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The Threat of Airport Expansion is Real

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.


  • Recent Statements.  In a recent course case, Solberg Aviation principals expressed a desire to increase jet traffic at the airport; their lawyer has stated that the Solbergs want to expand their airport to a size that would accommodate most business jets.   Read our page Recent Statements Confirm Threat Of Expansion Is Real
  • Aviation Interests Are Lobbying NJDOT.  Jack McNamera, Chairman of the New Jersey Aviation Association (NJAA), wrote the NJ Department of Transportation lobbying for an even larger airport than the Solbergs' have previously suggested. (Suzy Solberg Nagle, one of the Solberg Aviation partners, is on the board of NJAA.)  Read our page Aviation Lobby Wants A Bigger Airport.
  • Confirmed Demand.  The recent acquisition of Allaire Airport in Monmouth County and its rapid transformation into Monmouth Jet Center shows how quickly and drastically things can change, and confirms the market demand for a corporate jetport an hour from Manhattan.  Read our page Faster Than You Think.
  • Partition of Solberg Partnership Assets.  One of the partners in Solberg Aviation sued the other partners, resulting in a statement by the judge that the partnership's assets will be 'partitioned'. This raises the possibility that one or more partners may sell their assets to outside airport developers who could bring in funding and accelerate airport development. Airport developers have taken a keen interest in Solberg Airport.  Read our page Why Outside Developers May Enter The Picture.
  • Township Committee Candidates.  Two Township Committee members, John Broten and Sam Tropello,  have close ties to the Solbergs and other aviation supporters.  They have stated that they are against continuing the current litigation that is blocking expansion.