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Hearing on proposed cargo airport continues

Published March 02. 2012 05:02PM

A telecommunication's engineer testified the cargo airport proposed to be built in East Union Township, Schuylkill County, would greatly cause interruptions in television receptions in the homes in the township by planes landing and taking off.

The testimony was presented by Philip Rubin, head of the RFK Engineering firm, Washington, D.C., who was called as a witness to testify on behalf of Service Electric Cablevision which has 12 satellite dishes which would be located less than two miles from the proposed cargo airport.

The cable firm, along with East Union Township supervisors, are opposing the application of Gladstone Partnership, LLC, of Pittsburgh, seeking a special exception to the county zoning ordinance from the Schuylkill County Zoning Hearing Board which has been holding hearings on the application for a year and a half.

Last evening's session at the Schuylkill County courthouse took two and one-half hours and still no end in site. The hearings were continued to Thursday, April 12.

Edward Nasuti, a specialist in planning new airports and expanding existing airports, and Rubin were the only witnesses. Nasuti, also testified on behalf of the cable company, and his testimony was that Gladstone did not present enough evidence for the board to make a decision.

Rubin, who has been involved in building receiving stations to receive the signals sent by satellites orbiting the earth, said he reviewed Service Electric's operation and his area of concern was an airplane flying into the path of the signal being beamed from the satellite and picked up by a round dish on the ground, interference from an airplane's radar and the radar which are installed on the ground of airports which sent out a signal 60 miles in a circular scan.

He said Service Electric has an earth station television signal receiving farm which would be located less than two miles from the proposed airport. He claimed the plan of the runaways shows they would be south of the farm and planes landing would disrupt the television reception sent from the ground dishes to customers through East Union Township.

Rubin testified that he noted the equipment the cable company has and he estimated they have invested a great deal of money to assure their subscribers high quality reception and fears disruption could cost them customers.

Rubin said he read a report presented by Gladstone that about 300 planes daily would be landing and he claims there could be 140 disruptions on the television sets lasting from one, two up to 15 seconds. The picture received on the home screen would be broken in pieces like a jig saw puzzle. He testified there are 12 dishes on the signal receiving farm and one dish carries 24 channels and all 24 could be effected if the signal is disrupted on the dish.

He suggested a different site for the airport because the cable company has been on the site for many years. He said it was the first company in the United States to provide a strong signal to homes.

Nasuti testified Gladstone should have presented to the zoning hearing board more testimony on environmental impact on the township as it pertains to private wells, farms, streams, noise and safety. He said he reviewed the plans of Gladstone and it is for a large general aviation airport which does not have as many restrictions imposed by the FAA that are imposed on a commercial airport which has passengers arriving and departing.

He also claimed Gladstone should have developed a memorandum of understanding with the township supervisors pertaining what service they could provide in fire and police protection. He said the airport proposed would be privately owned which would not have as many restrictions imposed by federal government.

Nasuti and Rubin have been requested by the board to return for more questioning.

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