New Jersey's Solberg Airport Wins Major Legal Battle in Fight Against Town

After a 13-year legal battle, an appeals court rejected the town's attempt to block the airport from expanding.

Solberg Airport won a landmark court victory against the local town.Solberg-Hunterdon Airport

A New Jersey appeals court has upheld an earlier ruling that struck down the town of Readington's attempt to condemn Solberg-Hunterdon Airport, dealing a major victory to the airport's owners after a protracted legal battle that has dragged on for well over a decade.

At issue is the airport owners' desire to expand the main runway to nearly 5,600 feet, which would permit jet traffic at the facility in a largely rural part of central New Jersey. The town has been fighting to prevent the airport from expanding through lawsuits that have sought to wrest away the land surrounding the current 3,000-foot runway through eminent domain.

The town has lost at nearly every stage of the fight. In its ruling on Friday, the appeals court noted that the town has the right to file a new condemnation lawsuit as long as it does not conflict with the airport's aviation-related activities and the associated buffer area, but urged both sides to seek a settlement agreement rather than continue to do battle in the courts.

The Solberg family has opposed the township's actions to prevent the airport's expansion, leading to the legal battle which has been in the courts ever since at a cost of millions of dollars to local taxpayers. It is unclear whether the town will seek to continue its court fight to prevent the airport from expanding.