EDGAR CO., IL. (ECWd) -
The Edgar County Watchdogs are pleased with the recent developments in relation to the Edgar County Airport. From all appearances, outside agencies are finally forcing Edgar County to come into compliance with the established law.
On April 5, 2016, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics (“IDOT-DA”) sent a letter to the Edgar County Board Chairman, Mr. Jeff Voigt.
This letter explains that due to lack of zoning for the airport, there will be no airport projects programmed, nor will any Federal or State funds be expended at the airport until the County establishes the required zoning for the Airport.
We first reported on this requirement in December of 2015 in this article.
This makes the third time, in less than two years, Edgar County Airport projects have been suspended for various reasons and by two different agencies:
- September 19, 2014 – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suspended the project in order to review the grant application, due to massive irregularities, which we reported in this article.
- January 25, 2016 – IDOT-DA suspended the project to research the applicability of Section 1 of the General County Airport and Landing Field Act, 620 ILCS 40/1, which states that “No land may be used for the expansion of airport landing fields until it has been zoned for airport purposes by the county or municipality having the zoning power over such land…” (Covered in this article)
- April 5, 2016 - IDOT-DA suspended the project until the county establishes zoning for the airport
In 2013, I had to sue the County in order to figure out which airport law they were following (here) so that we could hold them accountable to that law. It was like pulling teeth. First, they declined to provide a copy of the law stating they did not have a copy. After I gave them a copy of all three statutes they could possibly operate the airport under, I requested a copy of the one they were following - only to be denied the FOIA request claiming that I was asking a question and not seeking a copy of a public record. The Judge in the case did not buy that excuse and the county was forced to provide a copy of the statute they were following. It was the General County Airport and Landing Field Act, 620 ILCS 40.
In the very first section of this statute, it states that:
"No land may be used for the expansion of airport landing fields until it has been zoned for airport purposes by the county or municipality having the zoning power over such land, as the case may be."
What this means, is that all previous work conducted on the runway expansion and cross-wind runway was in violation of the law and in violation of Federal grant assurances. In order to be eligible for future grants, the airport must be in compliance with previous grant assurances.
Since previous work was conducted in violation of the law, then we must assume the use of imminent domain by Edgar County to forcibly take privately owned property, in order to expand the airport, was also improper.
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