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Jefferson County to take up eminent domain resolution next month

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The Jefferson County Board of Legislators will consider a resolution next month to pursue eminent domain proceedings to acquire land at the Watertown International Airport.

Eminent domain allows the government to take private property for public use provided it pays just compensation.

The county is planning to extend a runway at the airport by 1,000 feet to accommodate larger regional jets and needs to gain control of parcels at either end of the runway to provide 2,500 feet of safety clearance required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The parcels are owned separately by Roscoe A. Eisenhauer, Robert M. Siver Sr. and John R. Siver, William E. Lawler and Colleen J. Lawler, and Hydro Development Group.

The county needs to secure the additional safety clearance before it can receive funding from the FAA for the runway expansion.

“This will be the first and hopefully last time we ever do something like this,” Jefferson County Administrator Robert F. Hagemann III said.

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