The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled on a case involving the property rights of a western Iowa couple fighting with the city of Atlantic over an airport expansion.
Ray and Rita Mehaffey of Atlantic have filed two lawsuits in their dispute with the City of Atlantic which is trying to acquire part of the couple’s property for an expansion of the city’s airport.
City officials were unable to negotiate a purchase price for the land, and the City of Atlantic started the process of condemning the land — a process referred to as eminent domain — in order to complete the planned lengthening of an airport runway. In the case just decided by the Court of Appeals, the couple argued their property line was incorrectly drawn.
The Court of Appeals rejected the Mehaffey’s bid to have the line moved. The case is being reviewed by some of those clamoring for a special legislative session this summer over a property rights bill that Governor Vilsack vetoed. Critics say cities and counties have too much authority in seizing private property for economic development projects and Republican legislators are trying to reconvene the General Assembly to override Vilsack’s veto.
Meanwhile Vilsack and his fellow Democrats are trying to convince the G-O-P to rewrite the bill in question.