A group of Bermuda Dunes residents who own property in a residential area adjacent to the Bermuda Dunes Airport has filed a lawsuit against the company that owns the airport.
The plaintiffs in the case live in an area that is called the Bermuda Dunes Airpark. An airpark is an officially designated community specifically designed around an airport with residences constructed on lots adjoining the airport runway or taxiway. There are many such airparks throughout the United States. The residences, along the north side of Jamaica Sands Drive, typically include an attached hangar to allow the owners to store their aircraft and access the airport. The owners access the airport runway or taxiway directly from their hangar. Airports with residential airparks, such as Bermuda Dunes, are typically privately owned with public access.
Since the first home and hangar were constructed in the Bermuda Dunes Airpark more than 40 years ago, the Bermuda Dunes Airport expressly encouraged and authorized the airpark residents, including the Plaintiffs in this lawsuit, to use and access the Bermuda Dunes Airport from their properties. For many years, Bermuda Dunes Airport also provided the airpark residents with the security code to access a separate entry gate to the airport property. The Bermuda Dunes Airport has also at various times over the last several decades confirmed in writing the plaintiffs’ rights to use and access the airport property from their airpark residences.
Plaintiffs Peter Bedford, Rodger LaRue, Hassan Al Kabbani, Robert Wilson, and DOBO Investments, LLC claim that representatives of Crown Aero, LLC, (Crown Aero) the entity that operates the airport, have harassed, intimidated, and threatened them and have engaged in an aggressive effort to obstruct and deny their use and access to the airport and interfered with their use and enjoyment of their properties. CPF BDA, LLC is the owner of the airport after purchasing it in July 2021.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs contend that during the last several months Crown Aero has threatened them with arrest if they access the airport property as they have been doing for several decades, even for simply opening their hangar doors. The plaintiffs also state in the lawsuit that Crown Aero has denied their requests for access to remove vehicles from their hangars and recently advised that they would be erecting a fence along the property line, which would completely block their access to the airport property. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for damages plus declaratory and injunctive relief so they can again enjoy the properties they have owned and utilized lawfully based on still-standing agreements that have been in place for decades.
“In reliance on the Bermuda Dunes Airport’s express promises and representations and the parties’ course of dealing over several decades based on written agreements, the airpark residents have collectively invested millions of dollars into their real and personal property to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the airpark,” said Shaun Murphy, Partner at SBEMP Attorneys of Palm Springs who is representing the plaintiffs. “My clients have filed this lawsuit to preserve their right to the use and enjoyment of their properties, their right to access the airport, and to end Crown Aero’s obstruction of the use of their access easement.”
Murphy added that his clients think the motivation for Crown Aero to breach the long-standing airpark agreements is the company’s desire to shut them down so they can redevelop this land with their own hangars that they can sell or lease to other private jet owners and operators.