22 Aug 2014
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Air Base Plan Signatures Away from Submission

The plan will be sent to the federal government by Friday; the Horsham Township Council considers forming a new authority to manage the development process.

Air Base Plan Signatures Away from Submission Air Base Plan Signatures Away from Submission

The final roadblock for submitting the approved redevelopment plan for has been cleared, officials said Monday. 

An agreement has been reached related to a legally binding agreement for a roughly seven-acre parcel earmarked for homeless housing on the 862-acre tract, Horsham Township Manager Bill Walker notified the governing body during Monday night’s meeting.

“As of this afternoon we do have an agreement,” Walker said. “Signatures are expected Wednesday.”

From there, the mixed-use blueprint for the bulk of the 1,100-acre former military base will be submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Department of Defense on Friday, Walker said.

The finalized plan, which has been seven years in the making, had been . But, last week Horsham Land Reuse Authority Executive Director Mike McGee told Patch because of the inability to come to terms on a legally binding agreement for the submission.

Now, signatures away from being complete, Walker said that next step can finally be taken.

Looking ahead

With the redevelopment plan approved locally and awaiting review by federal officials expected to take anywhere from 12 to 24 months, Walker said the next logical step is for the township council to create an implementation authority to pick up where the HLRA left off.

Once formed, this new body would carry out necessary steps for the base property to transfer from the federal government to the yet-to-be-formed authority as an economic development conveyance. . 

As officials consider the projected for the base’s redevelopment, Walker noted that grant considerations are also an important part of the project.

“They normally will not give funding and a grant for an economic development application without having an implementation authority in existence,” Walker said.

The governing body took no action Monday night. Instead, Walker said staff would draft an ordinance for the council’s review at its May 9 meeting. It could then be considered for adoption during one of the council’s June meetings.

Walker said it is a roughly nine-month process to complete the economic development conveyance application. Once it’s submitted, negotiations would begin with the Department of the Navy, he said.

Horsham Township attorney Mary Eberle said, “what’s going to happen next is just as dramatic” as the redevelopment plan and approval. The economic development plan, she said, would demonstrate to the government that what has been proposed can work financially.

“In the ideal world, if everything went right we’re looking at all this to be completed by 2015,” Walker said. “We have a lot of work to do.” 

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