These are some frequently asked questions about the airport and the eminent domain fight, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact us...
What is it you want in the way of improvements?
Ideally, a longer runway is always safer for all types of aircraft. The Solberg family has tried on many occasions to negotiate a safer facility without any damage to the local area. The airport has offered to place deed restrictions in perpetuity to the property including a ban on certain noisy aircraft, a night-time curfew, noise abatement procedures, and even an agreement as to the total amount of operations annually that the airport would support. For more information, please contact us.
When was the airport founded?
In 1941, aviation pioneer Thor Solberg Sr. was given permission to open and operate a commercial airport by the Readington Township Committee. It has been serving the needs of central New Jersey aviators continuously since then. It is currently operated by Thor Solberg Sr.'s children and grandchildren.
How much of the property is being taken?
625 acres of the 725 acre property with extremely detrimental deed restrictions placed on the remaining 100 acres. It is nothing short of the government telling a private business how it should be run.
Will the airport still host events such as the Easter Bunny Fly-in or the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning?
Unfortunately, the airport will no longer be able to host such events because there simply won't be enough land.
How can the governement do this?
Unfortunately, the government can take any property they would like to have for a valid public purpose. This includes yours! That is why it is important to fight eminent domain abuse. In this case, it is clear that although open space is a valid public purpose, that is not the true reason for the taking. The Readington Township Government is taking this property to prevent the airport from ever making any changes, and that is illegal.
When will this go to court?
Unfortunately, it has gone to court once and the Readington Township Government was granted a summary judgement in their favor. The oral arguments for the appeal were heard on April 27, 2009. In August of 2009, the Appellate Division ruled in favor of Solberg Airport. They ordered a trial to occur in Superior Court. This trial was held in front of Hon. Judge Armstrong in 2014-15. In May 2015, Judge Armstrong ruled in favor of Solberg Airport saying that Readington Township acted in bad faith and that the Solberg Property should remain in the hands of the Solbergs.
Why don't you just take the money and run?
Solberg Airport is a small family business that is operated because of a love of aviation and a desire to carry on the legacy of Thor Solberg Sr. This is the land that he acquired to operate an airport and that is how it should remain. Case closed.
Can the airport stay in business if the land is lost?
Unfortunately, without necessary improvements to safety and facilities, it is most likely not possible for the airport to continue operations. It will be a sad day for the Solberg family and a sad day for aviation as a whole when the doors have to close.
How much has this cost the taxpayers of Readington?
Over the past 30 plus years, the Readington Township Government has hired countless law firms and public relations firms with taxpayer money to thwart any and all attempts the airport has made to make improvements and modernize. In addition, the government has initially offered $22 million of their taxpayer's money to acquire the property and millions of dollars in legal fees as the trials go on and on. They justify these expenditures by creating a fear, based on very little evidence, that real estate values will go down once the airport has a longer runway and more modern facilities. With the downturn in real estate values over the last couple of years and the millions upon millions of dollars the tax payer has shelled out over the past 20 years, the Readington Township home owner would have certainly faired better with the modern airport. Values of homes near Morristown and Westchester County airports are exponentially higher than they are in Readington.