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Hearings begin on zoning variance request for airport

Published May 06. 2011 05:00PM

Hearings resumed before the Schuylkill County Zoning Hearing Board Thursday evening at the courthouse in Pottsville on the application of a Pittsburgh firm seeking to construct a cargo airport and business park in an area partially in East Union Township.

The township supervisors continued to raise objections to the county zoning board holding the hearings as they believe it should be before the township's hearing board. The county board ruled it had jurisdiction.

William Schumacher Jr., of Hazleton, a professional engineer, testified as to the site of the proposed project which will be located in the eastern part of East Union Township. The runway of the airport will run east to west and the closes village in the township, Sheppton, would be two miles from the end of the runway.

The airport's location was estimated to be 1,700 feet above sea level and would be constructed in an area zoned conservation residential and mining districts. It would be built in an area listed as "blythed' although it has been reclaimed from strip mining. The Humboldt Industrial Park would be located north of the project. The airport would also be two miles from the Eagle Rock Resort Developement in the township.

Schumacher testified the airport is permitted under the special exception to the county zoning ordinance but questioned by counsel for the township he said special exception does not include a business park.

Concern was also raised on behalf of Service Electric Cablevision Company, of Hazleton, about the airport interfering with the signal provided to clients in the area. They serve 60,000 homes.

Attorney Fred Fanelli, counsel for Gladstone Partners, LPC, of Pittsburgh, who filed the application to build the airport, told the board thousands of planes fly over the area daily and there is an aiport a few miles away in Luzerne County.

The hearings will resume Thursday, June 2.

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