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Damages for Chesapeake Airport neighbors

Property owners who lived near Chesapeake Airport have won the right to damages for noise and vibration that they say has ruined the once quiet, rural setting of their West Landing Estates neighborhood.

In operation since 1977, the airport completed its last runway extension in 1999. George and Margaret Osipovs bought their home in March 2001 for $246,600. The airport and its neighbors apparently co-existed peacefully until early 2003, when the airport began using instrument landing systems. The landowners complained about the increased frequency of landings and departures, and about the types of aircraft coming and going. The Osipovs said the ILS brought low-flying aircraft directly in over their rooftop.

After talks between the airport and surrounding property owners failed to produce the kind of mitigation the neighbors wanted, the Osipovs sued.

On Nov. 16, Chesapeake Circuit Judge Randall D. Smith rejected the owners’ claim of a taking under the Virginia Constitution, saying the Osipovs had managed to sell their home in 2006 for more than twice the 2001 purchase price.

But Smith said in Osipovs v. Chesapeake Airport Authority that the Osipovs are entitled to damages for a partial diminution in value from the significant increase in volume, frequency and vibrations from noise due to aircraft flying directly overhead.

The property owners’ claim for just compensation can be determined in a proceeding under Virginia Code § 8.01-187, Smith ruled.

The Osipovs’ case is the first of 12 companion inverse condemnation cases alleging taking and damage resulting from the airport’s expansion, according to Norfolk lawyer Joe Waldo, who represents the Osipovs.

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