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Illegal/Immoral Disposal of Public Property

06/06/2020 5:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Written by Liz Adams, Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment

RDU Airport Authority justified not selling the Odd Fellows Tract to the Conservation Fund by claiming it would create an ‘Incompatible Use’ and violate ‘ Federal Grant Assurances’. Rather than allow the land to be purchased and added to Umstead State Park, they decided to destroy the land.


“We Must Comply with Federal Regulations

RDU and our owning bodies — the counties of Wake and Durham, and the cities of Raleigh and Durham — are required to prevent the creation of incompatible land uses to remain in compliance with federal grant assurances. This means that if RDU was to sell land that became a park, school, or residential dwelling, the Authority would violate those federal requirements.

A Sale is Forever

A sale is forever — once land is sold, it is near impossible to recapture. The Authority cannot predict all the future needs of RDU or how it will need property to accommodate these future needs. The only way we can maintain flexibility to meet future needs is by keeping ownership and control of the surrounding land so that your airport experience can remain exceptional for years to come.”

The lease of the Odd Fellows Tract to Wake Stone for an 105 acre, 400 foot deep open pit quarry mine DOES NOT provide the airport with control of the land in case it is needed for future airport needs.

Leasing the land to Wake Stone for an INCOMPATIBLE USE of an open pit mine does NOT comply with federal grant assurances.

A 35 year lease to Wake Stone for a quarry will make the land unusable for any public purpose, including expanding an airport runway - FOREVER.

RDU Airport Authority entered into a long term lease agreement which is effectively a SALE.

RDU Airport Authority cannot sell any of the land on which the Airport is located, if held in the names of the cities and counties, without the unanimous consent of the Cities of Raleigh and Durham, Wake County and Durham County, which own the land along with the Authority. (1) It can, however, purchase land in its own name and can exercise the power of eminent domain to condemn privately held land and make it property of the Authority.

G.S. 160A-272 establishes the procedures most local governments must use when leasing government-owned property. While leases of government-owned property typically involve real property, the statute also applies to personal property. The procedural requirements vary depending on the length of the lease, and can be divided into three categories:

  1. Leases for a term of one year or less: The governing board may approve the lease without any public notice, and may delegate approval authority to the manager.
  2. Leases for a term between one and 10 years: The lease must be approved by resolution adopted by the governing board at a regular meeting after public notice. The notice must be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction and must describe the property to be leased, state the annual lease payments, and announce the board’s intent to authorize the lease at its next regular meeting (notice by electronic means is not authorized).
  3. Leases for a term longer than 10 years: The lease must be treated as a sale, and the local government must follow one of the methods authorized for the sale of government property under Article 12 of G.S. Chapter 160A.

This land was purchased by RDU Airport Authority for a public purpose using federal grant funds back the 1970s. RDU Airport Authority testified before the US Senate on Sept. 9, 1975 asking for additional federal funds with the following justification (2)

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The Umstead Coalition

We are dedicated to preserving the natural integrity of William B. Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek Corridor.