- City buys airport using federal grant money (Grant money comes with strings attached)
- David Couch, private citizen, bought 6 acres adjacent to the airport which comes with a permanent easement for .2 acres which is allows access to the airport
- City approves of construction for fuel farm on Couch's 6 acres....city inspects after construction and issues permit for him to sell Jet A fuel
- Oopsies! City didn't pay attention to strings attached to federal grant money and realizes they are out of compliance, Olive Branch Airport is not supposed to have competition by other FBO or anyone else selling fuel...
- In order to rectify this the city is now going to try and take Couch's property through eminent domain
- Raise your hand if this is not ok with you!
The city of Olive Branch bought the Olive Branch Airport last year. There has been a permanent easement granted to the Holiday Inn Inc who owned this 6 acres plot of land that was connected to this airport so that their hangars and their airplanes could access this airport like a driveway. It is only .2 acres and without it airplanes could not access the airport. Holiday Inn was granted this easement (permanent, don't forget) in 1979. Without this easement this property would be worthless.
May 2014 there was rezoning heavy industrial which would allow for growth at the airport and give them the ability to do things like grow an airport and sell fuel.
The Belz family owned this airport and sold the airport to the city of Olive Branch in 2018. David Couch purchased the 6 acres in November of 2018 from Carlyle Aviation and he created a new company called Memphis Executive Jet Center. The city certified the occupancy of the premises to this group in December of 2018. Memphis Executive Jet Center decided they wanted to be able to fuel their own aircraft in order to make flying more affordable but is also good for the Olive Branch Airport because it introduces competition. This is when the city loses their mind.
In December , a fuel farm for Jet A fuel was constructed and inspected and permitted by the city of Olive Branch. Not a cheap thing to do nor an easy thing to do. There are a lot of regulations regarding this kind of construction. Noentheless, the
The city had taken grant money from the federal government in order to buy the airport. When they took this grant money they had to abide by certain regulations in order to remain in compliance. One stipulation was there could be no entities selling gasoline or operating an FBO which is basically a miniature airport. The city realizes they made a big mistake so they decide to put Memphis Executive jet Center out of business in order for them to be in compliance with the regulations they have to abide by.
The city is pushing to take away the permanent easement on Couch's property which would make his investment worthless. The city is trying to destroy competition which is not good for the business of aviation. It is not cheap to fly or to fuel an aircraft. Why is the city trying to take away what is obviously better for the people in order to cover for their lack of due diligence when they purchased the property. They screwed up and agreed to a deal that had regulations tied to the federal money that they should have known about. Did they know and go forward with it anyways or did they just screw up....either answer is not ok but trying to steal a private citizens investment and business is not the way the city should be trying to fix this.
David Couch was forced to open the doors of his property so an appraisal could be done on it in order for the city to take it through eminent domain.
Did Mayor Scott Phillips and the city attorney hide from the board of aldermen the reason they voted for an appraisal of David Couch's property?
One Alderman admitted that he voted to approve the appraisal of David Couch's property but also says he was told the city was looking at purchasing this property and not that it would be used for Eminent Domain.
Mayor Scott Phillips claims to be conservative but there is nothing conservative about stealing private property from a small business owner because they city doesn't want competition for their airport or because they need to cover for their incompetence in order to remain in compliance for grant money they received so they could buy the airport in the 1st place.
If you live in Olive Branch and care about your city, you might want to pick up the phone and call the mayor and the alderman and tell them you don't agree with the city using eminent domain to steal the property of one of their citizens. If the city has a monopoly on the airport that means higher prices and less freedom to fly along with the poor customer service which we are hearing has gone down hill since the city bought the airport.
It's David Couch today....it could be you tomorrow. We the people only works if we the people hold our leaders accountable.
Mayor Scott Phillips - 662-892-2901 Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Alderman George Collins - 662-895-3308 Email - email@example.com
Alderman Gil Earhart - 662-892-9218 Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Alderman Pat Hamilton - 662-895-5765 Email - email@example.com
Alderman Joy Henderson - 901-413-8361 Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Alderman David Wallace - 901-619-6992 Email - email@example.com
Alderman Jan Aldridge - 901-268-4119 Email - firstname.lastname@example.org (How can you represent the people of Olive Branch if don't even have voicemail????)
Alderman Dale Dickerson - 662-895-2543 Email - email@example.com
Sidenote: As if it wasn't bad enough with the city engaging in a massive abusive of power using eminent domain they are also retaliating against David Couch in other ways. They evicted Couch from one of his hangars without reason even though they clearly have the legal power to do this because it was a month to month lease. The city being as inept as they are I guess didn't realize he lease's another hangar there too...guess they missed that one...I'm sure they will follow up on this and kick him out of that hangar too since Couch is a roadblock in their plans to quash competition.
Ben Ferguson spoke about this on his radio show and had David Couch on to talk about it. I hope enough of you who live Olive Branch will educate yourself on this and take action. The corruption of our government is happening at all levels and we all need to unite and fight together to return the power back to the people. They aren't going to do what they are supposed to unless you make them.