More land to be bought, easements won’t be sought
Hartford airport land purchases to rise


Nov. 15, 2015

HARTFORD - Plans have changed. A proposed expansion and realignment of the runway at the Hartford Airport will require the purchase of more land than earlier expected.

According to an agricultural impact statement regarding the project, both the Department of Transportation-Bureau of Aeronautics and the city have decided “regardless of the alternative chosen, all acquisitions for the project will be fee-simple, rather than a combination of fee-simple and easement acquisitions as was initially described.”

The decision means more land will be purchased outright for the project rather than some land purchases and easements.

“This means no easements will be acquired for this project,” read the AIS. “Second, the total acreage of the proposed acquisitions has changed.”

If some easements were acquired for the airport property, owners could have control over the land’s use, not the airport.

Recently, project leaders announced they preferred the third of several alternatives for the project design. According to the AIS that means more land will need to be bought from adjacent property owners John and Laura Novak, Paul and Dana Osmanski, Marie Rettler and James Borlen.

Originally, the preferred design called for the purchase from the Novaks of 21.1 acres and an easement for 4.5 acres. Now 26 acres will need to be purchased from them.

The original plan called for 7.7 acres to be purchased from the Osmanskis with

1.6 acres of easements. The plan now calls for the outright purchase of 10 acres. Originally 4.7 acres was to be purchased from Rettler with 1.2 acres in easements. The plan now calls for the outright purchase of 9.9 acres. Originally 16.5 acres was to be purchased from James Borlen with 3.4 acres in easements. Now 24.6 acres will need to be purchased from Borlen.

Novak told Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, who wrote the AIS, he prefers the alternative picked by officials because it requires the purchase of less of his land.

“I need all the land I have for my operation,” Novak said. “It will be difficult to find additional cropland and if it does become available I can’t afford to compete for it against larger operations.”

He owns a 300-acre and 70-cow milking operation.

The Osmanskis own 17.5 acres, with 12 rented for cropland. If the fourth alternative were selected they would lose all their land.

“They had plans for it including a pond. They built a house on the land in 2014,” the report said.

The report said “the primary impact on farmland will include the loss of land for crop production and for manure management as well as the irregular shape of remnant fields that makes working them less efficient.”

Hartford officials hoped to have the project completed before the summer of 2017 when the U.S. Open is to be held at Erin Hills Golf Course. That appears unlikely to happen because of the many delays.