Collins, King Bill to Fix Old Town Land Deed Dispute Passes Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that legislation to remove an antiquated deed restricting the use of land next to the Old Town Municipal Airport has passed the Senate with unanimous consent. The removal of the restriction will allow the city and the airport to work together to pursue economic development opportunities, attract new businesses, and help create jobs. The bill was introduced by Senator King and cosponsored by Senator Collins in March 2017.

“The City of Old Town has worked hard to redevelop this parcel of land to drive economic development and create jobs in the region,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “With the Senate passage of this common sense legislation, the federal government is taking an important step towards greater local control that will support Old Town and help grow Maine’s economy.”

The use of the land has been restricted under a law passed by Congress in 1937 called the Bankhead Jones Farm Tenant Act, which authorized the federal government to acquire damaged lands – including the tract of land in Old Town – for the purpose of rehabilitating them for various programs, mostly related to farming. However, in the early 1980s, the land in Old Town was sold to be used as part of the Old Town Airport under the stipulation that it only be used for that purpose, due to requirements in the Farm Tenant Act.

The legislation will remove that deed restriction so that the city and the airport can move forward with the development of the land to attract new businesses and create new economic opportunities.