Translate

Pages

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Updated: Airport Authority Meets With Navy Brass

Fairhope, Alabama

CONTINUOUSLY UPDATED: Some citizens have formed a new community group concerning this issue: https://www.facebook.com/fairhopecitizenscan/


T-6 Navy trainers



PLANE NOISE COMPLAINTS GROWING

7336 Monk Road
In early January, the city's Airport Authority met at the home of Teri Withee southwest of the Sonny Callahan airport about chronic problems she and neighbors are having concerning low-flying aircraft noise from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp. and Coast Guard planes that use the airport for training (touch and go landings). (videos below)

Navy planes are marked orange and Air Force blue: a number of pilots from the military of the nation's allies (NATO, Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc.) are also training here.

The mayor and some council members say they also receive numerous noise complaints from other parts of the city (ie. Rock Creek) about the loud drone of the high-flying trainers doing aerobatic training exercises over their neighborhoods.

This is by far the number one complaint the Times hears about too; lowered quality of life, damage to home values, and tourist-related businesses are some most often heard.

Citizens are often reluctant to speak out because of being labeled as "unpatriotic" by the airport expansion proponents.

The planes -- based in Florida at Whiting Field near Milton, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Hulburt Field in Okaloossa County and at the Coast Guard station in Mobile -- are used for training new pilots; practice for other established units takes place at the airport sometimes too.

[Some 'Special Ops' helicopter training has been conducted in early-morning hours (3AM)]

The Airport Authority is an independent legal entity from city government,  formed years ago by the city council under state law to administer the airport; but the city council appoints its membership (4 year terms) and contributes yearly about $800K of taxpayers dollars to its operation and debt service.


SUBSEQUENT REGULAR MEETING

Ms. Withee at left
At the Airport Authority's regular meeting on January 19th at city hall, Vice Chairperson Pamela Caudill said she, Chairman Joseph McEnerney and member Chip Groener met at Withee's 7336 Monk Road home to discuss the problem and possible solutions; Mr. Randy Roy, Aviation/Community Planner and another commissioned officer represented the Navy.

Caudill said the discussion centered on finding ways to measure and document the noise level and solutions may be to increase altitude levels of the planes and better-enforce existing FAA flight regulations.

Obtaining sound measuring devices (decibel meters), finding ways to identify offending aircraft, and conduction an engineering study of the problem were also discussed.

Changing the airport's operating rules themselves is another possibility to restrict behavior of aircraft beyond the current FAA rules, but restricting military training could jeopardize getting FAA grants for planned airport expansion; up to $12 million more will be needed for the planned expansion on the east side of the runway for the addition of at least two more hangars, fuel farms, a passenger terminal -- and possibly an office building to be constructed in cooperation with the city's Industrial Board and the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance (BCEDA).

In order to increase the odds for winning more of the competitive FAA grants, the airport must be kept open for "national defense purposes" such as the military training.


SUMMERDALE NAVY MEETING TOO

Summerdale meeting with Navy
The Times aviation reporter was able to attend a subsequent meeting with the Navy, primarily for residents of the town of Summerdale, on January 26th that was properly announced beforehand to the public -- and held at that city's city hall, where we questioned Mr. Roy and Navy officers directly to confirm the facts about the meeting at Withee's Fairhope home.

(The Navy operates their own landing field north of Summerdale.)

Mr. Roy (a civilian defense department employee) reiterated the Navy would do whatever it is asked to do by the airport's management; but again mentioned other branches of the military not under his jurisdiction train there too.

After Withee's meeting, Roy said he offered to attend the Authority's next regular meeting (Jan. 19th) but was told not to come. He said he would come to any future meetings to meet with the public as well, if asked by city officials.

Roy and the other officers present at Summerdale seemed surprised when told by the Times of the widespread nature of the problem in Fairhope: they thought it was just a few citizens complaining in the immediate vicinity of the airport.

He added he thought that completion of longer runways at the Navy's Summerdale and Foley (Barin) Fields probably would not help much with Fairhope's problems.

'Factsheets' were distributed but they apply only to military-owned fields like Summerdale's and Barin in Foley (not Fairhope).

Roy said he is the military contact person for citizens' complaints about the Navy plane noise at Whiting Field: randy.roy@navy.mil or phone (850) 665-6132 were the numbers given out.

Also:

Mr. Randy Roy, CPLO
Aviation/Community Planner
NAS Whiting field
Mr. Randy Roy, yellow shirt
7550 USS Essex Court
Milton Fl. 32570
850-623-7196

Mary Moot is the contact for NAS Pensacola planes.

Other military complaint phone numbers provided:  Randy Roy, NAS Whiting Field  850-665-6132 and Mary Moot, NAS Pensacola  850-452-3948. 

Locally, contact the mayor/council members or Chairman McEnerney, Vice Chairman Caudill or any other Airport Authority members.

Ask the city clerk for their  e-mail/phone numbers.


PUBLIC MAY BRING CONCERNS TO NEXT MEETING TOO

Any citizen may attend regularly scheduled Airport Authority meetings in the Delchamps room behind the city council chamber -- at 4:30PM on the third Tuesday of every month.

The plane noise issue is expected to be on the agenda again for the one this week (February 16th)




These are videos (Parts 1 and 2) from the January 19, 2016 Airport Authority meeting at city hall where the military plane noise issue was discussed -- as well as the private meeting held the week before at Withee's  home.










These are the planes training over the city which generate many complaints from citizens.


49 comments:

Anonymous said...

No one is asking for the training to stop. We are asking the Navy to use some common sense. Why is the Navy targeting these operations over specific neighborhoods? There is so much open water and miles and miles of unpopulated open land in this area. Why is the Navy doing daily constant very noisy aerobatic maneuvers over densely populated neighborhoods (Rock Creek/Sandy Ford) filled with homes, schools, and hospitals?

Anonymous said...

They fly over my house all the time and I love it. Let the sound of freedom be heard. What type of person would complain of a young aviator getting the training they need before they go into harms way on our behalf?

Anonymous said...

I'll take the planes any day over those darn barking dogs I heard again last night!

Anonymous said...

Liberals who have moved here.

Anonymous said...

Fairhope has become a town that makes me ashamed to tell anyone I live here.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but shouldn't we glad we have a military training? Did these people not know there was an airport there when they bought their homes?

Publisher said...

Please try to avoid personal insults, respect different opinions, and avoid repetition.

Repetitive posts may be deleted.

Anonymous said...

If patriotism was the real reason for wanting them here then they would not be asking Uncle Sam for handouts behind the seens to build there big airport would they?

Conservatives are usually the first in line for guvment hand outs!

Anonymous said...

I would be very interesting to see how many of these "I love the sound of military airplanes 8 hours a day" commentators are in the pocket of local military contractors or have relatives directly involved. I love this country with all my heart but patriotic jingoist statements always smell very fishy to me.

Anonymous said...

I served, just as both my father and mother did during WW2 for freedom. Freedom for all to be free and free to speak regardless of how offensive they may be.

Anonymous said...

If you purchase a house near an airport you are going to experience a noise interruption in your environment.So if a home owner doesn't do enough research to include ALL aspects of location,design,elevation,etc then they should bear the front of their decision.
However airport traffic has been on the increase in the last decade due to spiraling building of subdivisions (in some areas) that have been allowed by so called planning and zoning decisions.To include the increased training of military flight crews.Many have relocated here from other areas and feel they may impose their ideals instead of a common sense approach.
Approach plates are very hard if no impossible to change.Blaming a conservative or liberal mirely shows the lack of education of history and unity with in this nation as a nation.So if one has problem with the airport,the solution is easy MOVE.
So many snow birds ......so little freezer space.

Anonymous said...

We love our snowbirds, they help keep my business afloat. The noisy airport is hurting the tourist and real estate industry.

Why spend so much to build a bigger airport just so a few rich people can have more places to park their planes?

No body I know wants a bigger airport. Why are those peaple forcing one down ours throats?

Anonymous said...

the problem is that it use to be a private airport and now it is a military base ...so it seems. Closest military base that I know of is Pen.

Anonymous said...

you try to sell a house in the over priced over rated fairhope!!! Realtors are a joke in my opinion!! When we bought our house all they could say was what a nice neighborhood Fairfield was but when we went to sell using the same company Caldwell banker all they could say is , Well it is Fairfield and no one wants to live there
!!!!! It is hard to sell a home in Fairfield!!!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Publisher said...

Names of private persons or companies may be deleted.

Anonymous said...

The airport has been there for well over 50 years and the Navy has been doing training in this area since the birth of Naval Aviation. It is a Public Use airport, not private or military but opened to the public. It receives a majority of funding from the Federal Government.

This airport does house some corporate jets that are owned by businesses that provide jobs in this area. It is also where Comtinental Motors does their aircraft engine installations on engines built in Mobile, providing hundreds of jobs in this area. Continental Motors is the largest builder of general aviation piston motors in the U.S. It also is a source of corporate convention business for the Grand Hotel as well as tourists that fly their own aircraft in to visit the area. There is an aviation academy housed at the airport that provides aviation related technical training so our citizens can train for jobs at Airbus, Mobile Aerospace Engineering and Continental Motors.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Great job if reporting by the Fairhope Times this is the destroying the quality of life in Fairhope.I am a school teacher and I am in speak daily with students and parents and other teachers this plane issue is the number 1 complaint in Fairhope.Thank you for being brave enough to address this.It is a shame that none of our elected officials have.

Anonymous said...

I am retired army Veteran so my support for the military is unquestioned.My home in Rock Creek is miles from the airport.My block is being used every day for plane aerobatics and manovers very noisy and dangerous.This just started in December of 2014.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Fairhope for 35 years. I've heard many complaints about growth, tourists, traffic, barking dogs. Never have I heard a complaint about these planes.

Anonymous said...

Have we had any teachers from Missouri move here recently?

Anonymous said...

What happened to government transparency? Those people should be in jail for not following the state sunshine meeting law!

Anonymous said...

The person who is posting pro noise pollution comments should be ignored he works for the government he is on the airport board shame on you!

Anonymous said...

I am a citizen of Fairhope, a proud American and love these aviators who will fight for freedom and the right to free speech. I am in nobody’s pocket, have a clear and free mind to make up and express my own opinions. What I do not do is try and stop others from expressing their self’s. It’s called a Democracy.

Anonymous said...

The politicians have sold this town out it is time to throw all the bums OUT.Election day should be very interesting this year in Fairhope.

Anonymous said...

The Fairhope Times is giving the citizens a voice too bad we can't hear it over the loud droan of diving planes.

Chris Riley said...

I love the sound of the planes flying overhead in their training exercises and hope I will ALWAYS here these familiar sounds. It's a sound I associate with this beautiful area I am lucky enough to call home. Fly high planes, I will be listening and watching with a smile :)

Anonymous said...

We all need to try to follow the Golden Rule and develop some compassion for our fellow citizens who are suffering instead of the usual cruelty and meanness.

Pray for Fairhope.

Anonymous said...

I'd hate to think of the suffering we'd be going through if it wasn't for our military!

Anonymous said...

whew glad I am outta there it can't be good for resale

Anonymous said...

The federal funding for the airport comes from an aviation trust fund that receives its revenues from an aviation fuel tax, paid for by the users. If Fairhope does not accept these funds then they are passed to another airport in Alabama.

Anonymous said...

Blog administrator, please state the fact that the noise meeting was attended by only 3 airport board members and not the full board as erroneously reported.

Publisher said...

Any careful reader can plainly see we never stated that 'all board members' attended, just that there was disagreement -- and that two independent witnesses reported to us that was the case.

One has since recanted her e-mail to us (under odd circumstances) and said only three were there, but there is new information from a third witness the actual number may have been four.

If and when we find hard evidence either way, we will update again.

One thing is certain though, this committee has not been distinguished for its transparency in recent months, a fact reported here before.

Anonymous said...

fuel tax? so we can get the federal money without having to throw out the red carpet for the loud planes all day long?

Anonymous said...

The residential area within Fairhope city limits is not an appropriate place for performing ongoing military aerobatics training. These noisy intrusive aerobatic maneuvers should be performed instead over the miles and miles of open undeveloped land and farms that are all around Fairhope. Times have changed - Fairhope is far too populated for noisy, intrusive and possibly dangerous military aerobatics to be conducted on a daily basis DIRECTLY over our homes, schools and hospitals.

Publisher said...

Comments are closed due to repetition.

Anonymous said...

When the airport was built years ago, that WAS all farmland. Someone got greedy and decided it would be great developemnet.

Anonymous said...

I am a board member on a Property Owners Aaaociation our biggest complaint in our subdivision is loud planes all day and night.We even have helicopters and large jumbo jets all flying at very low altitude.The person responsible besides our local elected officials is the person assigning the aircraft to Fairhope.No one is against the students the problem is the the with the C.O.of Whiting Field.

Anonymous said...

I am embarrassed to have relatives to my house the last time I did they could not believe the number of planes and the noise.

Anonymous said...

We need to organize and take legal action.The naval station needs to be notified in writing that they are causing a hardship to this community.Legal action had been successful in many cases around the country.They will eventually move but only if mandated by a court.

Anonymous said...

Comments are closed but you allow the one complainer to post 4 in a row?

Anonymous said...

Agreed let's organize I can get at least 20 home owners.

Anonymous said...

These planes are deliberately flying over homes.They are using the homes as markers they are not even trying to be considerate.

Publisher said...

You may continue to post here, as long as it is not repetitive.

Airport Authority or city council members are asked to identify themselves.

Anonymous said...

I can get 2000 homeowners for keeping the planes

Anonymous said...

Somebody ought to notify the FBI about what is going on too since millions of federal dollars are involved and state laws are apparently being deliberately ignored to keep the whole truth from the public.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that pro noise complaint Jack Burrell

Anonymous said...

How many planes?