Forks Township wants discussion and input on any decision regarding Braden Airpark.
With the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority pondering selling the airport and its other properties to pay off debt, Forks Township wants to protect itself from lawsuits by discussing any potential development plans that might go against the property's zoning.
The Forks Township Board of Supervisors voted Thursday night for its solicitor to draft an ordinance asking that before a hired consultant makes a recommendation to the airport authority, the authority come before the board for a consultation.
The board will vote to adopt the ordinance at its meeting next month.
Supervisors Chairman Erik Chuss said he's concerned that a developer might submit a plan that would go against the zoning. The airport is zoned for recreation, education and municipal purposes.
If the 80-acre airport is sold, any development must be approved by Forks supervisors. But that could always be challenged in court.
"A worst-case scenario would be a protracted lawsuit," Chuss said.
"We need to be careful how we word this," Supervisor David Billings said. "So we don't regret it later."
Solicitor Karl Kline said he believes the consultant would determine the best use for the property. And he said the possibility of that recommendation meeting township zoning is "very unlikely."
"They're gonna ask for a change in zoning," Kline stated.
"They have to come before us," Billings said.
The airport authority has 120 days to conduct a study and then a year to go over the properties, determine their value and decide to sell them.