Symbolic vote in Isle of Wight

Published 3:11 pm Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors last week voted unanimously in opposition to the Navy’s plan to use the Franklin airport for “touch-and-go” training for turboprop aircraft.

It’s unlikely the move will have a huge impact on the Navy’s decision, but it does lend symbolic support to a number of county residents who staunchly oppose the plan.

Former Board of Supervisors Chairman Phillip Bradshaw said residents in the southern part of the county were overwhelmingly opposed to the plan and he said county officials had been “left out of the loop.”

To be fair, Isle of Wight County officials should have a seat at the table if and when negotiations regarding the training begin. Even if the county’s blessing isn’t legally required, it is the neighborly thing to do, considering the effect the proposed training could have on Isle of Wight.

As previously reported in The Tidewater News, the Navy has the right to use the airport, and if the city attempts to resist, according to City Attorney Taylor Williams, the Navy could even take the field.

For its part, the Franklin City Council has yet to publicly endorse the plan as a body, even postponing a vote on a memorandum of understanding with the Navy earlier this month.

Whatever the outcome, we hope officials in Franklin and Isle of Wight can work together with the Navy for the best possible outcome.

The two communities, along with Southampton County, have forged a strong regional front in the wake of the Franklin paper mill’s closure. We would hate for this issue to undermine that alliance.