In 1988, after reviewing more than two dozen alternative proposals, the Airport Authority Board chose to expand Standiford Field (now Louisville International Airport) and build an entirely new airfield on top of the one built in the 1940s.
However, it was clear that changes needed to be made and solutions found for the people living around the airport. As a result, the community embarked upon one of the largest aircraft-noise residential acquisition and relocation programs ever carried out in the United States. Under the Louisville Airport Improvement Program (LAIP) and the Voluntary Residential Relocation Program, the community is engaged in relocating 3,740 families.
Louisville Airport Improvement Program
In 1991, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the expansion of Louisville International Airport as part of the Louisville Airport Improvement Program, which included the relocation of more than 4,000 people in 1,581 homes in Standiford, Prestonia, Highland Park and Tuberose, as well as 150 businesses on 100 business properties. Also at that time, the Airport Authority gave 136 homeowners in Edgewood an opportunity to participate in what became the Voluntary Residential Relocation Program.
Voluntary Residential Relocation Program
In 1994, the focus switched from an airport-expansion and noise-related relocation program to only a noise-related relocation program under the FAA Part 150 Program. Under that program, people living within the airport’s 65 DNL (day-night average sound level) were eligible for relocation. The FAA approved the program in 1994 to initially include the relocation of another 673 families in Ashton Adair and Edgewood. In 1995, the Airport Authority requested (and approval was granted) to change its focus from sound insulation to acquisitions in the Minors Lane area, which extended the relocation to an additional 1,064 families.
In 1997, the FAA approved expansion of the program to an additional 286 families in the balance of Edgewood and the neighborhoods along Preston Highway, bringing the total to 2,159 homes approved for acquisition in the Voluntary Residential Relocation Program.
The success in relocating families from noise-impacted areas created its own problems. By reducing the number of comparable homes in the local real estate market available for the airport-area families, fewer homes were available to buy and the price of homes in that price category rose faster than other homes in the market. Without a way to create comparable replacement housing, the noise mitigation program would have been unable to relocate as many families.
To address those issues, the Airport Authority, in conjunction with the FAA, developed an innovative housing program. The program was funded in 1997 and 1998 with an FAA Innovative Financing Grant for $10 million, matched with $10 million by the Authority. With those funds, the Authority purchased and developed the infrastructure on a 287- acre site, which became Heritage Creek. Under the Heritage Creek Program, the Airport Authority reimburses families to build new homes in Heritage Creek.
At the same time, the city of Minor Lane Heights was developing legislation to allow it to move away from the airport to a new location in Jefferson County. The Kentucky General Assembly approved the move, and in 1999 the city of Minor Lane Heights officially annexed the Heritage Creek area for its new city.
Today, the Voluntary Residential Relocation Program has two distinct components, the traditional purchase program and the Heritage Creek Program. In either case, families are offered an opportunity to move from their noise-affected homes. Vacated homes are then demolished.
For more information about the Authority’s Voluntary Residential Relocation Program, contact the Airport Relocation Office at (502) 368-9833.