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Winooski City Council Unanimously Against F-35

VPR/Sarah Harris

Two communities near the Burlington Airport voted this week on whether or not to support an Air Force proposal to base F-35 jet fighters there.

On Monday, South Burlington approved the plan.

But last night the Winooski City Council voted unanimously against the idea.

Three city councilors and mayor Michael O’Brien drafted the resolution.  On Monday they had heard testimony from Winooski citizens, most of whom opposed the F-35.

The councilors hashed out new language working from an earlier resolution that says the city values the air guard but is opposed to excessive noise.

The new document states that that Winooksi is proud of its redevelopment efforts and opposes any noise that jeopardizes its citizens –and its property values.

It also requests that the Air Force not consider Burlington when it decides to base the first round of planes.

After the council voted, the entire crowd stood to applaud.

Mark Tomase lives in Winooski, and came to both the Monday and the Wednesday meetings. He says he was surprised and pleased by at the council’s unanimous vote.

“Well I think because it was clear that the majority of the residents are against it, and that clearly got through to the council,” said Tomase.

Tomase says he’s worried about property values if the F-35 is based in Burlington.

“Our home is our only asset and if it were to lose 10 or 20 percent of its values, that’s the same as taking money out of our savings account, “ he said.

Winooski mayor Michael O’Brian says the council listened to citizen testimony.

“It’s about coming together to come to agreement on the council. And in these things, you have to compromise. And I think everybody compromised,”  O’Brian said.

The council will meet again on Friday to finalize the resolution language and sign the document.

The Air Force draft environmental impact statement comment period ends July 15th.

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