By Meaghan Emery
April 25, 2018
Editor’s note: This commentary is by Meaghan Emery, of South Burlington, who is the vice chair of the South Burlington City Council.
In 2010 (I was on the council at the time), the first public meeting to discuss the proposed basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport was held in Winooski. Later, when the draft Environmental Impact Statement was issued in 2012, I read with consternation the data indicating a 50 percent increase in the number of homes that would fall in a zone around the airport deemed incompatible with residential use (rising from 1,900 to 2,900 homes, or over 6,600 people). Over the six years since, I have only become more convinced that the F-35 is incompatible with a densely populated, residential area. This remains the case, in spite of the federal judge’s finding last year. As history as shown us — with the suffrage and civil rights movements, for instance — because something is legal does not necessarily mean that it is right.
South Burlington residents object to, if not the noise, then the impacts of the noise and the noise compatibility programs, which have been decimating our affordable housing stock, putting the future of one of our three elementary schools in jeopardy, and overall disrupting the peace of mind and quality of life of many who reside here. We have two federal agencies at work here. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has stated and restated his desire to stop the buyout program and pursue other mitigation programs. The regional director of the FAA, however, has stated that, other than home acquisition, no noise mitigation exists to lessen the impact of these high-powered jets. For us in South Burlington, there is no win-win with the F-35.[FULL ARTICLE]