Boulder Through The Fence Story
Phil Ecklund and I have been discussing residential TTF (RTTF) since FAA started their crackdown a few years ago. Phil actually approached me, knowing that we are having issues with RTTF at KEIK, and asked my opinion. As you know, if you’ve been to one airport, you’ve been to one airport, since none are the same, and KBDU is a totally different from us in that we have over 80 RTTF users here, and they have (had) one.
The commonality between both revolves around the airport sponsor’s fear of FAA and their continuing desire to extinguish or limit RTTF agreements, even after the Reauthorization prohibition on using grant assurances as leverage to do so. Some sponsors cower at FAA’s perceived power over those grant assurances, and some use it as a tool to infringe upon the property rights of the TTF holders only because they think FAA is the great wizard behind the curtain. Another commonality is Boulder and Erie’s perceived ability to unilaterally change a deal many years after it’s made because of a change of circumstances at the airport. They then engage in a cost-benefit analysis which creates a legal showdown. As you know, we’re constantly fighting to protect our airports from uneducated bureaucrats and politicians who’s misdirection makes them think they can gain an advantage by stepping on a wonderful asset like an airport. Phil and I have been very diligent in not allowing this to go unnoticed at our airports, and as far as I know, this situation is a first in terms of two ASN volunteers working together without encouragement from AOPA to resolve a big problem. Besides, Phil’s a fraternity brother!
As Bill Dunn will tell you, this is a great victory for property rights, and, I believe, a landmark case in that it sets a precedent for the value of a RTTF agreement at over 60% of a residential lot value within a RTTF community, at least in this scenario. I don’t think any sponsor wants any valuation of any eligible TTF agreement because of the potential financial consequences of such a taking. I guess the Boulder City Council believed there was a cost benefit to pursuing such an outrageous claim of no value. I lost a bet with Mr. Barnow, because I was sure that the City would come to him on the courthouse steps or during trial to offer a settlement. They were so sure they’d win and not have to pay him a dime that they did not do so. I’m buying lunch or dinner for Barry and Penny.
In any event, one of our Erie Airpark RTTF owners has filed suit against the Town of Erie for declaratory relief on the KEIK easement. They have refused to acknowledge that they’re successors to the grantor on this easement, and have therefor refused to allow others in the airpark to opt-into the easement per the covenants. I’ve personally hired counsel to follow this litigation and offer amicus assistance to the plaintiff’s attorney. This victory for Mr. Barnow should greatly aid that case, since KEIK was the poster child for the comparable values between the two airports.
Please also call Mr. Barnow at 303 447-9828 to discuss this. He’s also an AOPA member. I’ll also be discussing this with Bob Noessner, Mr. Barnow’s appraiser and EAA.
R. Scott deLuise, CCIM, SPPA