Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Six Seek Lambert Buyouts Definition of `Emergency' Is at Issue; Subdivision Also Fears `Blockbusting'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Six Seek Lambert Buyouts Definition of `Emergency' Is at Issue; Subdivision Also Fears `Blockbusting'

Article excerpt

Six owners of houses in a subdivision in Bridgeton have asked Lambert Field for an emergency buyout of their properties, according to a letter signed by Ed Hanlon of the St. Louis city counselor's office.

Hanlon's letter was sent to Robert Denlow of the board of governors of the subdivision, Carrollton Oaks. The subdivision is in the way of the airport's plan to extend a runway into Bridgeton. The expansion plan, call W-1W, is awaiting a recommendation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Hanlon said in the letter, "The airport is now in a position to begin some of these buyouts. Since these negotiations will be undertaken at the behest of the property owner, I assume that you have no objection to the airport proceeding with these purchases." Rick Ruesler of the Carrollton Oaks Board of Governors read the letter to the Bridgeton City Council at its meeting last week. "I feel this in an attempt at blockbusting," Ruesler told the council. "I would like to know their criteria of emergency." Councilman John O'Connell said, "I heard Airport Director Col. Leonard Griggs quoted as saying there would be no buyouts until the W-1W issue was resolved. The City of St. Louis should define emergency. I challenge Col. Griggs to come here and define this and say what their plans are." Mayor Conrad Bowers said St. Louis had yet to buy properties in the noise-mitigation areas in Cool Valley, Ferguson and Berkeley. "These are areas recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration as having extremely high noise levels," he said. Hanlon said in an interview he understood that the houses "are being purchased as part of a noise-mitigation problem." Bowers said of Hanlon, "He's either lying outright or incompetent in airport matters. According to the 1994 contours, two of the homes are definitely outside the noise boundary with the rest either on the line or just inside." Bowers added, "If someone has a problem and needs to sell their house and they have a buyer, they have my sympathy. No one will stand in their way. But for the city to say this is noise mitigation is an outright lie." "When they start playing games with buyouts, they're playing with people's lives," he said. …

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