CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- About 50 local residents are filing lawsuits against Charlotte-Douglas International Airports, claiming that they are being negatively impacted by noise from the airport's newest runway.

The suits are being filed in state court today, said Charlotte attorney Thomas Odom, Jr., who is representing the residents.

The complaint will be available for public viewing early Thursday Charlotte city attorney Leila Lahbabi told the Airport Advisory Committee about the pending lawsuits on Thursday.

There is precedent, said Lahbabi. She said she expects the lawsuits will be a reverse condemnation action.

In such a lawsuit, plaintiffs allege that their property's value has been diminished by a government action, and seek compensation.

Lahbabi said the city's policy is to not comment on lawsuits, and warned the committee's members that they could be summoned as witnesses.

The airport has long wrestled with noise issues from nearby residents. About 400 residents sued the airport after a new runway was opened in 1979, Charlotte-Douglas Aviation Director Jerry Orr said Thursday.

Orr said the airport lost one of those lawsuits and won another, before settling the rest. Since 1990, complaints have been handled under a program in which homeowners who live within the airport's noise contours can have their homes sound-insulated with grants from the federal government.

Orr said that 1,200 homes have been sound-insulated under the program, which adds storm doors, windows, insulation, and other features such as central air-conditioning.

Another 400 homes have been purchased by the airport to resolve noise complaints. But homeowners who live outside the designated noise contours aren't eligible for the program.

Some of them have complained that the new, fourth runway, which sits parallel to I-485 between Wilkinson and West Boulevards, has devalued their homes. Many are outside of the noise mitigation program's official area.

The 9,000-foot, $320 million runway opened Feb. 2010. Some of the homeowners formed a citizens group, Sound Off, to voice their complaints about flights every few minutes now running over their homes.

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