Many residents have moved into town since the last controversy over Solberg airport expansion and may be unaware of the Solbergs' previous efforts to expand -- and the potential consequences to the town. Long-time residents may believe that the matter was 'settled' when the 2006 bond referendum was approved. In fact, while the referendum provided the funding, the preservation of the airport is not finalized and it is only the current litigation between the township and Solberg Aviation that is holding back expansion. Multiple factors are now converging that make expansion a very real threat.
A Brief History
Following development of a Solberg Airport Master Plan - a blueprint for jetport expansion - in the late 1990's, the township moved to acquire the airport in 2001. Before that action could take place, the Solberg's signed a contract to sell the airport to NJDOT. After failing to negotiate a final agreement with the Solbergs, NJDOT abandoned efforts to acquire the airport in 2005. In 2006 Readington residents approved by 55% to 45% a $22M bond issue to purchase and permanently preserve the open space around the airport and deed restrict the size of the airport itself - the airport and its businesses would be left to the Solbergs to continue to operate. After attempting to negotiate the purchase, the Township began legal proceedings, and until recently, most residents haven't heard much about airport expansion. The issue is currently in trial in Superior Court in Somerville. For more details see our page A History of Attempted Expansion.
Recent Developments Threaten Expansion
We feel that recent developments point to an end to this period of relative quiet and that airport expansion could resume quickly.