Sun, April 05

Editorial: Airplane noise a fact of life if you live in Verde Village Unit 8

Some problems just never go away.

Such is the case with the complaints registered this past week by homeowners in Verde Village about the flight paths to and from the Cottonwood Municipal Airport.

It’s a complaint that has been aired time and again for decades now in the Upper Verde.

Anyone who has ever lived in Unit 8 of Verde Village is well aware of the annoyance of planes approaching for landing at the airport. You are right in the flight path. The noise from the planes is startling.

Especially annoying are the times when flight students from nearby Embry Riddle University do their touch-and-go landing drills at the airport.

It’s as annoying for those in Verde Village Unit 8 as it would be, for example,folks in Flagstaff who live near railroad tracks, or those in Joseph City who live near a power plant.

In each case, you have to ask a basic question: Who was here first? In the case of the Cottonwood Municipal Airport, its history as a local landing strip dates back to World War II. It was a well-established airport long before Verde Village was platted and approved by Yavapai County.

The old adage of “let the buyer beware” also comes to mind in this debate over airplane noise in residential neighborhoods. If you are going to be that upset about airplanes flying over your home, it’s probably not a very good idea to buy a home right in the flight path of an airport.

And as for student-pilot touch-and-go training, Cottonwood Municipal is a public airport. The city cannot pick and choose who can use the airport.

Yes, it can be annoying, but some things you just have to learn to live with.

The flip side of this coin also involves a debate that has been with us for several decades now. In the late 1980s, a fine gentleman from Sedona named Neil Smith tried to convince local leaders in both Cottonwood and Sedona that there was a better way to provide air service in the Verde Valley than what existed with Cottonwood’s small municipal airport and Sedona’s mesa table-top landing strip. Smith championed the idea of a larger regional airport on land that is now the home of Sedona’s wastewater facilities.

Provincial thinking won out in that argument and Cottonwood and Sedona both moved forward with their own separate airports.

Smith’s idea has not completely died, though. Other regional planning studies over the years have also championed the idea of a regional Sedona-Verde Valley airport with some viewing the land along Beaverhead Flat Road as the ideal location. With a major extension of that road as a connector to AZ 260, who’s to say that idea will not one day have merit?

In 20 to 40 years perhaps.

In the meantime, our communities are serviced by local municipal airports. In Cottonwood’s case, the airport was here long before houses began sprouting up in Verde Village.

The best advice available to those who find this to be a nuisance is that you had better learn to live with it.

Or, find another place to live.

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