AOPA is expressing its concerns to New Jersey officials about a sports and entertainment complex, which would include a NASCAR racetrack, that is being planned for a site adjacent to the Millville Municipal Airport. The proposed Thunderbolt racetrack complex would be built using some of the airport's property, placing grandstands, a clubhouse, RV parking, and hotels under the approach paths and traffic patterns of two of the airport's runways. Other buildings and lighting structures could pose a hazard to air navigation.
The issue came to a head this week when a New Jersey State Senate Committee approved a bill that would allow Millville to create a special taxing district to finance such projects. AOPA staff members were on hand at the hearing to represent pilots' interests and make clear the association's concerns about the entertainment complex's impact on the airport.
AOPA pointed out that the airport was transferred to Millville by the federal government, which places restrictions on how the airport property can be used.
Also, AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn has contacted the FAA as well as the town of Millville and the Delaware River Bay Authority, the airport sponsor and operator, to express these same concerns.
"While we don't object to the concept of the raceway project, we are alarmed at the potential harm to the airport and will object to the release of airport property until these issues are resolved," said Dunn. "In the meantime, we stand ready to work with all the interested parties to ensure that the complex will be compatible with the airport's needs."
November 30, 2006