A Belgrade woman whose lawsuit against the Bozeman airport was dismissed by a Gallatin County judge has reached an agreement with airport authorities after filing an appeal with the Montana Supreme Court in August.
Following a mediation hearing, Carol Gerovac and the Gallatin Airport Authority agreed in October to seek separate appraisals of her property about a mile east of Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Airport Director Brian Sprenger said last week.
Assuming both parties can agree on a fair price for Gerovac's approximately 180 acres, she has agreed to sell her land to the airport, he added.
Gerovac has lived and farmed on the 2821 Frontage Road property since 1995.
Her lawsuit filed in district court in November 2012 contended that a 2009 change in flight plans interfered with her enjoyment of her property and amounted to trespassing and an illegal taking of it. She also claimed the low-flying planes disturbed her dairy cows and that she suffered emotional distress.
She asked a judge to prohibit planes from flying over her property and for a jury to award her unspecified damages.
Sprenger said the purchase will protect the land from development “that is not compatible with the airport” and expects it to remain open space for the near future.
“Anytime we can purchase land near the airport, it helps protect the airport in the long run” from similar lawsuits, Sprenger said. “It helps keep situations from occurring that the airport has no control of. It just increases the buffer.”
And though the airport recently expanded its terminals, there are no immediate plans to lengthen runways there, he added.
The Missoula office of Gerovac's attorney, William VanCanagan, said she had not authorized them to comment on the case. Gerovac's number is unlisted.