Tension between Hanover Airport and Neighbors

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Tension continues to build between the Hanover County Airport and people who live near it. The county is looking at condemning nearby property with trees near the end of its only runway.

The county is trying to keep up with federal and state guidelines for how much room pilots should have to take off. These trees may be too close to the runway, but the county and people living near the airport are nowhere close to making a deal for this property.

Lynn Berger enjoys the trees surrounding her home off Sliding Hill Road. She says this small forest of tall trees gives her a little taste of living in the country.

"It was the trees that actually attracted us to this land," she said. "My husband grew up in the country and he wasn't big on subdivisions at the time so this was closest to the home surroundings he had. We just loved it."

Problem is, these large trees are near the south edge of the Hanover County Airport's only runway and may need to be trimmed or cut down to keep up with aviation guidelines.

"It's disheartening," Berger said. "It's progress yes, I know it's going to happen but I just didn't think I was going to be a part of it."

Now the county may condemn the property to move a step closer toward acquiring it. The county says it isn't planning to expand the airport, merely make sure pilots have the necessary airspace to take off and land safely with these nearby trees.

Karl King lives at the edge of the runway. He's afraid getting rid of these trees will only make plane noise worse.

"I live 3000 feet from the runway," he said. "It's still noisy. It's so noisy you can't hear yourself talk."

The county has been trying to work out a deal for the land for several years. It admits the original appraisal of this property came back way too low. The county says it needs to condemn the property to move forward with clearing the airspace.

"I realize they're trying to get this airspace, navigation easement for the lowest price you can get it at," Berger said.  "They're asking all of us to walk away with a song and that's just not going to happen."

The Board of Supervisors will vote Wednesday night whether to move forward with condemning this property.

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