Friday, July 19, 2013

N.Y. Jets withdraw helipad application in Florham Park amid neighbors' opposition

FLORHAM PARK — The New York Jets withdrew their application for a helipad at their Florham Park training facility Wednesday amid neighbors' opposition to the project.

Florham Park Planning Board Secretary Marlene Rawson said she received a letter from the N.Y. Jets attorney Wednesday withdrawing the application. The letter did not indicate a reason for the withdrawal, Rawson said.

The application was originally scheduled for a May hearing, but the matter kept being adjourned, she said. It was next scheduled to be heard at the July 22 meeting, she said.

Madison Mayor Bob Conley said he hadn't spoken with residents yet, but he's sure the news "is going to make many residents happy."

"I'm sure their feeling very good about it on the western side of Madison," Conley said.  

After the application was filed in May, Florham Park and Madison residents objected to the project with hundreds signing an online petition against it.

Pat Rowe, a Republican council candidate who lives in the Madison neighborhood adjacent to the property, started the petition because he and other residents were concerned about noise pollution from low-flying helicopters, the possibility of an accident occurring or the use of local athletic fields for emergency landing zones.

"I'm also concerned that with the Jets being one of the two host teams for the upcoming Super Bowl at the Meadowlands, we could see a much larger volume of traffic to the site this winter, regardless of how the helipad's use is being positioned," Rowe has said.

Nearly 480 residents signed the petition, citing concerns ranging from increase air traffic, noise pollution and disruption to the neighborhood.

"This is a ridiculous request," David Arthur said in his petition statement. "Anyone arriving at the proposed helipad will still need to use a car to get to the facility. Morristown airport is there for a reason. No need to satisfy four or five people with something this stupid."

The driving distance from Morristown Municipal Airport in Hanover to the N.Y. Jets facility is approximately 2.8 miles, according to Google Maps.

Even though the application has been withdrawn, it's still possible for Florham Park Helipad LLC to try to seek approval in the future. Since the planning board never ruled on the application, it was withdrawn without prejudice, Rawson said.

Florham Park Helipad LLC was formed in October 2012 and lists its agent as Richard Goldman of Drinker Biddle and Reath LLP. Goldman has not yet returned a phone call requesting comment.

The N.Y. Jets declined comment through a team spokesman.


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