Coupeville sends comments on Outlying Field EIS

Coupeville Town Council is asking the Navy to address concerns of health and financial risks to the town and residents when conducting its environmental impact study on jet noise at Outlying Field.

In a letter, approved and sent last week, the council is asking the Navy to address impacts on sleep patterns, hearing and mental health of residents, hospital patients, senior citizens and visitors.

The current established flight pattern for OLF crosses over a portion of the northeast corner of town limits, the letter states.  Coupeville is also home to Whidbey General Hospital and relies heavily on tourism revenue.

The council also requests the Navy address impacts on school children, tourism, historic buildings, housing values and safety in regard to crash zones.

Councilman Bob Clay said he has been contacted by various people in town under the impression that the town has done nothing concerning issues with Outlying Field.

This is not the case, he said, noting Mayor Nancy Conard was instrumental last year in holding a town hall meeting at Coupeville Recreation Hall to discuss public concerns.

He also noted town officials have attended scoping sessions and meet with base officials.

“What we haven’t done is to take a vote,” Clay said, referring to how other municipalities have taken a public stance in support of or against the Navy and Outlying Field.

“All it does is foster one side against the other,” Clay said. “We need to work together for a solution.”

Town officials also asked in the letter that if the Navy looks at mitigating some of these issues, the town be included in the process.

Council requests being involved in any revisions to land use zoning, building code requirements, retrofitting and property acquisition.

Newly appointed councilwoman Pat Powell noted during the discussion she wants to make sure any zoning changes don’t financially hurt residents and potential financial loss be compensated.


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