Residents in Indiana Withdraw Lawsuit Against Airport
After Purchase Assurance Program is Proposed

JULY 2, 1997

The Indianapolis News (Metro West, page W01) reports that residents of Cottonwood Court in Plainfield, Indiana have dropped their lawsuit against Indianapolis International Airport operator BAA after receiving promises that the airport will a new program to mitigate the noise impact. The program will allow homeowners in certain areas to sell their homes to the airport or receive a free package of new windows, doors, and insulation to cut down on airplane noise.

According to the article, a group of 48 residents on Cottonwood Court filed the lawsuit last January in Hendricks Circuit Court, asking for $1 million in damages caused by disruptive noise and nuisance, trespass on their property, and damage to the resale values of their homes. Mark Waterfill, the attorney for the residents, said the program will be good for everyone, "as long as the promised program is actually put in place." Waterfill said the program also will benefit other parties such as the schools and local government, and will stabilize the neighborhood.

The article says that a study of the airport's noise impact was done five years ago, and Cottonwood Court and the surrounding Sycamore Estates were found to be in an area impacted by noise. However, the subdivisions were not included in the airport's subsequent offer of a guaranteed buyout. This year, an update of the noise study is underway, and Cottonwood residents filed the suit to get the attention and force the hand of airport officials. The article says Sycamore Springs has about 190 homes, including 36 on Cottonwood Court. The subdivision is located off state highway 267, near Hendricks County Road 700 South.

The article says that the Airport Authority Board now plans to implement a program that will affect all Sycamore Springs homes. The purchase assurance program will allow homeowners to sell immediately to the airport if they choose, or to get new windows and sound insulation at no charge. Homeowners may also opt for the soundproofing measures, and then sell to the airport if they aren't happy with the improvements. The soundproofing measures are estimated to cost about $25,000 per home, the article reports. The article notes that the guaranteed purchase offer also will be expanded to include the Brunswick Park subdivision on the southeast side of Plainfield.