Airport land dispute awaits trial date

By The Mercury

A pending civil case involving the city’s acquisition of land near Manhattan Regional Airport awaits a trial date.

The Manhattan city government filed a petition against Feather Field Farms LLC and the Riley County Commission last April stating its intent to acquire the property — 87.43 acres — using eminent domain.

Feather Field was listed as a defendant because it owns the property; Riley County was listed because of possible tax implications of the eventual court decision.

The city asserted that Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations require the expansion of the airport’s property in order to create a wildlife fence, lengthen runways and protect the FAA-owned “VOR Navigational Air Critical Area.”

A panel of three appraisers in December set “just compensation” for the land at $1.51 million.

But the city felt the price set was too high, said City Attorney Bill Raymond, and the city commission filed an appeal of the appraised value on Jan. 18 with the Riley County District Court.

The city has already paid in and owns the property at this point, Raymond said. But once a trial date is set, the judge will determine whether the appraisers’ price was fair.

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