to that all the time." On Feb. 13, the Federal Aviation Administration approved a new airport layout plan that includes Dorcas Lane and nearby streets. The airport expects the $35 million to acquire all the properties will be paid in FAA grants, airport revenue or bonds. Currently, eight homeowners in the area are suing the city, saying noise from the new runway has reduced the value of their homes. The city says moving forward with acquiring properties could, at the same time, settle those lawsuits. But their attorney, Tommy Odom, said they may not want to pack their bags. "Even though it decreases the value of the property, they don't want to move," he said. And while many neighbors Eyewitness News spoke to seemed strongly in favor of selling, some, like Jan Chapman, do worry about starting over. Chapman wonders how much the city will pay for the house she's called home for 38 years. "Are we going to get, basically, good value for the house?" The airport's attorney, Leila Lahbabi, said Orr is expected to make his request at the second business meeting of the month, on April 22. Eyewitness News asked what would happen if people don't want to sell. Lahbabi said the airport doesn't expect to need the properties immediately and wants to work with homeowners to acquire the land voluntarily. To view Charlotte Douglas Airport's future airport layout plan, click here.
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