South Burlington, VT — The Burlington International Airport is changing plans after leaders in South Burlington denied the expansion into residential areas.
The rezoning areas included properties near Airport Parkway and the Kirby Road extension.
Some residents were relieved to hear the news, while others said they would not have minded the expansion. One resident, Richard Brice, who lives next to the airport says one thing he can’t stand is the noise of the F-35 airplanes.
“The 35’s are probably one of the worst things that you can hear when you’re standing out here,” he said.
Brice also fears the airport may engulf the community. “To me, it’s a takeover, if they want to expand they wanna take over a lot of property so they can build the airport bigger.”
People in the Chamberlain neighborhood say that is already the case, and point to places that used to be part of the community but have been removed in the past 20 years because of noise regulations involving F-35s.
Nic Longo, the Acting Director of the airport says he hears the community. “We heard them and there is a way to get together and grow even public amenities for that particular piece of land.”
Longo says they need a new maintenance facility for their equipment. “We house tens of millions of dollars worth of equipment that our current existing building is not sufficient for.”
Until that happens, Longo has had to resort to storing the equipment outside. “During the harshest weather season of the Vermont season, it continues sitting outside so this opportunity to build a new facility will continue to house equipment and to sustain longer life for equipment.”
Some members of the community are on the fence about the airport’s plan.
“I’m a little indifferent,” said Dr. Jason Davila. “I do understand both sides of the stories. Whichever is more convenient. It doesn’t really bother me.”
Meanwhile, others like Brice are still skeptical. “I just hope things get better. Is it going to get better? No.”
Longo says the airport will redesign its plan by placing its maintenance facility within its security fence. This area is already zoned for the airport’s use. He says he is looking forward to working with the community.