City Government

Caution Advised On Airport Easements

Monty Mericle

Our Boise City elected officials are playing a dangerous game trying to both encourage Boise Airport expansion while at the same time approving massive new subdivision development just south and west of the airport.

The airport expansion includes bringing in F-15 and F-35 fighter jets that are 8 to 16 times louder than existing A-10 jets. Both Air Force and Boise Airport-funded studies have determined this will result in the reclassification of between 419 and 1100 existing homes surrounding the airport as “Not Suitable For Residential Use.”

Yet the Mayor and City Council recently approved the first new subdivision south the airport, despite the fact that location south and west of the airport will be subjected to significant noise levels due to the arrival of the new jets. The City’s allow force potential homebuyers to sign “Avigation Easements” which are really “release of liability” forms that include the following wording:

“As a requirement of a land use application…. The unobstructed use of all types of aircraft…at any height or altitude…, to cause noise, vibrations, fumes deposits of dust, fuel particles… fear, interference with sleep or communication, and any other effect… from all types of aircraft, whether now in existence or hereinafter developed to include jet…existing and future Boise Airport operations… rights shall not terminate in the event of changes in flight volume, noise, traffic patterns, runway lengths or locations, or aircraft characteristics…may cause noise as well as danger from aircraft accidents… and that airplane operations will not necessarily include takeoff and or arrival procedures which could have the effect of lessening noise or dangers to subject property… grantor, his successors and assigns, does hereby fully waive damages which he may now have or which he may have in the future.” (The official easement form is on the Boise Airport website.) Bottom line: the “easement” stays with the property forever. IF you don’t grant the easement it makes no difference–they will still fly over your house, but not pay for the privilege.

The levels of noise from F-35s could potentially cause the reclassification of some of these new homes as “Not Suitable For Residential Use.” Is this really a solution for new unsuspecting homebuyers?

It is incumbent on the real estate agent community to inform potential customers of the risks involved in buying property subject to these Avigation Easements. Homebuyers should think very carefully before considering such an area, unless they are fully informed of the risks involved. Living in a “Not Suitable For Residential Use” zone is not a bargain at any price.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I was at this meeting where the Mayor and City Council approved this. The meeting went on into long overtime hours due concerns voiced by its citizens. In the end the city went with what was obviously a predetermined decision made behind closed doors with developers much earlier. They listened, but did not hear the very citizens they serve.

  2. I was waiting for all these bad decisions to be put together. Apparently our city government is incredibly short sighted and not capable of looking at the big picture. There have been many recent decisionstudy that make me question their qualifications.

  3. Carol Casler
    Dec 9, 2016, 10:03 am

    The airport is sponsoring a meeting from input on the Noise issue. January 25. Here is what I copied from an email I got from the airport:
    “Learn More and Provide Input Regarding Next Steps for the Boise Airport Noise Study
    During the latest Master Plan Open House, it was apparent many members of the community were more interested in the 2015 Part 150 Noise Study that was completed and accepted by the FAA than the Master Plan Update.
    Due to that interest, and in accordance to the plan, the Boise Airport will host an open house to discuss which noise mitigation efforts were approved by the FAA, and potential next steps. We will also be asking for citizen input regarding which approved noise mitigation efforts they would like to see the airport implement. See approved Noise Abatement Measures & Land Use Measure.
    Please join us to be informed and give input regarding these mitigation efforts.
    Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2017
    Time: 5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
    Location: Boise Airport, Boise River Room on third floor
    Keep an eye out for future messaging which will include a detailed agenda”.

    EDITOR NOTE–That FAA letter has a sneaky little item in it. The noise mitigation flight procedures are “VOLUNTARY.”

  4. Essentially City of Boise wants the home buyers to sign a waver of liability for their city official’s bad decisions with respect to the airport and nearby residencies.

    When you wonder why the City and State politicians decisions make no sense to you, it is because of the money involved on a scale that we are not familiar with. The money makes politicians blind and deaf, and robs them of decision making ability.

    What goes around comes around, and I hope their bad decisions will come back to them.

  5. Yossarian_22
    Dec 9, 2016, 10:28 am

    It seems to me that the council and mayor have weighed their political chances of being removed by angry citizens against being re-elected by those who they feel will never be impacted by these aircraft noise emissions. I can tell you for a fact, because I grew up in the Northend and then we moved to the Bench (1973), that you do not hear military aircraft operations at anywhere near the volume as you do on the Bench. The only council member who would be affected would be MaryAnne Jordan. If she fights this basing decision, then she could escape possible damage. But, the District 19 et al crowd is SAFE. That’s how I measure this scenario.

    We need to fight this for several reasons. Don’t quit.

    EDITOR NOTE–Jordan is leaving the council and will be just one of the dwindling number of Dems in the Idaho legislature. Word has it they caucus in a phone booth.

  6. Mark Thompson
    Dec 9, 2016, 10:40 am

    I do think that conflating these two issues doesn’t help. For the new subdivision, the people complaining generally don’t have much skin in the game, they’re usually those who don’t really want growth in a specific area. They’re not usually a representative sample of everyone because those who would be for the growth wouldn’t generally speak up.

    For the airport, it’s different. The complainers do have skin (and ears) in the game. They’re the ones who are actually affected. I can see why there is frustration that it seems that no one is listening.

  7. Those who do not want growth in specific area? How about those whose residential street is illegally used by gravel trucks, bcs ACHD does not have money to build new roads (being broke due to the very fast growth), and the developers would not pony up for it either.
    Growth is supposed to be an economic engine. Not a reckless game where everybody loses something, so the very top rich guys gain more.
    The growth should not be occuring at the expense of most, bcs then it is a net negative, i.e. a loosing game.

  8. “unsuspecting homebuyer” ??????

    They will be buying a house next to a damn airport. Hello!

    Do we need the Nanny State to hold our hand every day?

    How about Private Property Rights?

    That will be a simple page in the ream of papers in closing that a homebuyer signs.

  9. I understand that these homes will be built by Corey Barton Homes – a company known for its not exactly high end, or even half-way decent, buildings. The houses will be bought by folks who are more or less painted into a corner by the real market forces in the valley. The new owners might be very aware of the trade-offs that they are making, but 10, 20 years and 5 owners later? Lake Hazel will become the corridor of the have-nots, struggling to live the “American dream.” This is another chapter in the long story of sadly inept land-use planning and decision-making by elected officials in this area of the valley (for instance, allowing extension of sewer service ahead of annexation, which eliminated the ability to collect impact fees to fund services.)

  10. This not only applies to new homes. If a homeowner in the affected area wants to remodel or add an outbuilding, they must sign an avigation easement. The city of Boise is holding hostage a person’s right improve their homes and property through forced annexation.

  11. Dan – All decisions by the mayor and council are per-determened and citizen input is meaningless…..except if you live in the north end.

    At some point the citizens of Boise must demand that city council form districts to represent ALL areas of the city. Until that happens you will have no voice as you have none now.

  12. western guy
    Dec 11, 2016, 9:33 pm

    How long can/will Team Dave stay silent on this? What about the puppet City Council?

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