By: COURTNEY LAMDIN
Date: October 11, 2023
Jennifer Bouffard and her family, who live near the Burlington International Airport, rejected an offer from the airport to buy their home due to jet noise years ago. Since then, the louder F-35 jets have replaced the Vermont Air National Guard’s F-16s. Four years after the introduction of the F-35s, the airport has begun insulating homes to reduce jet noise, with Bouffard’s home among the first.
However, the program is behind schedule. Inflation has led to a doubling of renovation costs, halving the number of homes insulated each year. Completing work on all eligible homes could take decades. The airport uses a noise exposure map to determine the areas most affected by jet noise. Many homes are eligible for insulation, but some, especially those closest to the airport, are disqualified and instead offered a buyout.
Edward Garvey, a resident whose home isn’t eligible for insulation, feels neglected. Meanwhile, the airport faces funding challenges. Initially aiming to renovate 100 homes per year, inflation and other unforeseen issues have led to reduced expectations and longer project timelines. The airport hopes to secure more funds from the U.S. Department of Defense for insulation work.
Noise complaints extend beyond just homes; the Chamberlin School in South Burlington received central air conditioning as part of the noise reduction program. Many residents feel that eliminating the jets would be the best solution.
For the Bouffards, the ongoing work has been both beneficial and disruptive. They appreciate the quieter home but have had to make significant accommodations during the renovation process. The couple is concerned about the program’s impact on older residents and the airport’s potential future plans. Still, they acknowledge that the F-35 jets already sound much quieter thanks to the insulation.[FULL ARTICLE]