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Braden Airpark Up for Sale?

If Braden Airpark is sold, Forks Township officials have say in how the 80 acres will be developed.

Forks Township will have a say in Braden Airpark's future.

Township officials stated that despite the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority exploring selling its properties, including the Sullivan Trail airport, any development must be approved by Forks Township.

At a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, Chairman Erik Chuss stated that while Forks will have no say in a sale of Braden Airpark, officials can control the usage of the land.

"Any proposal will be reviewed by the zoning and planning boards and then the supervisors," Chuss said. "All things will be considered in terms of uses for the land. And we can voice our opinions."

Supervisor David Billings hoped the airport authority would come before the supervisors and public to discuss their plans.

"They should let us have input," he said. "They owe our community some airtime."

The property is currently zoned for recreation, education and municipal purposes.

Former Supervisor C. David Howell said township officials need to be mindful about what might replace the airport.

"It could be the biggest issue in the township," Howell said. "It would change the landscape of Sullivan Trail."

Howell said that Forks, in preparing for its future, should approve development at Braden Airpark that would include a healthy dose of commercial, retail and residential.

"We could use some new retail businesses and restaurants," he said. "With our demographics, Forks is a hair away from having a Starbucks."

The authority is considering selling its 800 acres of property to pay off a massive debt. Braden Airpark consists of 80 acres.

Rob Leiser September 27, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Don’t untie your Airplanes yet. Number one is this may not be the most saleable Property the Airport Authority owns, and second it is in Forks Township. There is no group that has shot so many gift Horses as the Forks Township Board of Supervisors. I appears they are going to oppose and revenue generating use on this property. It would be nice for the Property to remain an Airport however the “Not in my Backyard” transplants to Forks Township, and Lafayette College have targeted the Airport for removal for years. In the past the Citizens against Everything have spread wild stories of Planes crashing into Houses, Corporate Jets, and Air Freight Terminals. With it’s proximity to the Stockertown, Bushkill Drive, and the new 33 interchange this would be a perfect place for Industrial Development however the Property would need to be rezoned and the Current anti Business sentiment of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors would never allow it. Tax Exempt High Rise Student Housing would just drain Forks Township of additional taxpayer funded resources.
Rob Leiser September 27, 2012 at 01:17 PM
any
Ellen McNeel September 27, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Don't sell Braden Airport! Fork's Township is overlooking an important assest in their backyard. My youngest son has been taking flying lessons for over a year at the airport. I would have never considered such a hobby for him but after he came home from Boy Scout camp for an aviation badge he had to pursue this interest further. Moyer aviation hosts youth flying weekends each month and several week long camps are offered over the summer, which are an incredible oppurtunity to the youth of this area. Why are we (Lehigh Valley residents) so quick to close a business that has operated sucessfully in this area for so many years? I would rather is young men and women in this area have the oppurtunity to try and possibly pursue the dream of flying. And I don't need a cup of Starbuck's in my hand to watch these dreams being fulfilled.
COMMUNITY FIRST September 27, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Forks Township property exempt from real estate taxes approaches ten percent of all township land. Think about it and what this costs the township in lost annual revenue to meet the cost of essential services to residents. Braden Airport’s 80 acres is situated in a prime location, bordered by a 23- acre township park and Lafayette’s Metzgar Fields along Sullivan Trail. This is the largest tax-free parcel in the township, Uhler to Newlins Rd. and Sullivan Trail to Bushkill Dr. Add in tax free lands of several churches and cemeteries, two US Army installations, Forks Elementary School, Shawnee Middle School, largest in PA. Top this off with township municipal complex and Community Park, Gollub Park, Glover Road acreage at the fire tower and storage barn, Frost Hollow public works land and police pistol range, assorted detention and retention ponds through out the township and finally the future park and public works garage at Richmond and Newlins. That’s a great deal of land. The commercial and residential development of the Braden Airport land is extremely important both from a revenue and quality of life stand point. The property is at the northern gateway of the township and deserves the Panning Commission and Board of Supervisors immediate attention. Public discussion is required and thoughtful planning is essential. Community First views this as one of the most important issues for 2012 / 2013. Lilly Gioia C. David Howell Community First Editors

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