The Department of Defense (DoD) has brought lawsuits and threatened to move an air base due to development potentially infringing on “accident potential zones (APZ)” around an air base in Florida and one in Virginia. (Sources: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/oceana.htm and http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/26/3254990/homestead-farmer-look-to-settle.html#storylink=cpy)
In Chittenden County, about 1400 homes and many businesses are located in the APZ’s around Burlington International Airport (BTV).
The map below shows the military accident potential zones around BTV, depicted based on the May, 2011, DoD Directive. These same zones can be found in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for basing F-35 at BTV.
If you look at the map and included table, you’ll find that more than 1400 residential properties are located in the Accident Potential Zones (APZ) extending from the ends of the BTV runway into Burlington, Colchester, Williston, and Winooski. It should be noted that these properties represent a much larger number of “dwelling units” since many of them are multiple family buildings. In Winooski for instance, the 974 residential properties in the two APZ’s include about 2600 dwelling units.
The DoD says, “Areas immediately beyond the ends of runways possess a measurably higher potential for aircraft accidents. . . . residential development, educational facilities, and medical facilities are considered incompatible and are strongly discouraged in APZs.” In Winooski, St. Francis’s School is in APZ2, just outside APZ1. You can read the DoD directive and learn more about the restrictions on development which the DoD says should be in place at this link: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/416557p.pdf.
Around other military air bases, some localities have instituted zoning regulations and building codes to restrict development and formalize the DoD’s recommendations for compatible development prohibitions and noise reduction building requirements in APZ’s and high noise zones. The city of Beaufort, SC, is one example, as you can see at this link:
In addition it is U.S. Housing and Urban Development policy “not to provide assistance to projects and actions in Runway Protection, Accident Potential or Clear Zones.” Paradoxically, HUD also requires that people buying property with HUD funding sign an acknowledgment that they have been informed that the property is in an APZ. (Source: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=DOC_14225.pdf)
Are aircraft crashes actual possibilities? The Vermont Air Guard has had two Class A crashes since 1965, one of them near Taft’s Corners where, horribly, a pilot and his navigator were killed, the other a “flameout landing” in New Jersey where the plane was destroyed. A Class A crash is one involving “total property damage of $2 million or more, total aircraft loss, or a fatality and/or permanent total disability.” (Draft EIS, p. BR4-44 and BR4-45)
Once again, it should be emphasized that these are the Department of Defense zones and compatible use recommendations.