By Richard K. DeAtley
Posted: 02/23/17 – 9:45 PM PST |

San Bernardino County could pay $48 million for the property of one of the few remaining Chino dairy farmers after the family complained in a lawsuit that most of their spread, located under a landing pattern for Chino Airport, had been turned into a no-build zone without compensation.

The lawsuit, which went into private arbitration, claimed that the county had, bit by bit over the past 25 years, turned most of the 58 acres of dairy land owned since the 1960s by Jim and Annie Nyenhuis into a runway protection zone.

Planes, including private jets, fly low right over the family’s ranch-style home and property on Remington Avenue as they come in for a landing at the airport, just west of the dairy.

The designation precluded most of the acreage from development, even as property all around the Nyenhuis’s farm turned into commercial and housing developments, the lawsuit said.

The $48 million includes the value of the 58-acres of land, legal costs, and relocation money for Jim and Annie Nyenhuis, said their attorney, John C. Murphy.

The award is not final, county spokesman David Wert said Thursday.

“I respectfully submit, it’s over,” said Murphy.

A stipulation in the case said the parties need to participate in a final order of condemnation. Under terms of the agreement, the final judgment cannot be appealed.

Murphy said in an interview that the county agreed to arbitration in the case as evidence mounted that a development plan for the airport was referred to as a “draft” plan only to avoid admission of language that the county should buy the Nyenhuis property.

“The suit in question wasn’t filed until 2015. The only reason it took time to settle the case was that the two sides had vastly different opinions on the value of the land,” county spokesman Wert said.

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