TETERBORO, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Plans to expand the busy Teterboro Airport into preserved land are up in the air.

Locals and environmental groups fear the impact it will have on their homes, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Tuesday.

The nation’s busiest airport for private jets and charters is poised to hit new heights. Teterboro’s main aviation tenant named Signature wants to pave over seven acres of the Meadowlands to build more hangers and park more airplanes.

But this plan supported by the Port Authority runs counter to a $150 million state and federal environmental plan to protect this flood-prone area from extreme weather events. And rising sea levels caused the Regional Plan Association to say this clash is part of the problem of planning in the age of climate change.

“Two different agencies in charge here… They’re not aligned, they’re not coordinated,” the RPA’s Robert Freudenberg said.

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Signature would not do an interview on camera but its engineers said the plan is flood neutral. Additional hanger space would allow more aircraft to stay here. Right now, most jets land, let passengers off and then fly out to park at other airports. Signature said this plan reduces noise and air pollution.

But Jeff Tittel with the New Jersey Sierra Club said paved wetlands leaves rainwater with nowhere to go.

“The Meadowlands are the bathtub of northern New Jersey. It’s a critical area, the wetlands there help protect millions of people’s homes and property from flooding,” Tittel said.

To make up for the lost marsh, Signature purchased preserved land in nearby Carlstadt and would also enhance one and a half acres near the Oradell Reservoir in Closter, nine miles north of the Meadowlands. However, Tittel called the plan a con game.

“You can never destroy wetlands that have taken centuries to create and then try to recreate it somewhere else,” Tittel said.

The Port Authority would not comment on environmental concerns since the proposal is still under review, Baker reported.

The RPA and others said Teterboro should not be expanded but rather be phased out, because it was built on wetlands. And down the road could be an airport where you have to wait for high tide to go out before landing.

Signature said the plan also has economic benefits, including hundreds of construction jobs, and additional employment at the airport.

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