Board to discuss acquiring land for airport runway

By Jeremy Hudson

Daily Journal

HOUSTON - The city's acquisition of 17.37 acres of land on Airport Road will be at the center of conversation at a Board of Aldermen meeting tonight.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Houston City Hall.

Board members will discuss the possibility of authorizing City Attorney Elizabeth F. Crosthwait to move ahead with eminent domain proceedings for the purchase of the land owned by Leon Martin, who is one of the city's four aldermen.

Eminent domain is the right of a government to take, or to authorize the taking of, private property for public use. The land owner is entitled to just compensation.

Martin said the city needs the land to extend the runway at Houston Municipal Airport and he does not oppose selling his land.

"I agree with it because we need the runway badly," Martin said. "I'm in favor of the town growing and this will help us bring business to the city. We'll run businesses away from town if we aren't able to offer them a quality airport and I want to do everything I can to help this city bring in business."

The board will consider reauthorizing the city's $90,000 offer to Martin for the 17.37 acres of land. That total was arrived at after two separate appraisals were taken. One appraisal showed the property to be worth $120,025.40 and the second said it's value is $50,000. The $90,000 mark was arrived at by splitting the two appraisals, Martin said.

"There were some questions about how everything was handled with this early on," Houston Mayor John "Pap" Moore said. "There was nothing illegal oor anything like that. There was something left out of the minutes, but the aattorney told me everything was in order to move ahead with it now."

Martin will not have a vote on the issue.

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