Parcel 20 at the Lansing Municipal Airport


Local Voices

Bob Malkas, former Manager of the Lansing Municipal Airport

For some reason I feel obligated to supply this information because I don’t know if anyone from the Village is aware of the potential consequences involved.

One of the most complicated issues ever foisted upon the Lansing Municipal Airport (LMA) was its involvement with the Robert M. Johnson Estate: it held ownership to extensive properties surrounding Lansing’s initial purchase of the airport in 1976. The airport’s property map identifies the largest of these as Parcel 20—140 acres, located in Lynwood adjacent to the southern boundary of the airport.

The Village/airport acquired this land with federal and state funding support over 10 years ago for future airport development purposes. The local share of the cost was 5%.

In 2011, in what was described as a deal that had been desired for more than a decade by federal, state and local officials, some of Parcel 20 was by agreement between the two Villages disconnected from Lynwood and annexed by Lansing. What remained in Lynwood was a large strip of non-floodway land fronting on Burnham Avenue. Because Lansing already owned all the property involved, the status quo remained in effect.

The agreement also brought into Lansing Parcels 16A, 16B, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. Lynwood had already approved the way Lansing was using the property at that time. Any future development on Parcel 20 initiated by Lansing would require extensive property mitigation before any airport-related buildings would be allowed. The property along Burnham Avenue could be developed with few complications. The existing ALP was changed to support this alteration.

After 1994 the relationship between the Villages regarding the airport was dictated by an intergovernmental agreement. Airport management at that time had everything under control, and the airport could continue to be developed as long as Lynwood was kept informed. There was no need to give up any additional land to achieve their cooperation.

I am hoping that before the deal was consummated Lansing was advised to get FAA approval and have this written documentation on file. Remember, the FAA funded the majority of the cost involved because they wanted to provide for future airport development requirements. Now Lynwood controls the future of this Burnham frontage, and in reality Lansing received nothing in return.

If the FAA did not approve of the transfer of property, someone in the future could be required to pay them back for their financial investment.

If correct procedure was used, accept my apology.

Bob Malkas

Local Voices is our version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Send your submissions to The Lansing Journal with “Voices” in the subject line.