For those that would like to have input on what reuse plan takes place at the Navy Base

An Email from Rich Dougherty (former township council member, local business owner and still policically inclined) as well as a response from me……….


For those that would like to have input on what reuse plan takes place at the Navy Base, it is VERY important to show up and participate at the next few HLRA (Horsham Land Reuse Authority) meetings. The next meeting is Wed, April 20th at the Community center behind the township building. There will only be a few meetings that will determine the eventual outcome so we need to make sure we participate.

For those that are not familiar with what is happening, there are two formidable groups (Montgomery County and Buck County Airport Authority) that have submitted official requests (NOI’s) to continue using the airport which creates a real threat to Horsham. Horsham Township govt. is doing everything in their power to prevent this but community input is extremely important to the redevelopment process. To help prevent an airport from happening in our township, we need as many people to come out and tell the HLRA at least what we do not want at the Base.

Please forward to anyone who you feel should be made aware of what is taking place. We need help spreading the word.

Best Regards,

Richard Dougherty



Many Companies • One Solution

101 Witmer Road, Suite 700

Horsham, PA 19044

Phone: 1-800-521-0754, ext. 113

Fax: 215-442-9202

“Partnering With You For The Advancement of Science”

************************* And I say********************
Rich, I understand your concern with a general purpose commercial airport. What about the possibility of having an airport that housed some kind of a hi tech industry or an industry that possibly would refit a large aircraft for military duty, or science. It could be a service facility for aircraft or another aviation industry that does not have multiple daily flight operations (take off and landing). The aircraft would be brought in and possibly be there for a week or even months while it is being repaired or refit for a new purpose. The engineers, technicians and other personnel that are employed would pay taxes in the area, along with the support industries, which would further expand employment and the tax base. These are some aspects for consideration.

It would be a shame if the runway were to be destroyed since an infrastructure like that can’t be duplicated in the area again. The possibility of an air strip being there to invite industries that will create jobs and tax revenues can not be ignored. Mixed uses at the facility might just be the answer. Many of the residents are up in arms about the loss of $750,000 in tax revenue. I’m sure that you have heard that the American Le Mans Series (IMSA) has approached the powers that be to pay over a million dollars to use the facility once a year for two weeks. This one event alone solves the tax issues without even considering the dollars to be injected to the local economy from the people that would come to such an event. Sebring, Florida and Long Beach, California have the same racing events every year. Thos two towns are certainly not low rent districts, as well as co existing with aviation related industries. There are aviation related industries associated with those air strips (also abandoned military installations) that utilize the runway with limited flight operations.

The notion that an airstrip, just being there, means that it has to be used for any and every purpose for aircraft is nothing more that a slanting of the truth. If a runway can be legislated out of existence then it can certainly be kept to a standard that is acceptable to the community and used as an asset to the community.

What is the threat of having a runway that is not a commercial aviation airport?

Posted in Concerns | 32 Comments

Who Wants The Land

16 applications were filed for free or reduced land at the closing Willow Grove Naval Air Station.

Who wants land
List of applicants who submitted requests for land at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station as a “public benefit conveyance,” which could be acquired for free or at a greatly reduced price:
  • Montgomery County
  • Bucks County Airport Authority
  • Horsham (three separate applications)
  • Horsham Water and Sewer Authority
  • Bucks County Housing Group
  • Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue
  • ACTS Retirement-Life Communities
  • ESI Equipment
  • Learn and Play Inc.
  • Hatboro-Horsham School District
  • Philadelphia Stand Down
  • ATG Learning Academy
  • The YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity
  • Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association
Posted in Concerns | 7 Comments

Excerpts From The Intelligencer Post March 23rd

Groups seek air base land

By Rich Pietras, staff writer Calkins Media, Inc. Read The Full Article

Groups seek air base land 16 applications were filed for free or reduced land at the closing Willow Grove Naval Air Station.

Among them were the Bucks County Airport Authority, which wants 681 of the available 892 acres, and Montgomery County, which requested up to 540 acres in a separate, but similar, application.

Both plans propose to keep the 8,000-foot runway – the largest in the region outside Philadelphia International Airport – open for a general use, private airfield and corporate center.

Neither plan suggested turning the airfield into a commercial or cargo airfield with scheduled flights.

But should either proposal be approved, it will leave only a couple of hundred acres left for the township and its reuse authority to develop into taxpaying properties.

The larger and much more comprehensive proposal for the runway came from the Bucks County Airport Authority.

Its plan for a “Pitkarin Aviation Center” would come in two phases, according to its submission.

The first would involve immediately making 536 acres in and around the runway ready for flights.

The rest of the plan showed the remaining acreage nearby being used for a corporate business complex.

The Montgomery County commissioners had already tipped their hat last week when they unanimously voted to apply to acquire the runway.

At that time, commissioners said that the county had no intention of operating or managing an airport, but supported the idea of a general aviation airfield that would foster regional and economic development.

On Tuesday, that plan became a bit clearer, suggesting a deed transfer to the county with arrangements with Horsham regarding ownership and leasing rights to be subject to future negotiations.

The county’s submission said it could work with the Montgomery County Transit Authority on a plan, revive the now-defunct Montgomery County Airport Authority or create a new authority, such as a “Montgomery County Development Authority to be created pursuant to the state’s economic eminent domain law.”

Reporters were allowed to briefly browse the 16 packets known as “notices of interests” and specifics of each plan were not totally available Tuesday.

Horsham Land Reuse Authority Executive Director Mike McGee and Deputy Director Tom Ames said they had yet to start reviewing the plans.

One of the first steps will be to determine which fall under federal guidelines for “public benefit conveyances,” which include uses like educational facilities, correctional facilities, homeless support, parks, health centers and airports.

The Hatboro-Horsham School District’s proposal for 60 acres was approved by the school board Monday night.

According to the district’s submission, the district wants 34 acres for educational facilities, 6 acres for administration and 20 acres for athletic fields.

Superintendent Curtis Griffin said the submission is part of feasibility study that partly recommended constructing a new Keith Valley Middle School. Griffin said any plans are “very far off in the future” and that the application at least provides the district a chance at acquiring property…… Read The Full Article Here

Posted in In The News | 1 Comment

March 16 meeting

McGee: going through the points of suitability to the lease. Original request included the existing museum, the adjacent houses and part of an existing building for the restoration area. There may be lead and asbestos issues with both the houses and the LRA does not want the liability. The houses have been removed from the request. The restoration area is not contiguous to the museum. There were also issues with utilities to the restorations area discussed; there will be no electricity or fuel for the heating of the building. HVAA will use generators and bring in their own fuel; the Navy will not allow storage of petroleum products on the base after they close.
Presently McGee says there is a punch list of items to be gone through but there is no lease at this time.
There was a drawing presented showing the original request and the revised request by the HVAA presented.
Flying club at Willow Grove, the fuel tank they use is also going to be removed from the site.
Mike also brought up the issue if ANY of the buildings on the base presently meet Horsham Township building codes since the military is not required to meet any codes.
There was also a drawing presented that located the area of the base which the Air Force is going to retain, located on the north west end / side of the runway. The drawing was presented with north facing down rather than up. The Air Force also wanted access to the main gate; the Navy is only going to grant an easement. The gate area has been declared surplus.
The county commissioners recently requested through a PBA for a county park of 18 to 50 acres around the existing Army Reserve center in order to have a place to house the HVAA museum,
The FAA has requested a building restriction easement of 1500 feet around the existing radar antenna the other related structures on approximately 3.1 acres near Horsham and Norristown Roads. The details of the easement are not clear at this time. Mike McGee seems to feel that they are height restrictions.
The County Commissioners have made a request of 400 to 500 acres that will also be considered a park for some type of use as an airport.
Gentlemen by the name of Fred Hagan submitted a drawing on behalf of the DVHAA relocated the museum and restoration area within the base, similar to discussed above.
McGee moved the meeting onto discussing items related to the Bucks County Housing Group. Reimbursement of $5000 or $15,000 was discussed relating to planning consultants. The consultant BBP is involved. Some existing military housing in Ivyland is going to be demolished and the new headquarters for the BCHG is to be constructed there.
The list of checks was approved but what the checks were for was not discussed.

Agendas for upcoming meeting was presented by McGee
April 20 – Evening meeting – Report their findings
The meeting will be broken into groups, possibly four so RKG may interact with smaller groups

May 18 – Daytime meeting
June 10 and 11 RKG is again going to meet with interested parties in the community to discuss possible uses based on their findings from the April 20 meeting
4th Wednesday of July (27 July) another evening meeting
August 27 – No Agenda discussed
September meeting to discuss viability
October 3 – Evening meeting
November 16 – Evening meeting
HUD and the Navy will review and respond to the redevelopment plan, their response is to be expected in 60 days to six months.
Heated discussion about the time table
There was discussion about any published data the FAA might have on the base and flight.
Sometime mid 2012, probably not until 2014 the government will issue an environmental impact statement. More than likely it will be 2015 before any real work is completed at the base.
The question was brought up if anyone other than the county has requested an aviation study?
McGee stressed that an entity must make the request for an airport to the FAA and from what Mike says no one has made such a request. THERE MUST BE AN APPLICANT FOR AN AIRPORT LICENSE! – Various discussion about the type of airport, some heated.
The question was brought up; WHY WAS THERE NOT AN AVIATION SUB COMMITTEE FORMED? Some residents were interested in having such a committee.

Meeting ended just before 5pm.

Posted in General | 1 Comment

County Commissioners And The Runway

Front Page of Todays Intelligencer; Hoffel and Matthews want to comission a study into preserving the runway for possible future use. has the full story from todays paper

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Traffic Considerations

Can existing properties be relocated to “base propety” should the need arise to disrupt properties for road improvements?

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Expansion of the Park Creek Sewage Treatment Plant

The expansion of the Park Creek Sewage Treatment Plant has been underway for some time.

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Storm Water Management

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Air Museum

We need to hear from people involved with the Museum

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Alternate Uses

One use I’d like to see on a personal note. One idea that has been brought up is using the runway, once it’s closed, for Land Speed Racing, five times a year in North Carolina and twice a year in Maine “abandoned” runways much like Willow Grove are used to land speed racing. The events are short, Friday to Sunday afternoon and are only run during the daylight hours. There are sections of Johnsville that are used for Auto Cross already. The LSR events do not draw huge crowds but they do bring people from out of the area for safe and controlled racing. I do have a personal interest in this interim use and from what I understand removing the runway at this point in time is cost prohibitive.

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