Cargo airport developers have numerous obstacles yet to overcome, Hazelton Standard Speaker

September 9, 2012

"During the past 14 years, an attempt to build an international cargo airport on the border of Luzerne and Schuylkill counties encountered turbulence but never crashed.

Proposals for the operations, funding and management of the airport have changed. The airport proposal outlasted the political careers of supporters and persisted after two backers went to prison.

On Aug. 2, after a three-year effort, Gladstone Partners of Pittsburgh received approval to develop the airport from the Schuylkill County Zoning Hearing Board. Before getting clearance, Gladstone contested issues twice in Schuylkill County Court and once in Commonwealth Court and participated in a series of monthly hearings that the zoning board held, starting last winter.

"Every time I think that this project is done, it seems to be resurrected in some shape or form," said state Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-124, whose district includes the proposed airport land in Schuylkill County.

Whenever the airport plan gains altitude, people get shaken up, Knowles said.

Opponents said noisy planes will worsen lives of people living near the airport while roads, water supplies, hospitals, schools and other services cannot withstand the crush of workers who will move to the region because of the airport."

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