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Land Value Impacts from Aviation Easements



As compatible land acquisition concerns continue to rise and the implementation of more non-precision and precision approaches are developed with new instrumentation (GPS) approaches, acquisition of aviation easements are expected to rise.  One of the primary questions often asked by property owners who are asked to sell their aviation rights for the safe navigation of aircraft is “what will happen to my property values once the easement is in place.”   It is unknown if there are any specific studies which address this issue so that an answer could be provided to the property owner.  Identifying an answer to this question would allow those consultants and sponsors to better address property owner concerns related to this issue. 



III.           OBJECTIVE


The purpose of this project would be to conduct a multi-step effort to assess the question of the impact of an aviation easement on the value of a parcel over the short and long-term period of its existence and provide a written document that can be referenced by industry professionals and real estate professionals when conducting aviation easement projects.  





                Establishing a general assessment of the impact of aviation easements on long-term property values would facilitate a more educated approach to the appraisal, negotiation and general assessment of the land acquisition process. 


                It is proposed that a multi-step assessment which would include the following steps:

·  Literature review – This task would identify and provide an annotated bibliography of resources found to relate to this topic.  According to many of the industry professionals polled in an informal survey by Mead & Hunt, it was noted that there are very few, if any, existing documents that address this topic, consequently, it is expected that this task would be a very brief effort, but still essential to provide background information on what may have been previously compiled.

·  Industry assessment – This task would focus on the assessment of various industry groups to poll them on the type of information they would like to have access too, regarding easements and property value assessments.  The groups would likely include:  National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at headquarters, regional offices and local airport district offices, the Appraisal Institute, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and the International Right of Way Association (IRWA).   These assessments would also be used to identify airports/communities where aviation easements have been acquired to provide a pool of potential candidates for specific case studies to provide actual field assessment of values.

·  Identification of aviation easement projects – This task would utilize information collected in the previous task and provide recommendations the selection of case study airports/communities that have under taken acquisition projects over the past 15-20 years.  Consideration would be given to the proximity of the easements to the runway ends, the types of airports, the types of approaches on the runway, the degree of restrictions on the property, types of uses on the surrounding property, and possibly noise contours, if available.

·  Once identified, the case study sites would be assessed by the project team to evaluate the existing conditions, the historic actions associated with the easement acquisition, the limitations/restrictions associated with the easement and the appraisal documents.  Then, new appraisals would be conducted on a sample of properties in the area, including those encumbered by aviation easements to determine the current value of the subject parcels and comparable parcels without easements.  These case studies would provide the basis for the study findings.

·  The research may result in a summary of case studies that can be utilized as a resource for industry consultation, or if specific trends are found, possibly general guidelines may be outlined that can assist in future assessments.  








                Funds:    $350,000 - $400,000

                Contract Time:      12-18months




                Acquisition of  aviation easements are likely to increase in the very near future as the approach areas for newer GPS based approaches continue to be expanded into airports which previously had limited or no instrumentation.  By establishing some guidance and background data on the impact of aviation easements on property values, land consultants will have data available to them to assist them in the appraisal process as well as part of the negotiation process. 


                Providing this data as soon as possible will assist in the appraisal and negotiation process and facilitate more comprehensive assessment of the easement impacts. 


                The anticipated payoff is that a specific answer that is based upon formal research could be referenced which previously has been unavailable.    Obviously there are numerous issues which can, and must be,  taken into consideration such as the geographic location, the degree of restriction associated with the easements, proximity to the airport/runway environment, the existing uses of the property, the general value of the market, etc.  Consideration of these issues and identification of specific parameters which may be more of an influence than others could be noted, it found to exist.


                Through discussions with various land acquisition specialists and real estate appraisers skilled in aviation easement acquisition, their support for the development of such a document out weighs their concerns regarding the availability of data.




ACRP 03-03 Enhancing Airport Land Use Compatibility - identified increased land acquisition and aviation easements as a viable tool to address land use compatibility.

Sponsoring Committee:AV020, Aviation System Planning

Stephanie A.D. Ward, AICP
Manager, Aviation Planning Services
Mead & Hunt, Inc.
2605 E. Airport Service Drive
Lansing, MI 48906
T 517-321-8334
F 517-321-5932

Tim Davis, Manager Land Services
Commonwealth Associates, Inc.

George Bratcher, Jr., MAI, ASA
Bratcher & Associates.


The problem statement was first identified by the teams working on ACRP Project 03-03 Enhancing Airport Land Use Compatibility, as well as current work being completed by Mead & Hunt staff within the industry. Several land consultant specialists that are frequent teaming partners to Mead & Hunt were consulted on their interest in having such information available to them for use during appraisals, negotiations and general consultation during land acquisition projects


Date: April 30, 2008
Submitted by: Stephanie A.D. Ward, AICP
Date Posted:08/03/2008
Date Modified:08/04/2008
Index Terms:Aviation, General aviation, Easements, Land values, Global Positioning System, Property values,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Planning and Forecasting

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