CHICAGO (CN) - O'Hare Airport's newest runway "wreaked havoc" on the lives of residents in nearby Bensenville, Ill., six dozen people claim in court.
Jack Riser and 73 other people filed the complaint on Oct. 1 in Cook County Circuit Court, claiming that their property values took a nosedive after Chicago began operating Runway 10 C - 28 C on Oct. 17, 2013, at a cost of $1.3 billion.
The 14-page complaint says Chicago acquired the area where it built the runway with "threats of condemnation and eminent domain," assuring residents that the construction "would not have a material impact upon their lives, property or neighborhoods."
Chicago promised that "the volume of air traffic would not be significant," but Riser and the other residents say that "the city's assurances were and remain untrue."
The runway is in use "day and night for hundreds of flights a day," the complaint states.
Calling it "a scene that must be observed to be believed," the plaintiffs say large commercial aircraft "roar down the resident's neighborhood streets," sometimes as early as 4 a.m., and throughout the night to as late 3 a.m.
The lawsuit points out that the city has had to trim trees in Bensenville because the flight paths to the runway are so low.
Bensenville even had to close a grammar school because of the noise, and the village also saw a plane engine fall off into a public swimming pool.
Residents say their homes have been damaged by oily residue. In addition the cracks in walls and foundations that the vibrations cause, they say their roof shingles and ceiling fans are falling off.
The Chicago Department of Aviation recently released recommendations after a series of community meetings over the summer to address the noise complaints. The 12-page report outlines a plan to change runway usage patterns during overnight hours and to expand the mitigation program that insulates homes, schools and other buildings within the zones that receive the most noise disturbance.
LeonardMeyer attorney Michael Leonard filed the lawsuit, which alleges inverse condemnation and unjust enrichment.
They say the city "should not be allowed to take their private property for public use without just compensation."
Both Bensenville and the airlines sought to challenge the runway in the years preceding its construction.
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