X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

LAS VEGAS-The Clark County Commission has signed off on $31 million in settlement payments to two property owners who sued the county for lost value after the county placed airport-related height restrictions were placed on their properties. The Commission approved a $21-million payment to the Mohler family and a $10-million payment to the Mona family .

The payments to the Mohlers and the Monas was for condemnation of airspace rights for multiple parcels each of the families own near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Interstate 15. The condemnation was to ensure safe ingress and egress for airplanes flying into McCarran International Airport. The Commission approved the settlements while still denying any and all liability.

The lawsuits date back to 2002 and 2003. At that time, Bob Montgomery, then vice president of property and facilities for Southwest and chairman of an airline committee at McCarran, laid out the significance of the cases being decided in favor of the plaintiffs in a letter to then and current aviation director Randy Walker.

“These two cases, if used as a precedent, expose the airport…to similar judgments on over 3,000 acres of land,” Montgomery wrote in 2003. “The potential impact to (airport expenses) is close to $2 billion.”

Since that time, including these two latest settlements, the county has doled out more than $200 million to settle similar cases. Last year, Urban Land Nevada was awarded $110 million for 140 acres condemned near a runway and two hotel-development companies won a combined $50 million for height limits placed on 21 acres north of the airport. In 2005, Steve Sisolak, who was sworn in Monday as a commissioner, received a total of $23.5 million in 2005 for height restrictions imposed on a parcel he owned.

There are currently several other landowners suing Clark County over airspace restrictions, according to published reports. This summer, a case filed by STT Land against the county will come before the state Supreme Court and is expected to decide whether a 15-year statute of limitations applies in most of the remaining cases. If the court decided the limit does not apply and the cases cannot be settled out of court, Montgomery’s $2-billion estimation may come to fruition. If the court decides the limit does apply then only a few of the remaining cases would fall within the 15-year window.

Neither Montgomery nor Walker was available Thursday for comment. Laura Fitzsimmons, the attorney who represented Sisolak, Urban Land Nevada and the hotel owners was out of town and not immediately available Thursday afternoon for comment.

Fitzsimmons recently told the Las Vegas Review Journal that last year she, SST’s attorney and two other lawyers combined a dozen such cases together, including the SST case, and offered to settle all of them for $300 million in a deal that contained language to protect the airport against future claims. The county declined the offer.

SST’s attorney Kermitt Waters reportedly told the newspaper that 12 years ago the county could have condemned all the south-side airspace for less than $10 million. “They got cute and tried to sneak it by,” he is quoted as saying. “Now they’re screaming like a stuck pig.”

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

GlobeSt

Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.