The Second District Appellate Court in Elgin last week heard arguments by the Chicago suburb of Bensenville seeking a halt to the demolition of 500 properties to make room for a new runway at O’Hare International Airport. The project is part of a $7.5 billion runway expansion that is being partially financed with bonds.
Bensenville attorney Joseph Karaganis argued that the demolition poses health risks for residences and that Chicago’s acquisition and demolition of the properties is not constitutional. He contended that the financing scheme isn’t viable and that the city lacks support from O’Hare’s tenant airlines for the second phase of the project. Chicago officials say they have acted properly and within their rights to acquire the land, and have conducted the needed environmental reviews.
The lower courts have cleared the way for the demolition, but it remains on hold pending the appeal. The city recently opened the first new runway under the plan to expand and reconfigure O’Hare’s runways. The city has failed so far to win airline support for the remaining phases of the project. Only the initial $3.3 billion phase is approved by airlines.