OLF site selection is an issue that affects all of us

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 6, 2008

To the Editor:

On behalf of Virginians Against the Outlying Landing Field, thank you to those who attended the meeting Wednesday night at Southampton High School.

While we should feel encouraged by the political and legal support we have received, we must remain vigilant and focus on the task at hand.

Our opposition to an OLF is based on many factors, including the obviously negative environmental and quality-of-life issues. Those of you living in an area directly affected by a landing facility are well aware of the possible consequences if the Navy has its way.

For those who do not live in one of the proposed sites, please consider the economic impact that our community would suffer should an OLF be located in one of our counties.

Massive amounts of land would be removed from the property tax rolls.

To make up for the ensuing revenue shortfalls, county governments would likely have no choice but to increase existing tax rates to continue funding current services, including public education and other social services.

The impact would not stop there.

Property values around the sites are also likely to decrease due to restricted use ordinances and a general lack of desire to purchase land near the facilities.

This would cause further revenue shortages and the need to increase tax rates even further.

If you think you do not live on land that would be purchased by, or directly impacted by, the Navy’s use of land for a fighter jet practice facility, consider the fact that these jets have to fly over someone’s home to get to the landing sites.

If you live somewhere between Virginia Beach and Western Tidewater, how do you suppose these planes will get to their intended practice facility? And, by the way, these are intended to be nighttime practice sites.

This is an issue that affects all of us in Southside Virginia and Western Tidewater.

The negative environmental impacts are likely to be irreversible, our quality of life would be permanently compromised, and our local economies would be dealt a serious blow. Please consider all of these issues and continue to support Virginians Against the Outlying Landing Field.

Tony Clark, chairman, VAOLF