Bensenville residents blame Chicago for O'Hare planes flying too close to homes

By Hanna Nakano | Dec 2, 2015

A group of Bensenville residents is suing the city of Chicago, alleging the city is not fulfilling its end of the deal regarding a new runway at O’Hare International Airport. 

Residents of 55 households in Bensenville filed a lawsuit Oct. 1 in Cook County Circuit Court against the city of Chicago, alleging inverse condemnation and unjust enrichment. The suit says the city, which owns O’Hare International Airport, is greatly benefiting from this new runway while they suffer the consequence without compensation.

The lawsuit alleges Chicago informed Bensenville residents of its plan to open the runway in 2013, assuring residents the runway would have no impact on their lives, property or neighborhoods–and that air traffic volume would not be significant or disruptive. The residents say Chicago’s assurances have been and continue to be untrue.

The complaint states planes of all sizes take off and land on the runway nearly 24 hours per day, reaching very low altitudes near their homes, sometimes between 100 and 200 feet. “The planes literally roar down the residents’ neighborhood streets and/or directly over their homes,” the suit reads. “It is a scene that must be observed to be believed.”

The suit alleges the village of Bensenville has had to trim trees to keep them from getting hit by planes, and that the village has had to remove a grammar school entirely because it was in the flight path putting children in danger. The suit also says there was one incident where a large aircraft part fell into the village of Bensenville’s swimming pool.

The suit says the plaintiffs can no longer enjoy normal use of their homes, inside or outside, and their children can no longer enjoy normal childhoods. They allege the city should not be allowed to use and benefit from their private property without giving compensation.

The Bensenville residents seek a jury trial and that Chicago be responsible for paying fair market value of each of their 55 homes, relocation fees and all other relief they are entitled. The households are represented by attorneys Michael I. Leonard, Derek J. Meyer and Ethan E. White of LeonardMeyer in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court Case number 2015-L-009955

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