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Winooski residents applauded when the city council voted to oppose the F-35. Photo: Sarah Harris
Winooski residents applauded when the city council voted to oppose the F-35. Photo: Sarah Harris

Winooski city council says no to fighter jets

Two communities near the Burlington Airport are voting on the F-35 this week. On Monday, South Burlington approved the plane. But the Winooski City Council voted unanimously against basing the F-35 at the airport.

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Lucas, Max, and David Heide. Photo: Sarah Harris

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Reported by

Sarah Harris
Reporter and Producer

Three city councilors and Mayor Michael O'Brien met on Wednesday night to draft a resolution. They'd heard testimony from Winooski citizens, most of whom opposed the F-35, earlier in the week.

The councilors hashed out new language. They worked from an earlier resolution saying the city valued the air guard but was opposed to excessive noise.

The city councilors and mayor wrote a new resolution. Photo: Sarah Harris
The city councilors and mayor wrote a new resolution. Photo: Sarah Harris
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.

"I would ask all those in favor of the motion say aye," said Mayor O'Brien.

"Aye," replied the counselors.

"Opposed?" O'Brien asked.

Nobody answered.

"Motion carries."

Mark Tomase lives in Winooski, and came to both the Monday and the Wednesday meetings. He says he was surprised and pleased by the 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."

Tomase says he's worried about property values.

"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."

Winooski mayor Michael O'Brien 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."

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 15.

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