City settles condemnation lawsuit

Published 5:08 pm Friday, June 14, 2013

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, amended the city’s current budget by adding $35,103, which was needed to help settle a condemnation lawsuit and related expenses.

The $35,103 comes from the city’s fund balance.

The total settlement is $128,000, which is what the city is paying Harry and Anne Meredith Sr. after the city and Merediths agreed to settle the lawsuit, which was filed in 2008. The city sought to condemn property the Merediths own adjacent to Warren Field Airport. That property, generally, is northwest of the airport.

The lawsuit was the subject of closed sessions during several council meetings in recent months.

The city sought property and certain property rights so it could clear a specific piece of land and make it safer for aircraft landing or taking off from the airport. To make the approach to the airport safer for aircraft, the city planned to cut down trees in the approach path. The city sought what is known as avigation easements and rights of way on the Meredith property so it could perform work to make the approach to the airport safer.

An avigation easement is property right obtained from a landowner for the use of airspace above a specified height. Such easements grant right-of-flight, including dust and noise inherit to aircraft in flight; the right to prohibit or restrict lights, electromagnetic signals and items that attract birds; and the right to unobstructed airspace and the right of entry upon the land to exercise those rights.

The settlement also addresses the city’s rights and the Merediths’ rights concerning the cutting of trees on the property.

In another land-related matter, the council approved the purchase of Brenda Brann’s land at 1656 Springs Road for $63,000.

The city plans to use that land to expand the city’s Susiegray McConnell Sports Complex between Springs Road and Airport Road and add more amenities to the complex.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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