In 2011, Suzanne Solberg Nagle sued her Solberg Aviation partners Thor Solberg, Jr. and Lorraine Solberg. After hearing testimony, on May 5th, 2014 the judge stated in the Judge's Decision "It's apparent that, in accordance with Thor's [Solberg's] testimony...it's apparent that he's trying to generate jet traffic at the airport..." "I do find that, um, as indicated by Mr. Thor Solberg, that this whole scenario is regarding a legacy, a dream of their father... to establish a transit hub, an aiport trucking institution" Judge's Decision, Suzanne Solberg Nagle, Plaintiff, vs. Thor Solberg, Jr. et al, Defendants, transcript page 4 and page 13.
Solbergs Sue to Force Readington to Rezone the Entire 725 Acre Property for AIrport Use
Currently, the airport itself occupies about 54 acres of land; for years, the remainder of the approximately 725 acres of Solberg property has been taxed as farmland. Readington's preservation plan sets aside 102 acres for airport use. When Readington complied with State law and in 2006 zoned the 102 acres for airport use, the Solbergs filed suit against the town demanding that the entire 725 acres be zoned for airport use. That suit is on hold pending resolution of the litigation over the town's attempts to preserve the airport.
Aviation Publications Outline Solberg Expansion Plans
In a recent article in General Aviation News, Solberg attorney Larry Orloff was quoted: “The Solbergs want Readington Township to back off and let them keep their property,” said Orloff. “They want to be able to expand and modernize the airport in a modest way. They want the township to stop with the pretext of taking this property to keep it as open space.” The article proceeds to describe the Solbergs' expansion plans made public in the 1996 Airport Master Plan: "The Solberg Master Plan calls for the lengthening of the paved runway to 5,000 feet, and extending the turf runway to 3,700 feet. There are also plans to add 500,000 feet of hangar and office space. The master plan received conditional approval from the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the FAA, but was blocked by the Readington Township Committee." General Aviation News, "KN51 In The Middle Of A Tug-Of-War", June 29th, 2014. (Mr. Orloff doesn't quite have his facts straight: the Master Plan calls for a 5,600 foot runway and calls for paving and extending the crosswind runway to 3,700 feet. See the Airport Master Plan page in How Big Can it Get? ).
Is a Airport Big Enough For Most Corporate Jets A "Modest Expansion"?
What Mr. Orloff describes as 'modest' expansion is not modest in its impact on Readington. The Solbergs expansion goals are sufficient for a major corporate jetport similar to Teeterboro or Morrisown. Extending the runway from the current 3750 to 5600 feet would give the airport the capability to handle most types of business jets. A 5600 foot runway requires a mandatory 300 ft paved overrun at both ends, making the actual length of the runway 5600 feet - over a mile. Furthermore, rezoning the entire property for airport use would allow acres of hangars, warehouses, and paved surfaces. See our page How Big Can It Get? for a comparison of Solberg Airport with other airports. In that section, also visit the What Size Airplanes Can Land? page.
The article implies that the Township is 'taking' the airport'. However, the Township's is actually seeking to preserve as open space only the fields around the airport, and to purchase deed restrictions on the airport itself. The Solbergs will be left with a fully operational, 102-acre general aviation airport.
Aviation Community's View Of Solberg Includes Expansion
A recent edition of The Aviator, the New Jersey Aviation Association's publication, provides the aviation community's view of the role of Solberg Airport and the need to expand: "Federal and state governments not only work to ensure adequate, safe capacity for today's aviation operations, they plan for facilities at locations where aviation should necessarily expand to meet future economic and mobility needs. Solberg-Hunterdon Airport, in Readington Township, is a licensed, prominent component in those plans...identified as a reliever airport, indicating that its location, capacity, services, and expandability are necessary to accommodate traffic demand business and personal aircraft now and in the future."The Aviator, Spring 2014 Vol B, Issue 1, "The Saga of Solberg: A Prime Example of the Existential Threat to General Aviation Airports.
Note that Teterboro Airport, like Solberg, is identified as a 'reliever airport'. Teterboro has had an enormous negative impact on residents of that town. See the article about Teterboro on our page Noise.