Market Watch is reporting the following: "The Justice Department and the U.S. Navy have reached a settlement agreement with approximately 3,400 property owners in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Va., regarding litigation relating to jet noise at a naval air base. Under the terms of the agreement, the participating plaintiffs agree to dismiss their claims and acknowledge that the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability by the United States.
"'We are pleased that the federal government and residents near the Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Fentress have been able to reach an amicable resolution in this matter and avoid further litigation,' said Matthew J. McKeown, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. 'This resolution signals an end to six years of litigation and provides positive results for the citizens as well as the government.'
"The class-action lawsuit stems from the relocation of 156 Navy F/A-18 C/D Hornet fighter jets from Cecil Field, Fla., to Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., between December 1998 and July 1999. Plaintiffs own approximately 2,100 properties and alleged in a group of nine lawsuits filed between April 2001 and June 2005 that the introduction of the Hornets resulted in a substantial increase in overflights and jet noise. Under the settlement, the federal government will pay the plaintiffs an amount not to exceed $34.4 million."
As one who flew out of NAS Oceana for more than 15 years (and who also owned property under the landing pattern) all I can say is "are you kidding me?" The base has been in place since 1943. This is nothing but an elaborate drug deal, the result of home builders in collusion with the Virginia Beach city council wantonly ignoring the existence of a "master jet base" in their midst. This is the same sort of activity that landed NAS Oceana back on the BRAC list for the next go 'round -- a wreckless disregard for existing jet traffic (and known future requirements) in the face of money-making opportunities.
In the meantime pilot training has been affected by "noise abatement" rules that grow more restrictive with each rewrite until fighter pilots might as well be driving Boeing 777s. And now the tax payer takes it on the chin on the order of $34 million because of underhanded civic dealings and stupid homebuyers?
Ridiculous . . .