Horsham Plans to Eliminate Airport Crash Zone

The Horsham Township Council introduced an ordinance to eliminate the Airport Crash and Noise Overlay District which officials said pertains specifically to planes flying to and from the former Willow Grove air base.

Calling it a logical step following the closure of , the Horsham Township Council in the area immediately surrounding the former base’s shuttered runway.

The governing body voted 3-0 Wednesday to introduce an ordinance to eliminate the so-called ACNOD, or Airport Crash and Noise Overlay District and to remove development restrictions currently in place. Council members Andrew Santacroce and William Whiteside, who chairs the Horsham Land Reuse Authority and the , were absent.

The governing body had , prior to the Horsham Land Reuse Authority’s on the bulk of 862 acres eyed for redevelopment.

Township Manager Bill Walker said the governing body held off on adopting the ordinance last spring on the advice of the Montgomery County Planning Commission.

Now, with an airport out of the equation, the in the – and a final approval anticipated by month’s end – Walker said the district is “not needed anymore.”

Council President Mark McCouch said previously that the council had enacted the ACNOD in 1998 as a way to protect “and not shut down” the air base. The ordinance resulted from a Navy study, which outlined potentially dangerous areas, particularly in the event of an aircraft crash.

The Navy specified a safety zone, McCouch said, “we came in with the ACNOD and made it a bigger circle.”

Keith Valley Road goes through the existing ACNOD, which abuts parts of County Line Road, as well as , , , Valley View Estates and Lakeside Youth Service. Park Ridge Industrial Park is located within the ACNOD.

The current ordinance designates three different zones – an “accident potential zone,” a “clear zone,” and a “high noise exposure zone” – and restricts development based on the severity of danger. For the most part, zoning allows for agricultural uses, parks and light industrial or warehouse uses. Banks, restaurants, hotels, churches and daycare centers are not permitted uses in any of the three zones, according to the ordinance.  

If the ACNOD is eliminated, Walker told Patch previously that property owners within that district could have greater development possibilities.

“It lifts that zoning off those properties,” Walker said, adding that much of the land is deed-restricted and development could be limited anyway. “They don’t have all those restrictions.”

A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 12 at 7:45 p.m. at the . 

mac August 11, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Well recreation and the environment can go hand in hand and still make money. Solar grids to keep the cost of electricity in this are could be put up on some of the land. How about open space for paint ball? How much do people pay everyday to play at skirmish. The area is already a military type zone so make it fun. It will still bring in revenue. What about a drag strip safely run. The runway can be repurposed. And I would love to see the young adults and older ones to have a safe place to speed around and not on the local streets like they do now. Let the tech school run it and make some revenue and expand the courses now taught. A community pool would be nice and make it affordable and clean. This would also bring revenue and there could be a small food place there or two. By the way the tech school could run them also as a means of teaching and revenue. I agree no new malls and no need for major housing. With 20 - 30% of vacant properties we do not need any more ghost towns.
Steve Czerviski August 13, 2012 at 08:59 PM
This is just the beginning. Now that the township has control, or when they get control, wait and see what all you people who " didn't want an airport " will be getting. The township held those town meetings so everyone thought their thoughts and ideas would be heard .... yeah right. Horsham Twp. will do want they want, not what the people want, or at least the people who have no pull or say in what will go on their. I fear this is the beginning of the end of Horsham as we knew it. I hope all the " NO AIRPORT " people will be happy.
vince August 14, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I think a bank or two and maybe even a drug store would be a great use of what little open space that is left in Horsham.
Bob August 21, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Raise the property tax on all that land, now it can be used.
Matt November 07, 2012 at 12:32 AM
The radar is not manned at the base, however the radar is linked to the FAA's radar monitoring center at Philadelphia International


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