Letter: Airport expansion will exasperate noise pollution
As a 18 year resident living near the Cottonwood airport, I have a few thoughts about the recent airport controversy:
When I moved to Cottonwood, the airport was a sleepy field used by a couple dozen residents for enjoying their personal aviation hobby. No one foresaw any significant expansion of the airport. The city was actively encouraging residential development around the airport (Cottonwood Ranch, Mesquite Hills etc) and still is (The Vineyards) ... through both the Planning Department and the Zoning Regulations. Over the last almost 20 years, I have experienced little problem with noise ...with the exception of a couple of years ago when helicopters used it as a field for nighttime practice, which has since ceased.
Now, I understand that the airport is being considered as an instrument of economic expansion, and the traffic and services of the airport may increase. This could entail a significant increase in noise pollution. Pollution of any kind, whether noise, chemical, air or light, is best and most effectively addressed before it becomes a problem.
Right now, relatively few people are worried about the problem, but if the conditions change, there are maybe a thousand households that will be directly affected and very unhappy. Anger and discord would increase. This would affect a significant portion of the census of the City,
The airport was established at the present location in a time when mining was the preoccupation of the Verde Valley. It was a time before significant residences surrounded the airport, and jet travel has yet to be invented.
I think we would all agree that another location, perhaps between Cottonwood and Sedona on empty land, would be the ideal space for the airport. But I understand that would be a huge task that would require strong local and county leadership ... although it should be pursued for the long term desirability of Verde Valley life.
So we are left with the current situation. It would be unfair to those around the airport if noise pollution were allowed to materially increase.
People moved into city-fostered housing developments in good faith, on the assumption that the airport would continue operating as it had existed for many decades Turning these fine neighborhoods into undesirable marginal areas, with falling property values would not be in the best interests of the City of Cottonwood or any of its residents.
This has happened in many cities and towns across the country, but we should not be one of them. Successful cities have moved their field, or taken other measures to prevent or abate the situation.
All one needs to do is the put yourself in the place of those who would be affected by increased noise pollution ... would you want this to happen to you?
I suggest that you would not want it to happen, and you would expect your fellow citizens to protect your peace and tranquility just as you would theirs.
“Do unto others...” is relevant here.