The New Jersey Legislature is considering two bills that seriously impact the state's ability to retain an adequate airport system. These bills prohibit expansion or extension of airport runways in New Jersey under certain conditions. These include when an educational facility is located within 3,000 feet of the airport or of the proposed expansion or extension, a residential dwelling unit located within 1,000 feet of the proposed expansion or extension, 7,000 or more residential dwelling units located within two miles of the airport or of the proposed expansion or extension, and when 15,000 or more persons reside within two miles of the airport or the proposed expansion or extension. AOPA strongly opposes these two bills. The state already has land use protection legislation on the books but fails to adequately enforce existing laws.
AOPA believes the bills' stated intent to "enhance public safety, reduce excessive noise from additional aircraft operations, and provide for a proper separation between the non-residential uses of airport property and the residential uses which may occur in property adjacent to the airport to ensure that homes and other residential uses are not located at or near the end of runways." AOPA believes the bills will not only fail to accomplish any of these goals, but in some circumstances, they may actually worsen existing safety, noise, and compatible land use issues.
These bills inappropriately discriminate against airports that should themselves be protected and promoted, fail to provide an effective solution to resolve noise and safety conflicts between the airport and its neighboring community, and are contrary to sound state and federal airport planning and funding practices. In addition, without a meaningful noise compatibility study done in accordance with federal guidelines, the conflicts will continue to prevail and may actually get worse through the unreasonable, short-sighted airport limitations proposed in these bills.
Members are urged to oppose these two bills and contact the chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, the chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation, and their local assembly and senate representatives. Letters and faxes are most effective, but e-mail and phone contacts are useful too. First, please be sure that the first line of your letter clearly states that the letter is submitted in opposition to Assembly Bill 2809 and Senate Bill 1682. The bill numbers must be included. It is especially important to describe how the unreasonable limitation on the growth and welfare of New Jersey's airports will affect you directly.
December 15, 2000