There are approximately 3,713 residential units in Winooski found in 1,591 buildings. These include single family houses, residences with an extra apartment or two, large apartment complexes, and condos. Over the last few years many of us have struggled with the potential impact on these residences by the basing of the F-35 military jet at the Vermont Air Guard Station located at the Burlington Airport. Currently a group of Winooski citizens combined with our neighbors in surrounding towns have entered into legal actions to prevent this deployment. Why?
The Air Force in its Environmental Impact Statement related to deploying the F-35 here has stated that the F-35 is four times as loud as the F-16 which is the plane currently in use. The EIS also states that the defined 65db DNL noise area around the airport is “not suitable for residential use.” Recently the area real estate association has clarified that agents should provide potential buyers with a disclosure form that indicates when a residence is within the 65db DNL noise zone. It follows, that ethically renters should be told about the potential noise prior to signing a lease.
That is why. But, here is the real problem. About 70% of those residential units, 2,589 of them, fall in the noise area that the Air Force has defined as “not suitable for residential use.” Stated another way, 70% of the places where Winooski residents now live will be compromised by the F-35.
Thus, the time has come for the Winooski City Council to stand up for the city’s residents by joining the legal actions being taken to prevent this injustice. If you agree, it is suggested that you contact the City Council, the Mayor and the City Manager to register your concern about the deployment of the F-35 at BTV. You can find contact information for all of them at www.winooskivt.org.
George Cross is a former Winooski State Representative, Interim Winooski City Manager, and Superintendent of the Winooski School District