Beach & Navy can't tell where they're going even with a map



Beach Officials, Altered Maps or Altered States?

What a fiasco last week when Beach officials discovered the Navy had redrawn the noise and crash zone maps for NAS Oceana.

Everybody, electeds and retainers, copped a Sgt. Schultz plea -- "I know nuuusssing!". Congressman Schrock says he was mystified! Recall that he ran on a promise of close liaison with the Navy because of his unique qualifications as a former Navy Public Affairs Officer! 

Remember Linkhorn Elementary School? Several years ago we were told by the City and the Navy that the school was in a potential crash zone - a new one was built outside the zone with federal financial help. Then in a Pilot article (could have been the Beacon) a year or two ago, the Navy was quoted saying that the maps had been revised and the old Linkhorn school site was no longer in a crash zone. Perhaps that real estate was just too valuable to be in a crash zone.

But the obvious question remains -- How can City Officials say they didn't know? I remember reading the article and it clearly quoted the Navy saying the maps had been revised. In the recent Pilot front page article (Beach Officials Want Answers On Navy's Altered Maps,8/15/02) that started this dust-up, the City said it was never notified.

Now about those revised maps that appeared in the 8/15/02 Pilot article?

Some questions and thoughts come to mind.

  • How did the noise zones get smaller when no one denies that the newer Hornets are noisier? It would be interesting to see the Super Hornet's noise maps for Cherry Point.
  • The noise pattern extending over the beachfront, for the long final approach to NAS Oceana's main runway shrank dramatically. Look closely at how the noise zone was gerrymandered around the White Elephant Grand hotel project at 31st Street! Maybe this new hotel will come with a force-field to fend off jet noise. Tell us that nobody but the Navy had a hand in revising these maps.
  • On the southern end of the noise zone map (Gen Booth & PA road), notice the sound contours make 90 degree turns and have straight edges! Have they revised the laws of physics for sound propagation? Again it looks like, contrary to denials, someone other than Navy made a contribution defining which areas (developments) were noisy and which were not.
  • The revised crash zone at the northeast end of NAS Oceana's main runway defines an entirely new approach pattern to that runway, much wider with a different entry/departure heading than that shown on the old map. This is the one redirected over the Marine Science Museum. The new flight pattern takes aircraft directly over the residential areas north of Lake Redwing, but the corresponding noise zone map doesn't reflect that change. How much of this is science, and how much is PR?
  • The ground track of the final approach to NAS Oceana's main runway is about two blocks away from where the 31st Street hotel will (may) stand. The City is proposing skinny 300' hotels(!), or is it now 250'? Remember the Pavilion hotel, on the same flight path, 15/20 yrs ago had its designed height limited after safety complaints by the Navy.

Beach Officials swear that they are coordinating closely with the Navy, but this partnership seems to be in a "don't ask - don't tell" phase.

DA - Virginia Beach