Sanford homeowner suing airport to buy boxed-in home



SANFORD, Fla. - A Sanford homeowner said he is suing the airport to force it to buy his home.

Jim McDonnell’s home and several others are virtually boxed-in by the airport's runways.

McDonnell's house is on Beardall Avenue, which dead-ends into airport property, as does the other end of Beardall Avenue.

Airport officials said it's not their problem.

McDonnell said the noise of jet planes overhead has made his life miserable, so he's filing an inverse condemnation suit against the Sanford Airport Authority.

"How can you make some people live on a dead-end road between (an) active, live, jet plane runway and enjoy life?" McDonnell asked.

The airport used eminent domain to get most of the property it needed for runway expansions.

Airport officials said by law, they can't buy anything they don't need, including the McDonnell property.

"Why don't you just do the right thing instead of the legal thing in this case?" asked Eyewitness News reporter Bianca Castro

"What's the right thing?" asked Airport Authority president Larry Dale.

"Well, do you think people can live in that area surrounded by runway?" asked Castro.

"I have to follow the law," Dale said. "They bought the land in 1998, when it was a busy airport."

"So they should have known this was going to happen?" asked Castro.

"I'm not going to comment on that, that's what we have attorneys for," Dale said.

In court Friday, attorneys for the McDonnells argued the airport should be forced to buy the land.

McDonnell feels it's his only way out.

"Could you sell your home today if you wanted to?" asked Castro.

"To nobody. The airport is the only customer left," McDonnell said.