Charlotte airport looks to buy neighborhood for $35 million

An airplane is seen from Snow Ridge Lane, off of Steele Creek Road as it departs to the south Tuesday afternoon, March 02, 2013

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on April 3, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 3 at 6:41 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte Douglas International Airport leaders want to spend 35 million dollars to buy 370 acres near the south side of the airport for future expansion and to buy homes of neighbors inundated with noise since a new runway opened.

The potential acquisitions could also help resolve a number of current lawsuits against the city filed by homeowners who claim airport noise is hurting their property values, according to a city memo.

The Airport Advisory Committee is expected to address the proposal Thursday morning.  If approved, it would then go to city council April 22nd.

Homes on Snow Ridge Court are inundated with airplane noise since a new runway opened in 2010, neighbors say.

"A lot of times they come directly over the house, just like that," Clifton Perry said as a plane flew over his house.

Perry says the noise is annoying.  He doesn't spend much time on his deck, but spends a lot of time turning up the volume on his television and getting interrupted when speaking outside.

"Because every time you turn around, there's a plane flying overhead," Perry said.  "I joke that I can count the number of rivets on the bottom of the planes."

Aviation Director Jerry Orr says the airport planned to buy the land years ago and recently got FAA approval and money to move forward.

"If you believe growth is good, then these are good signs," Orr said.

Property appraisals and offers could come fast.

Others neighbors fear they won't get fair market value for their homes, or in some cases, just don't want to move.

Orr says an airport study conducted years ago shows 90 percent of those polled about having the airport buy out their homes said no, but 98 percent said yes when actually offered money.

"No, I don't want to sell, but I will sell if I have to. I've been here 16 years, put in a lot of time and effort into this particular piece of property," said Perry

Neighbors who don't want to move don't have to, but run the risk of the airport being that much closer over time as the airport continues to expand, including the addition of a Norfolk Souther rail yard.

The land around Perry's house is expected to become warehouses for freight services, Orr said.

The airport has bought about 400 homes over the years in high noise areas, and insulated another thousand.

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