Opinion: Hangar serves only one and is a disservice to many

According to the Addison Independent’s Dec. 3, 2015, front page article, an out-of-state entrepreneur with a second home in Vermont will be serviced by having her helicopter and airplane housed at the proposed new hangar at the East Middlebury airport. In addition, she’ll have a jet fuel storage tank available for use as well.
Of course, she won’t be living in the neighborhood affected by what serves her. She doesn’t have to hear the resulting noise, have her windows shaken or bear any other environmental consequences that might ensue. For that matter, nor do those on the selectboard making the decision except for the one board member who lives in the affected neighborhood.
Perhaps this proposed new hangar would bring in additional revenue to the town coffers. However, it would also compromise the property values of East Middlebury homeowners. This in turn should rightfully lower their property tax obligation to the town of Middlebury, which then might undo any financial gain (unless the plan is to do this “on the backs” of East Middlebury homeowners).
It has been a balancing act to have an airport in a residential neighborhood. So far it has remained safe. It can work if it stays small and respectful to those who live and work here year round. We are told that the helicopter is not as noisy as those used by the National Guard. Please note that not AS noisy does not mean NOT noisy.
Put simply, this decision before the selectboard puts them in a position of catering to the “1 percent” to the detriment of a local community. It also positions them as an enabler for further environmental assault by permitting what seems an unnecessary burning of fossil fuel. (Attention Bill McKibben and company.)
I therefore urge the selectboard members to vote NO on this hangar proposal. I also call upon our area state representatives, Claire Ayer, Amy Sheldon and Betty Nuovo, to look into how and why the East Middlebury airport’s classification was changed from Class A to Class B without any documentation, explanation, justification, visual authorization or transparency. Attempts to get this information have been sidestepped or deemed irrelevant. I say it is quite relevant, indeed mandatory as required governmental process, that this be answered before airport expansion plans go any further.
Paula Nath
East Middlebury

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