The local company that lost a court battle earlier this year over the amount of money it should be paid for land and air rights needed to expand Warren County Airport’s main runway has decided to appeal the court ruling.
Lawyers for Forest Enterprises Management Inc. filed paperwork in recent weeks, asking the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court to reconsider Justice Robert Muller’s ruling. Muller said Warren County compensated the company adequately for land and air rights the county wants so it can extend the main airport runway 1,000 feet.
Muller ruled in August that Forest Enterprises was owed $297,000 for 3.86 acres of land and “avigation” rights to fly over 80.76 acres of property between the airport and Quaker Road in Queensbury.
The county had already paid the company, which is headed by local developer Victor Macri, $327,000, which prompted the company to sue seeking more. The company had been asking for $2.5 million.
Forest Enterprises’ lawyer filed paperwork in Supreme Court, saying the airport eminent domain proceeding “caused claimant-appellant to abandon a long-planned technology park.”
The lawyer who has represented Forest Enterprises, Patrick Seely of Latham, wrote that Muller “ignored the inconsistencies in the county’s expert (witness) testimony” and used an incorrect analysis when determining the parcel’s value. The company should be paid $2,524,000, he wrote.
“The court ignored and/or misapplied the law regarding the impact of avigation easements on value and instead relied on anecdotal market data presented by the county’s expert appraiser,” he wrote.
Warren County is contesting the appeal, and supervisors decided last week to have it handled by the county attorney’s office instead of hiring outside counsel.
County Administrator Ryan Moore said the Board of Supervisors believed Muller’s ruling will be affirmed on appeal, because the county’s evidence about property appraisal was far stronger than Forest Enterprises’.
“We’re very confident we will win on this appeal. Our appraiser was very good,” Moore said.
Seely has not returned multiple phone calls for comment on the case, including one on Thursday.
The extension, which would lengthen the runway that runs northeast to southwest, has been controversial, as some believe it is not needed. The county board has been presented with an alternative plan that would have less environmental impact, but the flyover rights and land would still be needed.