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Family settles over taking of airspace by McCarran

Updated Friday, June 5, 2009 | 3:30 p.m.

The Heers family has ended its litigation with Clark County for the taking of its airspace at the old Vacation Village hotel-casino site, their attorney said Tuesday.

The family will accept a final payment ordered by a federal judge for a total settlement of more than $15 million, attorney Paul Ray of the firm John Peter Lee Ltd. said.

The family filed a claim against the county in 1993 for a taking of the airspace after it was unable to expand its property because the airspace was needed by planes using an expanded runway at McCarran International Airport across Las Vegas Boulevard from Vacation Village.

The Town Square Las Vegas shopping center now occupies the land. Vacation Village filed for bankruptcy in 2000 and closed in 2002.

After years of legal wrangling including two trials and appeals, the family is happy to have the case concluded, Ray said.

"Unfortunately, the Heers lost their property because they could not refinance in the 1990s because its value fell after the taking of the runway expansion," Ray said.

Kirk Lenhard, Clark County's attorney in the case, disputed a statement issued by Ray that the case had been settled.

Lenhard said the county has accepted the judge's decision in the case following a second trial and won't appeal.

The decision determined the value of the property declined by $5.43 million because of height restrictions caused by the runway, and the resulting final judgment included that amount, interest dating to August 1990, as well as legal expenses.

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