Franklin should resist Navy’s wishes

Published 8:04 am Wednesday, December 22, 2010

To the Editor:

This is an open letter to members of the Franklin City Council.

The upcoming vote on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Navy is among the most important votes that you, representatives of the Franklin citizenry, will ever cast.

While some have attempted to characterize this as a vote for or against the Navy and the valuable role it plays in our national defense, it is not. Rather, we are deciding whether or not our airport and this area is the best place available for the Navy to practice carrier landings.

The mismatch could not have been better demonstrated than by witnessing the most recent practice sessions on Tuesday, Dec. 14, during which naval aircraft flew regularly over local neighborhoods, Southampton Memorial Hospital, the Village at Woods Edge, the YMCA, Franklin High School and the southern end of Isle of Wight County. This practice creates a safety hazard, diminishes our desirable, unique quality of life, and will adversely impact the future marketability and value of our properties.

None of us knowingly chose to live in the flight path of pilot training. The obscure deed of 1947 was unknown to all of us, including the Navy. Furthermore, the Navy’s dominance over the airfield could have negative consequences as we continue to attempt to recruit economic development to our area.

It is important to grasp that this is not an event. It will be a daily dose of accident risk, low-altitude noise, and between 96 to 320 touch-and-go maneuvers that will span two, three-hour periods, Monday through Friday, including weekends as the Navy sees fit. We should not voluntarily allow this to happen. There are better places for this practice — places where there is far less encroachment and where safety and noise are far less of an issue.

Rather than moving this process forward with a Memorandum of Understanding, we should stop and step back. The Navy says that it does not want to “impose a solution.” Then let us take the Navy at its word and ask them to look elsewhere to a more appropriate field with a less developed approach.

Chuck Lilley
Rick Ivey
Henry Thomason
Burdette Gatten
James J. Vasoti
Lenora A. Vasoti
Robert “Bob” Luck
Mac Coker
Gene Correll
Mary Lilley
Richard Britt
Bette Crisp
Tom and Priscilla Jones
Nancy Brewbaker
Janet Trainor
Calvin Holt
Nita Holt
Jim Tribbett
Sally Tribbett
Joe McGuire
Bruce Edwards
Joe East