Pentagon F35 review not expected to affect Vermont


By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

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South Burlington councilors beg for a seat at airport talks

Aviation Director Gene Richards answered questions at a Burlington International Airport presentation at the Burlington City Council meeting on March 27, 2017. (Photo: NICOLE HIGGINS DeSMET/ Free Press)

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
March 28, 2017

Some Burlington City Councilors welcomed comments by South Burlington City Council members after a Monday presentation by Burlington International Airport officials regarding sound mitigation and finance.

“It’s been challenging to see this unfold over the years, and it’s not the solution that anyone wants,” Councilor Sharon Bushor, who represents Burlington’s Ward 1, said of the federal home buyouts in the affordable South Burlington neighborhood where the airport is located. Bushor is a member of Burlington’s Board of Finance to which airport officials report.

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South Burlington councilors seek ‘seat at table’ on airport noise

By Morgan True
March 28, 2017

Two members of the South Burlington City Council pressed their Burlington counterparts to give them a greater role in deciding how Burlington International Airport mitigates the impact of noise on nearby homes.

South Burlington Councilors Meaghan Emery and Tim Barritt attended a presentation by airport Aviation Director Gene Richards at Monday’s council meeting in Burlington.

During the public comment period, the two said the longstanding practice of buying homes affected by noise using Federal Aviation Administration grant money has eroded the affordable housing stock in their city.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has said since first being elected in 2012 that he would end the home buyout program. He said Monday that a last round of home buyouts is necessary before the FAA will allow consideration of other options.

South Burlington officials say they were not informed when the Burlington City Council accepted a $15 million FAA grant to buy 50 more homes in South Burlington last year.

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Pentagon F-35 review unlikely to affect Vermont

By Adam Silverman
Feb. 5, 2017

A review ordered by the Trump administration of the F-35 fighter jet program is expected to have no effect on the Vermont National Guard, which remains on track to receive 18 of the aircraft in two years.

Vermont’s congressional delegation and governor agreed cost-cutting measures could prove beneficial for the Pentagon’s costliest weapons procurement program. But the political leaders added that new planes remain vital to the 158th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The Pentagon has a long record of purchasing weapons systems from defense contractors with massive cost overruns that have wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. The F-35 is a clear example of that practice, and that corporate welfare must end,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to questions from the Burlington Free Press.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA made maps for some cities, just not South Burlington

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Feb. 6, 2017

Federal Aviation Administration officials have repeatedly brushed off requests to provide maps of the F-35’s projected noise impact on surrounding neighborhoods, but the Burlington Free Press confirmed other communities were provided with F-35 data.

Scott Eaton, an FAA community planner in Helena, Montana, confirmed last month that F-35 projections were included in the appendices of plans for the purchase of homes near a civilian airport in Great Falls, Montana, that, like South Burlington, serves as a base for the U.S. Air Force. Another FAA official verbally confirmed that F-35 data was provided for Boise, Idaho. A Winooski resident and anti-F-35 activist flagged these airports at a Jan. 23 South Burlington City Council meeting.

All officials noted the F-35 sound maps for the Great Falls and Boise were informational additions and had no relation to FAA sound program funding.

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F-35 sound study now makes sense

Dec. 11, 2016

South Burlington should pursue options for a study that would show how noise from soon-to-be-deployed F-35 fighters could impact neighborhoods surrounding Burlington International Airport.

The sound contours are likely to change with the scheduled arrival of the new Air National Guard jets in 2019. The next-generation fighters are louder, but are expected to project their noise in a different pattern, than the F-16s currently based at the airport.

Everyone knows the F-35s are coming and when. Why should people and businesses have to wait two years until the jets arrive to find out exactly what living or working near the airport might mean?

Airport neighbors have a right to know how their lives might be affected by developments at Burlington International. Residents and business owners – current and those considering purchases – have a right to protect their properties, likely the biggest investment made by most families.

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Airport buyouts prompt departures

By Katie Jickling
Dec. 7, 2016

Kevin Pearo has watched his neighbors depart in a slow, steady exodus from North Henry Court in South Burlington. Seven homes that once lined the street are gone, leaving his yellow duplex a solitary sentinel between suburbia and a growing grassy expanse within walking distance of Burlington International Airport.

“It’s like living on a five- or 10-acre park,” he told Seven Days, standing on his porch last month.

Now Pearo is also leaving; he plans to relocate with his family to Colchester early next year. His property and those on his street are among the 139 houses the airport has bought since 1997 because aircraft traffic made it too loud to live there. Once Pearo’s family is gone, their old house will be, too.

Residents were just getting used to the new shape of what is known as the Chamberlin neighborhood, between Williston Road and the airport. Then, in September, BTV airport officials announced the receipt of a federal grant that would give 39 additional homeowners a chance to sell their houses to the airport.

Many were surprised to learn the sound map had been updated last year, and they were now living in spots considered uninhabitable because of noise levels in excess of 73 decibels.

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South Burlington hits airport with buyout resolution

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
Jan. 23, 2017

The City Council passed a resolution after three hours of debate late Monday night to end the airport buyout program and hold the Federal Aviation Administration accountable for what councilors said are affordable-housing and tax-revenue losses to the city.

The resolution asks the FAA and the airport to respond by Feb. 7. The council hopes the measure will open negotiations that would benefit the neighborhood. “Or at least open a seat at the table,” councilor Meaghan Emery said.

In September, the airport announced an acquisition program, when buyouts were thought to be over. This surprised the airport neighborhood and the South Burlington City Council.

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Airport Director: SoBu Council Resolution Won’t Stop Buyouts

By Molly Walsh
Jan. 24, 2017

Burlington International Airport director of aviation Gene Richards says a resolution South Burlington city councilors passed Monday will not stop a controversial home buyout program.

“The airport will continue to administer the program until we bring it to an end,” Richards told Seven Days Tuesday.

The resolution does little more than create anxiety for neighbors who want to sell, he added.

“We’ve had people crying and we’ve had people really stressed out about this,” Richards said. “It’s unfortunate.”

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FAA changes story of F-35 maps

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet

The FAA could have included F-35 sound information, but chose not to due to a pending lawsuit which community members hoped would halt or at least delay the basing of the new jets.

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