Eminent domain is a very sensitive issue with the regional airport.
TARA member Rob Hammann said there is a petition circulating about taking eminent domain out of the 28E agreement between the cities of Pella, Oskaloosa and Mahaska County. The SCRAA has the power to use eminent domain to acquire land. He said about 1,000 people have signed the petition either on paper or online.
During the April SCRAA public information meeting, Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock Jr. said the SCRAA board would follow federal procedures, and land condemnation/eminent domain would be “a last resort.”
Van Maanen said that if the SCRAA anticipates voluntary agreements for land acquisition, it can take eminent domain out of the 28E agreement.
During the question-and-answer segment of the meeting, one question raised was “What's next?”
Van Maanen said people could place anti-airport signs on their property and sign the petition to take eminent domain out of the 28E agreement.
People also can vote in the upcoming November election, Van Maanen said. There are four Oskaloosa City Council members and Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt up for re-election. If the membership of the city council changes, it could decide to chart a different course on the airport issue, he added.
Another question was what could be done to the 28E agreement if the view of the Oskaloosa City Council on the airport changed as a result of the election.
Mahaska County Supervisor Mark Doland said a partner of the 28E agreement found to be in violation of its terms or impede progress of the project, it could face up to $250,000 in fines. He said a possibility would be for the city to tell its representatives to the SCRAA board to change the language of the 28E agreement.
TARA will hold a similar public information meeting in Pella on Wednesday, July 10, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Pella Community Center.
Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at email@example.com