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Airport Expansion into Chamberlin neighborhood is to monetize F-35 noise for developers
Public Hearing Thursday, February 3 to consider the airport’s bid to rezone land in the Chamberlin neighborhood
The public hearing is a great opportunity to say no to the airport's request to rezone 11 acres in the Chamberlin neighborhood and to demand a halt to the F-35 training flights.
7:00 pm, Thursday, February 3, in-person at South Burlington City Hall, 180 Market Street, S. Burlington VT 05403 OR Remotely via ZOOM: the link to be posted at https://www.southburlingtonvt.gov/government/city_committees_boards/airport_rezoning_task_force.php
Whether you live in the Chamberlin neighborhood or anywhere else affected by the F-35, this hearing affects you. Come and speak. Tell the task force to say no to rezoning the 11 acres.
Here is information you may find useful:
Nic Longo, Acting Director of Aviation submitted the bid to rezone 11 acres on either side of Kirby Road Extension. The South Burlington Planning Commission established a special task force to review the request and recommend Yes or No to the rezoning request. That Task Force is sponsoring the public hearing.
∙ The Chamberlin School neighborhood is a working class neighborhood of more than 1000 affordable homes.
∙ The Chamberlin School neighborhood suffers enough from the airport's 115-decibel F-35.
∙ The existing green space is the best noise buffer.
∙ Taking away the 11 acre green space will further hurt the neighborhood.
∙ The only better buffer than the green space is to abolish the F-35 training flights.
∙ If the 11 acres is rezoned the rest of the 44 acres of now open land will follow.
∙ Rezoning to commercial can never be undone.
∙ The greatest need is for affordable housing. Not commercial space.
∙ We should keep the 11 acres zoned residential.
∙ The F-35 will be stopped, quiet will be restored, and affordable homes can be rebuilt if the land remains residential zoned and left as greenspace.
∙ The airport does not even need the 11 acres.
∙ The Airport Master Plan says the airport now includes 950 acres.
∙ The airport already has space on that existing 950 acres of airport land perfectly located and already zoned commercial for all its needs.
∙ Nic Longo misled the Airport Rezoning Task Force on December 16. He said the rezoning was for a structure to house its snow removal vehicles. He never mentioned General Aviation.
∙ VTDigger reported on a tour of General Aviation on December 15 at which General Aviation people said they felt “boxed-in” by Beta Technologies, and that Longo was pressuring them to accept land in the Chamberlin neighborhood near Kirby Road.
∙ However, a look at the airport map in the airports own Master Plan (p. 73) shows acres of empty land available adjacent to where General Aviation is now (areas D, E, and F). No need to encroach on open space in the Chamberlin neighborhood.
∙ Longo appears to be trying to recruit General Aviation people to force the rezoning.
∙ The task force should tell the airport to withdraw the airport’s request to rezone in Chamberlin and use airport land perfectly located and properly zoned for all its needs.
History shows corruption
The Vermont Air National Guard was used and abused to hurt low income, white working class, BIPOC and immigrant communities and to benefit developers. Here is how:
In 2008, the external fuel tank under the belly of the F-16 was replaced with two wing-mounted external fuel tanks. That change required the F-16 to use its more-than-4-times-louder afterburner for takeoff. No public hearings. No Environmental Impact Statement. Just a huge increase in noise.
The F-16 afterburner increased the F-16 noise level during takeoff to about the same 115 decibels as the F-35 emits but without afterburner. Fortunately, F-16 pilots turned off the F-16 afterburner shortly after leaving the ground, so its noise did not affect Winooski, Burlington, or Williston. The F-16 afterburner noise was just focused on Chamberlin.
That use of the F-16 afterburner caused the buy-out and the demolition of 200 affordable working-class homes in 2015.
That demolition of 200 homes cleared 44 acres near the airport entrance. That was how hundreds of families lost affordable housing. It was also how the Vermont Air National Guard was illegitimately used and abused at a time no one was paying close attention.
Real estate developers can cash-in by building on that cleared land. The FAA encourages commercial and industrial in noisy airport areas cleared of residential. But that payday for developers is only possible if and only if South Burlington agrees to rezone the land from residential to commercial.
That rezoning process is underway now and is the subject of the Public Hearing.
The rezoning can be stopped. The public hearing offers opportunity for you to speak.
The potential bonanza for developers has come at a terrible cost of suffering for thousands of children and adults from the F-16 afterburner and the F-35: Volume II of the Air Force Environmental Impact Statement said that repeated exposure to military low-altitude flight noise at 114-decibels, about the noise level of the F-35 in Winooski, can cause hearing loss. It described impaired learning and impaired cognitive development from exposure to the much softer noise of commercial aircraft at busy civilian airports. Studies cited by the AARP reported that environmental noise sharply increases the incidence of heart disease and stroke. A Johns-Hopkins study found that hearing loss increases the risk of dementia.
VTDigger reported “Panic attacks. Ringing ears. Shaking walls. Happy 1-year anniversary to the F-35s,” September 27, 2020. Also on VTDigger, “Pandemic isolation and increased flights spike F-35 noise complaints,” April 27, 2021. On a Seven Days cover story, “Sound Effects: In the F-35’s Flight Path, Vermonters’ Lives Have Changed,” July 7, 2021. The 12-minute film “Jet Line, Voicemails from the Flight Path” gives voice to residents. The testimony of 30 residents at a Winooski City Council meeting attended by three Air National Guard commanders on September 7, 2021, was recorded on the 30 minute ABC Café Podcast, “The People of Winooski Share Their Pain and Suffering Under F-35 Operations.” This meeting was also reported on Channel 5, “F-35 forum in Winooski brings out residents to voice concerns about jet presence,” September 8, 2021.
That means thousands of people in the F-35 noise target zone and beyond are being severely hurt and injured by the F-35 training in densely populated Vermont cities.
All this is only happening because the 2,963 families living in F-35 noise target zone are low income, white working class, immigrant, and BIPOC, as the Air Force itself confirmed in Volume I of the EIS. No wealthy neighborhood is affected.
The best way to stop the vicious race and class abuse and to protect the health and safety of 1,300 children and over 5000 adults living in the F-35 noise target zone is to immediately abolish the F-35 training at BTV.
One way to abolish the F-35 training at BTV is to take away the ability of developers to monetize the extreme noise of the F-35.
And that means saying a strong no to rezoning. Now or ever.
Demand that the Airport Expansion Task Force reject rezoning. Demand that the Task Force call for retaining the present residential zoning.
Further, demand that the Task Force investigate:
∙ Who is hurt by the F-35 noise?
∙ Who is hurt by converting 11 acres from greenspace to commercial development in the Chamberlin neighborhood?
∙ Who benefits from commercial development in the Chamberlin neighborhood?
Demand that the Task Force recommend that affordable housing be rebuilt on the land once F-35 training at BTV is abolished.
Demand that the Task Force question Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger under oath about his role in the scheme to vastly increase the noise of the Vermont Air National Guard’s F-16 while he served on the Airport Commission before becoming Mayor.
Demand that the Task Force question former Wing Commanders and real estate developers under oath to expose the truth about the loss of those 200 affordable homes and the plan to monetize F-35 noise by rezoning.
Stop the rezoning!
Write or call your public servants:
Governor Phil Scott 802-828-3333 Chief of Staff <Jason.Gibbs@vermont.gov>
Vermont National Guard's Complaint Line: 802-660-5379 (Note: the Vermont Guard told a reporter that it received over 1400 noise complaints. But the Guard won’t release what people said).
Instead or in addition, submit your report & complaint to the online F-35 Fall 2021-Winter 2022 Report & Complaint Form: https://tinyurl.com/5d89ckj9
See all the graphs and in-your-own words statements on the recently-completed F-35 Spring-Summer 2021 Report & Complaint Form (513 responses): https://tinyurl.com/3svacfvx.
See links to the graphs and in-your-own words statements on all four versions of the F-35 Report & Complaint Form since Spring 2020, with a total of 1670 responses from 658 different people.
Senator Patrick Leahy 800-642-3193 Chief of Staff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Senator Bernie Sanders 800-339-9834 <Senator@sanders.senate.gov>
Congressman Peter Welch 888-605-7270 Chief of Staff <email@example.com>
Burlington City Council <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger <email@example.com>
Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott <firstname.lastname@example.org>
S. Burlington City Council Chair Helen Riehle <email@example.com>
Williston Selectboard Chair Terry Macaig <firstname.lastname@example.org>
VT Senate President Becca Balint <email@example.com>
VT House Speaker Jill Krowinski <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Attorney General TJ Donavan <DonovanTJ@gmail.com>
States Attorney Sarah George <Sarah.email@example.com>
Vermont’s Federal Prosecutor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Adjutant General Brig Gen Gregory C Knight <email@example.com>
Major J Scott Detweiler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wing Commander Col David Shevchik email@example.com
Vermont National Guard Inspector General Lt. Col. Edward J Soychak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
US Air Force Inspector General Lt. Col. Pamela D. Koppelmann <email@example.com>
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall <Frank.Kendall@us.af.mil>