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Philadelphia International in turf war with Tinicum

| Oct 13, 2011 | Eminent Domain |

Philadelphia officials would like to move a UPS facility on Hog Island Road out of the way of a planned airport runway expansion. One judge has already agreed. The city owns Philadelphia International Airport and wants to buy a 500-acre stretch of land beyond city limits in Tinicum to re-house UPS.

Tinicum is in Delaware County, where officials oppose the airport purchasing land that is home to more than 150 homes and businesses. The real estate litigation has been appealed. A federal appeals court is expected to rule soon on whether an old state law that would require Delaware County to agree to the city’s purchase is applicable.

Philadelphia’s legal counsel says that the relevance of consent is one of two issues the court faces. The other matter, the attorney says, involves whether the 86-year-old state law matters at all. The city’s attorney claims a federal law allows the airport to engage in a capacity enhancement program to minimize unsafe airport congestion.

The lawyer for Delaware County disputes whether the city of Philadelphia is making the airport safer. She states that the project to “annihilate a community” in order move a UPS building has nothing to do with promoting the federal government’s desire for airport safety.

Delaware County contends that the Philadelphia city plan is more about economic enhancement than it is about making the airport safer.

In late summer, a senior federal judge struck down Tinicum and Delaware County’s use of the old, state consent law. The judge agreed the city was in line with the federal program of capacity enhancement.

Source: delcotimes.com, “Federal appeals court still considering PHL-Tinicum dispute,” Timothy Logue, Sept. 16, 2011

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