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Environmental Study of Air Base to Begin

The environmental impact study is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.

Still waiting.

That sentiment aptly sums up where things stand with various matters surrounding the redevelopment of the shuttered .

The Navy has hired a consultant to carry out the 12- to 18-month-long process of providing an environmental impact statement of the property, Horsham Land Reuse Authority Executive Director Mike McGee informed the board during last week’s meeting. 

“We’re hoping that they do actually get their work done in 12-18 months,” McGee said, adding that the consultant is expected to come on board the second week in July. 

Yet, even with what could potentially be a year and a half process about to begin, McGee referred to it as a “short fuse for us.”

“We need to have an entity in place to accept that property,” he said. “The movement on the part of the township council is timely here.”

Members of the new entity – an that would replace the HLRA – are expected to be appointed during tonight’s Horsham Township Council meeting. In essence, the new authority would pick up where the HLRA left off and would see that the for the 25-year development moves to fruition.

The federal government has not yet weighed in on the redevelopment plan, or the separate application for - disabled veterans in particular. Both were submitted in April. McGee said he expects to hear back from the Department of Housing and Urban Development by month’s end.

In tandem with the creation of an implementation authority, HLRA staff are working on a grant application, which, if approved by the federal government, would allow the new authority to hire a consultant to provide guidance on a “significant amount of work” related to a transportation impact study, as well as stormwater, public water and sewer and a pro forma business plan and how it would progress. The consultant would offer guidance to the new authority as it seeks to serve as the .

That, like the other aspects of the site’s redevelopment, could take some time, as the federal government would need to review the application and determine if funding should be provided.

After the waiting is over and when, in several years, it's time to begin redeveloping the air base property, McGee said officials would know how much of the total 1,100-acre parcel is up for grabs. A recently completed survey indicates that 861.13 acres are designated as “surplus.” Originally, officials had said 862 acres were available, then, more recently, referenced the developable land as 892 acres. McGee told Patch that the accounts for 862 acres.

The available land includes “a lot of right of ways,” McGee said.

One of the few remaining remnants of the base’s history as an airfield is the 93-foot FAA tower. Originally, the FAA had requested a 1,500-foot easement, McGee said. The FAA has since withdrawn that request.

In its place, McGee said the FAA has asked that new owners of property within 1,500 feet of the tower document the fact that they are not above the sea level of the tower and would not project radio frequencies that would interfere with the FAA’s radar.

“The net impact of the federal law is insignificant,” McGee said. “No building can be higher than 93 feet. Zoning in Horsham doesn’t allow for that to take place anyway.”

Despite the need to wait for various reviews and, ultimately, federal government approval, McGee said progress is being made.

“We’re on course,” he said. “Four years behind, but we’re moving forward.”

More Money June 28, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Dear Bob, Unfortunately Municipal taxes are supposed to be based upon Municipal need. However why does the Municipal need go up when I add a deck or addition to my house? They re-asses and get more money. I guess they need to add a cop or fireman whenever you improve your house. All this talk about money and none about the health. Well then again some rich local families in the past would actually inbreed to keep the money in the family. Money was and apparently still is more important to some.
LEM June 28, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Carbet baggers ? Please, did Horsham pay for the airport NOOOO, the US taxpayer did and that includes the Philadelphia area residents. You moved next to an active airbase your value of propertiy was based on location location location. Now that it is not an airport did your value go up 25%, NOOOO, why not ???? Location Location Location. You talk about losing 800K from the US Taxpayer, its gone, kiss it good by, do you own business and make payroll each week, do the math, you need jobs not funded by uncle sam, the well has run dry. An airport could have been up and running and you got on a soab box and yelled FIRE, CRASH, HOME VALUE. Frankly our highway system in the area kills over 200 people a Year, yes a year, lets shut down all the roads. Airports have nothing to do with Home Value, if so Horsham would be a getto next to a nosiy Navy base with afterburner jets.
FED UP June 28, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Lem, I dont need the money, but I need clean air and enjoy not getting my house buzzed by planes. When I initially moved to Horsham from out of state, they didnt mention the Airport on the home brochure and the house wasnt getting buzzed by planes that day. Though I guess I didnt do enough homework at the time, but when you get transferred you dont always have the time. Anyway I prefer health and quiet over money. If you enjoy airports that much, I am sure you can find a house near one.
Mike Shortall Sr June 28, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Look at it this way, LEM ... No one was able to make a compelling argument for turning it into an airport. (BTW ... There's a huge difference between what the JRB was and what an airport would be like to live next to.) All there was pleading by the pilots to keep it open - so they could enjoy it - with a vague promise of economic impact that most likely wouldn't be realized without turning it into a broad service commercial airport. No one else wanted the responsibility for making the decisions, so Horsham was the only government to ask for and get the authority to make the decisions. As a result we did what we thought best for Horsham. We'll live with the results one way or the other.
Bob June 28, 2012 at 02:05 PM
where was the oil or petroleum spill along Keith Valley Road that necessitated floating petroleum pigs in the ditch near the airbase fence last year?

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