Written by Liz Adams, Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment
Is the RDU Airport Authority following the law to quarry public land?
This isn’t the first time that RDU Airport has requested permission to quarry land surrounding the airport for a runway.
Title IV of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4231) proclaimed a national policy of inter-governmental coordination and cooperation. The objectives of this act rest on the premise that the economic and social development of the Nation and the achievement of a satisfactory level of living depend upon the sound and orderly development of all areas, both urban and rural. The act requires that the President establish rules and regulations for uniform application in formulating, evaluating, and re- viewing Federal programs and projects to insure orderly development.
Such rules are to provide for concurrent achievement of the following objectives: (1) appropriate land use, (2) conservation of natural resources, (3) balanced transportation systems, (4) adequate outdoor recreation, (5) protection of areas of unique beauty or historical or scientific interest, and (6) properly planned community facilities and concern for high standards of design. The rules are also to require, when possible, that:
— Full consideration be given national, regional, State, and local objectives, needs, and viewpoints in planning, evaluating, and reviewing Federal and federally assisted development programs and projects.
— All Federal aid for urban development purposes be consistent with and further the objectives of State, regional, and local comprehensive planning when such objectives are consistent with national objectives.
— All systematic planning of individual Federal programs be coordinated with and made part of comprehensive local and area wide development planning.
§ 63–5. Airport declared public purpose; eminent domain. Any lands acquired, owned, controlled, or occupied by such cities, towns, and/or counties, for the purposes enumerated in G.S. 63–2, 63–3 and 63–4, shall and are hereby declared to be acquired, owned, controlled and occupied for a public purpose, and such cities, towns and/or counties shall have the right to acquire property for such purpose or purposes under the power of eminent domain as and for a public purpose. (1929, c. 87, s. 5.)
§ 63–50. Airports a public purpose.
The acquisition of any lands for the purpose of establishing airports or other air navigation facilities; the acquisition of airport protection privileges; the acquisition, establishment, construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment and operation of airports and other air navigation facilities, and the exercise of any other powers herein granted to municipalities, are hereby declared to be public, governmental and municipal functions exercised for a public purpose and matters of public necessity, and such lands and other property, easements and privileges acquired and used by such municipalities in the manner and for the purposes enumerated in this Article, shall and are hereby declared to be acquired and used for public, governmental and municipal purposes and as a matter of public necessity. (1945, c. 490, s. 3.)
§ 63–53. Specific powers of municipalities operating airports. To lease such airports or other air navigation facilities, or real property acquired or set apart for airport purposes, to private parties, to any municipal or State government or to the national government, or to any department of either thereof, for operation; to lease to private parties, to any municipal or State government or to the national government, or any department of either thereof, for operation or use consistent with the purpose of this Article, space, area, improvements, or equipment on such airports; to sell any part of such airports, other air navigation facilities or real property to any municipal government, or to the United States or to any department or instrumentality thereof, for aeronautical purposes or purposes incidental thereto, and to confer the privileges of concessions of supplying upon its airports goods, commodities, things, services and facilities; provided that in each case in so doing the public is not deprived of its rightful, equal, and uniform use thereof.
The Odd Fellows Tract was obtained by the RDU Airport Authority for a “Public Purpose”, therefore it must not be leased to a private party if the public is deprived of its rightful, equal and uniform use. The Odd Fellows Tract has served as public recreational land since before the land was acquired by the airport. The public will be deprived of its rightful, equal and uniform use of the hiking, biking, and fishing areas on the Odd Fellows Tract.
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