Crockett Barn quickly becoming ground zero for the “close the OLF” crowd (including video)

A June 29th meeting at the Crockett Barn promises “music and fun and a potluck” and a chance of working towards the goal of closing NOLF Coupeville.

“The sound of freedom heard in Oak Harbor is the deafening sound of the demise of central Whidbey and Coupeville, one touch-and-go at a time…We do not, cannot, and shouldn’t have to settle for mitigation.”

The above closing, from a four-minute oration, received HUGE applause by the crowd assembled on June 23rd at the Coupeville Recreation Hall. The meeting was called for by Island County Commissioner Helen Price-Johnson and Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard. The purpose of that meeting had been advertised (officially) “to identify impacts and suggest mitigation strategies”, but, just as previously predicted would occur by Island Politics, the meeting proved to be a rallying event for the “close OLF Coupeville” crowd.

A spokesperson for Citizens of the Ebey Reserve, describing themselves as “canaries in the mine”, promised residents who come to the Crockett Barn on June 29th a “new noise study” demonstrating that EA-18G Growlers are louder than EA-6B Prowlers. The event promises “music and fun and a potluck” and a chance of working towards the goal of closing NOLF Coupeville.

“Mitigation is not possible” according to their spokesperson, and, they claim, jet noise is having a detrimental effect upon people both in the Coupeville School District and at Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville.

I still contend that Island County is very culpable in enabling this situation to have materialized by their failure to establish and then to enforce Accident Potential Zones around OLF Coupeville, thus allowing encroachment to occur near the OLF.

The below video is one of 12 YouTube videos of that June 23rd meeting posted by AvgeekJoe.


  1. So the Crockett Barn is the focal point?

    Interesting that the Crockett Barn was allowed to encroach on the NOLF and it’s neighbors by our (at the time) 3 Democrat Commissioners John Dean, Angie Homola and Helen Johnson. These 3 voted against keeping conditions set by a hearing examiner that restricted usage of this facility.

    Of course the $3500.00 donation to Angie Homola and the $2000.00 donation to Helen Price Johnson from Paula Spina had nothing to do with that decision…

    1. Back in 2010, at the time the permits for Crockett barn were being argued:

      …”(Paula) Spina volunteered to hold the community meeting to determine people’s concerns about the rural event center and find ways to mitigate those concerns….”

      Perhaps even more duplicitous (if that’s possible), Ken Pickard said of those opposing the Crockett Barn permits:

      ““These people are the classic NIMBYs,….”

      See: “Concerns aired about Crockett Barn events

    2. I think it’s time we had a real policy-making study here.

      Is a barn and an Ebey’s Reserve worth so much financially that we should build a new OLF to the tune of hundreds of millions out at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation or China Lake?

      Is it really worth it to honour Island County’s decades of planning department and Island Transit’s planning disassters?

      Is it really worth it to let the opposition win without a valiant fight for the US Navy, KNRA and all that is American?

      That’s what I mean by cost-effective.

      1. Joseph, we have had “policy making studies”. Time and time again this issue has been revisited, the great turkey buy-out, WISE, several Navy studies and now the Citizens of Ebeys Prarie or what ever they are calling themselves now.

        We need to state the facts. Period. We need to remind people of the noise disclosure they signed and press to strengthen our existing noise disclosure ordinance. The community needs to come together and make the information from the existing studies publicly accessible and in doing so reinforce why the Navy community is welcome here.

        So far we have seen no support for the Navy…

        …and in a Navy town.

        The Chamber of Commerce? The Navy League? County Commissioners? Oak Harbor City Council? Anyone?

        I just don’t know what to say Joseph. It does appear that you are the LONE VOICE supporting the Navy here in the area…
        …and you don’t even live here.

        What does that say?

        1. Oh there’s support.

          I am certainly beating the drum for “JUST. THE. FACTS.” That is, when I’m not reduced to screaming through windows for my heroes:

          Too many in the OH community are sleeping. Agreed in full.

          That said, if these folks get their EIS we are going to have a grand royale fight on our hands. Enough fight to spread around.

            1. Well I hope I’m not becoming too big in the big head but it’s nice to know I’m in the lead of that support.

              Wow, just wow.

              I’ll keep on keeping on.

              1. When you think you are leading, sometimes it’s a good idea to turn around to see who is actually following you and/or who is actually walking beside you.

        2. Just perhaps Joe IS the only supporter for the navy! Are you all getting the picture yet???

          1. Sorry, most of us do not live in the vacuum of Coupeville.

            The only picture that we are getting is one of a few very selfish vocal people who knew what they were getting into when they signed a disclosure statement when they bought property here.

            If you were unaware of the noise that has been here since August of 1967 and bought property here anyway you were either taken by the local real estate agents or just plain ignorant.

            This is not a new issue, if you have lived here for any length of time you would know that.

            Every few years we see a group like yours pop up making the same claims that were made years ago…nothing new here…just a new cast of characters that think the sun revolves around them and them only.

          2. Are you insane?

            Oh that’s right you block people who disagree with you and stand up to you on Facebook.

            Trust me Michael, isn’t for you.

            Growler Friday can’t come soon enough. The guys are gonna afterburn on takeoff and with their face-melting soundtrack rock your world.

            1. Joseph,

              You will soon realize that people like Mr Monson are not interested in a conversation with those that oppose them. They are interested in only telling their story and having their side told, facts have a habit of getting in the way of that process.

              That is why we see closed meetings and closed surveys, if they do not close the debate to others those inconvenient troubling facts arise that makes their claims rather pathetic…

              We do allow people like Mr Monson to comment here even though they may be able to block conversation and other opinions elsewhere. We are interested in hearing their side of the story even if we do not agree with their story, too bad it doesn’t work both ways.

              1. I am interested too in hearing the lunacy… and seeing the fire… and walking towards it.

                If only the local Navy League/Oak Harbor City Council & Mayor would walk towards the fire…

                If only Commish Price-Johnson had it in her to stand up to her base with more than just enforcing “ground rules” when that bully Maryon Attwood went off…

                If only the NASWI command staff would “get it” that putting the facts out there about the OLF would end this

                Oh well. If the rumor is true there is a highly likely EIS, we’ll get our chance.

          3. Yeah, if there is a proper EIS…mightn’t it have been a good idea for the gov’t to do a proper one to begin with, with regard to the Growlers vice recycling the LeMoore Super Hornet EIS?

  2. An insightful comment over at the WNT Facebook forum for their article on the June 23rd meeting was made by – Thomas Kosloske · Top Commenter:

    “So apparently the issue has nothing to do with the health of central Whidbey residents, including children, as this was the most popular solution of the crowd:

    “The most popular, with 68 votes, was to move all touch-and-go operations to Oak Harbor.”

    So apparently these selfish central Whidbey residents could care less about the increase in touch and go and the health impacts to North Whidbey residents and children – just not in my back yard.”

    1. Gents,
      The vote was to close OLF.
      The meeting organizers insisted on a mitigation option.
      Everyone thought that was dumb, hence the second vote.

      1. In other words, despite the meeting being billed as a means to look for solutions that were under the control of the publicly elected officials who called the meeting, it was really just a “Close the OLF” rally, sponsored by Helen Price-Johnson and Nancy Conard, and it was limited mainly to folks of that closed mindset.

        1. It was advertised as a meeting to discuss the “distress” of the community not look for solutions. It was a “close the OLF rally” and sbrought to us by one of our County Commissioners.

          It was closed because they did not want any dissention among the ranks of the “distressed” people of Coupeville.

          It was organized by Helen Price Johnson who would not be an elected official in this county unless she kow-towed to local special interest groups.

          Now that the people really know where Helen Price Johnson stands with her support of your group and closed meetings, her support of the Island Transit facilities encroachment on the OLF and her willingness to allow development like the Crocket Barn in an existing environment where it is obviously not acceptable the people outside of your very small interest group will vote her out of office at the next election.

          Actions speak much louder than words…and there will be a price paid for those actions.

        2. Yeah, ain’t it cool? Kind of like the opposite-spectrum closed mindset that the Navy has the right to do whatever they want, whenever they want, where ever they want.

          1. Seeing how the US Military has had a massive presence on the Islands since the 1890’s it is not too surprising eh?.

            Fort Casey, Fort Ebey, Fort Whitman, the 2 listening posts on the West side of Whidbey Island. Monroe Landing airfield, Ault Field, Seaplane base, Polnell Point firing range, Greenbank bombing range, Strawberry Point survival area, OLF Coupeville, the small arms range where Joseph Whidbey State Park is now located. At one time we actually had a railroad on the Island, it ran from Rockey Point to where Joseph Whidbey State Park is now and was used for aircraft gunnery practice in WW2 and the Korean War, the sand dunes at Rocky Point are littered with millions of spent .50 caliber bullets. All of these and many more forgetten and abandoned facilities show a very substantial military presense on the Island, a presence that started before the turn of the last century. I guess as a relative newcomer you would not have a concept of the historical military presence here on Whidbey so I can understand why you may think the military has no right to do what they do. History shows the militaries historic presense here.

            I understand that you are a newcomer to the area but the militaries history and activities are well known to all that have lived here for any length of time. Most of the old timers that were stationed at these facilities are now dead but they are still alive in many of the peoples memories that are still alive and residing on the Island.

              1. The newcomer comment was directed at your apparent lack of knowledge of the past and continuing history of the military on the Island. For those of us that have lived here, know the history of the Island and watched the various debates and comments from groups that have been against the OLF over the years this is more a case of deja vu than anything new.

                The facts are that the military has done what they want and have done since before 1900.

                1. The mindset that I am against is that the military was/is/will be here that they should be allowed to do as they please. The people who lived/live/will live here need to understand that and just shut up or move.

                  This type of thinking has worked to the detriment of the populace in areas that suffer from poor water quality, poor air quality, and poor quality of life due to government and military actions/inactions.

                  The military is just another part of the government. The government should not be given carte blanche with regard to the environment and human rights, no matter how it has “always been done”. The military does not condone that type of thinking from within, so why is it okay from without?

                  It is new. The EA-18’s are new. The Navy’s own published facts regarding the EA-18 were new. The Navy either intentionally presented false data or made a great mistake. Either way, the Navy is acting outside of the bounds of their own data, hence, the lawsuit.

                  Just because they are the military doesn’t mean that they can bully the little guy.

                  1. It would not matter to you folks if the FA-18 was “new” or not. The only thing that has worked as a detriment to the populace is giving a voice to those very few people that live here that are against the Navy. Special interest groups like yours rule the day especially here on the Island even though they represent only a small minority. Even from your own studies there is not that much difference between the EA-6B and the FA-18 you are just using the small difference to get what you wanted before this small discrepency.

                    “This type of thinking has worked to the detriment of the populace in areas that suffer from poor water quality, poor air quality, and poor quality of life due to government and military actions/inactions.

                    You are quite the pathetic creature you are. You knowingly signed a disclosure statement that said you bought a home in an area that many would consider to be unliveable and now you want us to believe you are making this an issue because of some greater need and where the military is running over the populace with actions and inactions that is causing “poor water quality, poor air quality, and poor quality of life”.

                    What about your own actions? Where does THAT fit into this? What about YOUR decision to move here knowing that you are buying a home in an area that your disclosure statement stated was considered by many to be unliveable?

                    You take NO personal responsibility so now you are blaming “This type of thinking” for your problems?

                    Yes Robert, the problem lies with you, not the military, not Whidbey Island and not the citizens that are opposed to your thinking…

                    YOU are the problem, not us. You ignored your very well written disclosure statement and now you want everyone else to pay.

                    That is the true meaning of pathetic…

                    1. News flash: I have always lived near air bases since I joined the Navy in 1987. I have been around all Navy aircraft my entire adult life. I am thoroughly familiar with all of the Navy’s airframes from inception through production…

                      Nobody is “…giving a voice” to anybody. It’s an inalienable right. Neither you nor any other person “gives” me a voice.

                      I quit reading when I realized that Hitler was responding.

                    2. ahhh yes…the “Hitler” response. Obviously you have a hard time with reality and the opinions of others. People like yourself always end up comparing others to Hitler when they are faced with facts that they have no answer to.

                      Your “voice” is just a small minority, amplified by our politicians who use special interest groups to curry favor with those who they think they can obtain votes from.

                      Your “voice” is but a minority. Live with it. And AFAIC you can stop reading and commenting here if you cannot answer to the facts in a reasonable manner. It is your choice. We are not here for you no matter what you may believe.

                    3. Your comments about my pathetic-ness and the other personal attacks seem to be in direct contrast to some of your previous comments in another column (and I quote):

                      “He very rarely speaks to the issues and has made his goal in life to personally attack those who he cannot argue against with logic and facts.”


                      “I find it rather amusing that he would rather attack the messenger than attack the message…”

                      I myself fancy the quid pro quo approach. I posted the disclosure statement which I signed when I bought my house, yet people apparently choose to ignore my facts. Not eveyone’s situation is the same.

                      Must be nice in Fantasyland…although It’s A Small World does get annoying after a while.

                      The Navy will be forced to answer to the facts. The quiet skies near my home are proof of that.

                    4. “I myself fancy the quid pro quo approach. I posted the disclosure statement which I signed when I bought my house, yet people apparently choose to ignore my facts. Not eveyone’s situation is the same.”

                      We have not ignored it Robert in fact we use YOU as an example.

                      And if you are unaware the quiet skies near your home are not due to the lawsuit they are due to the sequester. I know you think you have accomplished something but I do not think the results are what you think. To be used as an example of how people ignore their disclosure statement is just priceless…for us.

                    5. Where is the Reply button? Have to post up here to get back to you…

                      It’s not due to the sequester…who fed you that line of bull? Or does that rhetoric please the supporters?

                      As I have said before, and I will say it again: I am fleet reserve after 20 years active duty, I work on the base a GS, and have the inside skinny for BRAC decisions. Trying to cloud the issue with bogus claims about the sequester is, again, disingenuous at best.

                      I only want the Navy to comply with its “agreements” and published information for the good of us and the public.

                      It’s my bread-and-butter too…but only if we comply with the law can we move forward as one team.


                    6. “I only want the Navy to comply with its “agreements” and published information for the good of us and the public.”

                      You have no “agreement with the Navy”, you have a disclosure statement that stated the property you purchased was considered by many to be inliveable due to the noise. What degree of “unliveable” do you not understand? You knew this before you purchased your property and purchased it anyway and now you want to change the world to fix your problem.

                      You are a perfect example of people not being responsible for their own actions.

                      Show us the order from the judge that stopped the flights at the OLF, that should be simple for someone that “has the inside skinny for BRAC decisions” at his fingertips. There is no order from the judge.

                      When did the Navy decide to suspend OLF Operations?


                      When was the lawsuit filed?

                      July 15th

                      Yup… great cause and effect there Robert. Keep dreaming.

      2. You might think it was dumb, but that meeting was planned last May with the input of:

        *Rear Admiral Mark Rich
        *Captain Nortier, NASWI
        *Oak Harbor Navy League forces
        *Oak Harbor City Council
        *Various NASWI officials

        The plan was to try to reason with these folks and mitigate the impacts as a new OLF is hundreds of millions of dollars and takes years to build.

        The plan flailed and failed as I expected it would. At least now the truth is on video.

  3. I’m blushing the Whidbey News-Times agrees with me:

    The overflow attendance is a revelation — the issue of jet noise in Central Whidbey is a concern much greater than a “few disgruntled people” who live near OLF Coupeville.

    Even vocal Navy-advocate and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station supporter Joe Kunzler said the highly-charged gathering was an eye-opener for him.

    Kunzler is correct in his summation that the representation at the meeting was one-sided. It would indeed be constructive for Navy officials to engage in the discussion about OLF Coupeville and its impacts.

    Conard said base leaders weren’t asked to participate in Wednesday’s meeting, that the intention was to hear from Central Whidbey residents and come up with list of community-supported solutions, not create a back-and-forth dialogue.

    While Navy officials weren’t invited to this meeting, there should be a second meeting at a larger venue. The Navy should be invited and represented.

    Clearly the anti-noise momentum is building on Central Whidbey rather than receding. Ignoring the issue won’t make it go away. Conard and Price-Johnson are unclear about what will happen next, but they plan to share findings from Wednesday’s meeting with Navy and Congressional representatives.

    I really think two debatable conclusions can be made here:

    #1. The Whidbey News-Times is back in the land of sanity. We do need the US Navy to clear the air and educate the public directly. Period or we are going to lose NAS Whidbey Island in a tsunami of ignorance.

    Now if these gents get their EIS, we’re going to be drowning in meetings, scoping, the draft study, a comment period, the final study, more comments and then resolution. Years of process funding the environmental industrial complex while according to one Coupeville resident,

    I find it heartbreaking that the most beautiful town and landscape in the whole region might be needlessly decimated. … Oak Harbor’s gain will be Coupeville’s loss, as businesses fail and property values decline. When I try to imagine where this will all end, I come to one conclusion: Coupeville will become a bedroom community for Oak Harbor. Civilians will leave, and will be replaced by Navy personnel, who are the only ones who seem to like the noise.

    If we believe this guy at face value, then there is a need for action now. Not years of an EIS. But no, the opposition is going to drag this out for years. Years.

    Now you know why I consider this a national issue. We’re paying for the Boardman Range EIS right now. We’ll have Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine paying for the OLF Coupeville 2015 EIS I betcha.

    #2. Conard and Price-Johnson are fine Americans and lousy politicians who should realize there was a reason why one realtor at the beginning of the mediated discussion stomped off and said “waste of time”. Perhaps because he’s a businessman who wanted action, not just progressive talk with Commish Helen Price-Johnson being on the right of the room’s occupants. A Commish who shouldn’t be granting building permits like handing out candy and kissing babies. Two politicians who should realize the emotion is building on this issue because of the failure of various individuals to lead with facts.

    That meeting should have been a fact-based confrontation towards problem-solving and bending the arc of the issue away from the “close the base” rhetoric now Ken Pickard is trying to run away from. That meeting should have begun with an explanation why the OLF. That meeting did not need to end with the Citizens for Ebey’s Reserve putting in an advertisement.

    I presume Maryon Attwood Studios doesn’t need another penny for crockpots… after all if you hate jet noise why put your business right under the aerial racetrack for a OLF? Enough said.

  4. Poorly organized meeting even for a special interest group. Who would be allowed to attend was nowhere in the newspaper announcement nor anywhere else I saw or heard from. On arrival we saw signs on the doors that only local folk would be allowed in until 4:20 PM. Just prior to that time the ladies issuing name badges folded up and entered the room. No announcement was made of the fact the room was at fire safety capacity until people begin asking when we’d be allowed in. I believe that there were around sixty people who had traveled and waited to enter and then were denied. But we gotta realize that this “public” event was not intended for the public.

    1. You may want to remember that only after a crowd of patriots stood up did Justin Burnett get in as well…

      I expect tomorrow night’s (Monday’s) County Commissioner Comments to be quite interesting.

      I also appreciate the fire support from the Whidbey News-Times Editorial Board.

      1. True, but Justin getting in was not part of their plan. Paper support is exactly that, just paper, to sell papers. Never count any member of the media on your side. Beware of friendly reporters.

        Going to the potluck?

  5. What should happen now is the Island County building code needs to be changed to mandate acoustic insulation mitigation based on the 120+ DBa publicy claims by COA. If the EA-18G is really that loud, you can not build, buy or sell a property in the flight path of the OLF, until it is health hazard is mitigated. Interiors of Commercial properties need to be below 55 DBa and 65 DBa for residential properties. These values measured and verified by county health dept. prior to closing out the building permit.

    The central Whidbey population can update their business and properties, the cost can be a federal tax deduction. You can calculate the required materials based the night time flight operations 10 DBa penalty requirement of the EIS.  All new construction should meet this requirement.

    If a new EIS is done based on the EA operation increase as claimed in the letter/ law suit from COA, then use the new numbers. Also a full APZ should be done at the OLF. Houses inside the full APZ should also be required to install residential fire sprinklers IAW the new county International building code (IBC) 

    This is not intended to be a grant or tax subsidized handout program. It is a simple change to the Island  County building code to protect the citizens of central Whidbey.  Just like my septic inspection fee, It can be as simple a two or three lines in the code.  If I remodel and the cost is above a small percentage of my property value, I am required to bring the entire property up to the current version of the IBC code by the county. The property owners of central Whidbey should mitigate their perceived health and safety hazards themselves. They should not just move and pass them on, they should be required to fix them, then MOVE.  I am sure if you are required to fix this perceived nuisance it will not be that big of a problem, and the Jets will get a lot quieter. 

    They all singed the noise notification at closing.

    1. Agreed.

      This is madness.

      As far as I’m concerned, IF the cost of a new OLF is < mitigation, then I support these folks chipping in big time for a new OLF at these coordinates:

      46° 28.537’N, 119° 24.738’W

      That’s a spot in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation currently owned by the Department of Energy.

      But again, IF a new OLF there is cheaper somehow, someway than mitigation – sure. I severely doubt it though versus your plan plus some aid for soundproofing, tight zoning restrictions, further notifications of OLF ops, a public education process and the like.

      1. “That’s a spot in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation currently owned by the Department of Energy.”

        Moving the OLF to some place on the other side of a mountain range is not “mitigation”.

        Neither is moving it anywhere that is not a few minutes flight from the NASWI.

        If you were to do that, it is no longer an OLF relative to the main airfield facility.

        1. In North Carolina, the navy proposed an OLF that was 100 miles from base! So what is your point?

          1. I know what the meaning of the word “proposed” means.

            Do you?

            One can “propose” just about anything, even if it’s a ridiculous idea?

            It’s just as ridiculous to “propose” something called an “OLF” at Hanford, WA for NAS Whidbey Island.

            There was also a great deal of discussion about CLOSING NAS Oceana (in Virginia Beach, VA) along with discussion about that “new” OLF in NC.

            NAS Oceana is still open, and there IS NO OLF in North Carolina for NAS Oceana.

            Do you get the point now?

            I am dealing with facts. What’s in your deck, besides innuendo?

            1. The navy wanted to put the OLF there, not the people. They also wanted to buy 33,000 acres, again, the people said NO! To put an OLF 100 miles away was the navy’s idea!

              1. “The navy wanted to put the OLF there…(100 miles away)….”?!?!

                That line is a perfect example of a specious point of argument.

                “…the people said NO!”

                Yes, the people who would have ended up living near the new OLF said “no”. This calls for my fake look of surprise :-o .

                In this case, there are tens of thousands of living people on Whidbey Island who are saying “no” to moving or closing the Coupeville OLF, compared to about 100 vocal folks who say “move it” or “close it”.

                1. “In this case, there are tens of thousands of living people on Whidbey Island who are saying “no” to moving or closing the Coupeville OLF, compared to about 100 vocal folks who say “move it” or “close it”.”

                  Let me add as well that when I tell what is going on in my hometown, folks are shocked and angered by the unjust outrage of this lot.

                  The folks in America are not going to stand for this.

              2. So much misinformation in this (above, Michael Monson) comment.

                I was living in Norfolk/VA Beach area when the issue came up.

                First off, NALF Fentress located in Chesapeake, VA. It currently supports operations not from one, but two Naval Air Stations and some bleed over from the MCAS in North Carolina, along with NAF Washington and MCAS Quantico in Northern VA. So you have trying to do training at an 8k ft runway that is supporting all the E-2C Hawkeye commands (a total of 6 squadrons), all the F-18C/D/E/F units out of NAS Oceana (19 Squadrons) and four EA-6B Units from MCAS Cherry Point and until recently VAQ-209 out of NAF Washington and a USMCR F-18A+ unit out of MCAS Quantico (this unit was recently decommissioned in the last few years).

                So you have at any one time a full air wing to use Fentress and the two major RAGs in the Hampton Roads area (VFA-106 and VAW-120) all trying to compete with space about that city.

                Since the move of all the F-18’s from Jacksonville, FL the Department of the Navy has known there was going to be issues with Fentress and had been looking at mitigation methods. One of the other issues was that in the greater VA Beach and Chesapeake has an anti-Navy and anti-jet noise group in the area called “Concerned Citizens Against Jet Noise” aka CCAJN as a political group since 1997. They have done some of the same tactics and even cussed out legislators (both local and federal) at public meetings; that this blog is attributing to the anti-OLF crowd in Coupeville.

                The Navy tried to mitigate by looking to build near the swamp and farm land of North Carolina, literally 100 miles away or about a hours drive on the roads. The local government in the county that the proposed field was inundated with mail, phone, email and even petitions by CCAJN rally folks trying to keep the new OLF from happening. To the point that as well CCAJN was going to federal court over the EIS’s and telling the farmers in the area they were going to be exposed to cancer from the jet fuel and that the RF energy devices (radar, radio, navigation systems) were going to kill their chickens. In the end the Navy threw up their arms about the plan, since they had explained they were going to keep the E-2s at Fentress and move all of the Hornet ops to the new field at NC. That wasn’t good enough for CCAJN and they supposedly had the petitions proving that the people didn’t want it.

                Because of this decision and the almost constant encroachment of homes into the “red” zones of Oceana, Oceana is now on a BRAC listing last time they went and did it in 2005. With a caveat that if the DoN can’t mitigate successfully all the homes be condemned and bought back by the local government in a 10 square mile radius from the landing patterns, the base is too dangerous to operate and needs to close.

                However, NIMBY struck and as of 2011 when I left the area for the last time the VA Beach government has not followed up on the plan and the DoN is trying to look at where to go to next possibly.

                1. Charles B
                  Do you know if the Commissioners, at least Kelly Emerson and Jill Johnson, have seen the very interesting prespective your 2 posts?

                  If not, would you send them to the Commissioners? If not, I could send them a the IslandPolitics link to the posts but I am sure a more personal communication would have a greater influence on their thoughts
                  I have no confidence in any help from Commissioner Price-Johnson who with much help from ex-Commissioner Homola will do whatever it takes to get votes regardless of facts and moral values

                  1. Bill,

                    To be honest. Due to job changes I have moved away from Oak Harbor and Whidbey Island. Not really caring much that goes on there any more. I just see articles like this and the King 5 News story,
                    and your blog postings keeps me semi-abrest in what was a nice little town to live in and a nice area to raise kids. Now, all the ex-Seattle types who don’t want to live in the city and have country living but not live near the hicks of Skagit have taken over Whidbey and Island county. They are voting in the people they want and the old days of Kojete and their Dutch Mafia running the town are out (and probably have been out since 1998). So in the end you all get who you voted for and if anyone who remembers the 1990’s BRAC with Whidbey on it and remember when all the fears of it closing? Anyone remember when Kojete and his cronies went on bended knee to save the base at DC? I do and I also remember that is what broke him and some of the Island county commish’s in the next election cycle.
                    Also, remember the same folks fighting you here for the OLF are fighting right now in court against the P-8A to come to Whidbey. So if the P-8A doesn’t come and all that is left is the Growler, how soon till the Navy decides that Whidbey isn’t economically worth spending the dollars on? Moving the Growler community on a whole to California again? The EA community use to be at Alameda and in the late 60’s they moved it all up to Whidbey when conversion from EA-3B’s to EA-6B’s happened.
                    The base has also been subjected to noise complaints since the 1940s when the Seaplane base was stood up 1941 and later when Ault Field was stood up in 1942 with all the PB4Ys, PV2s, PV1s, SBDs, etc all the way up through the P2Vs and A3Ds in the 1950s and later the A-6s and EA6B’s and P-3s in the 70’s to now. Noise has been an issue and will always been an issue. Crooked politicos and greedy land developers will also always be an issue and no one talks to each other in a fair or understanding tone. Instead hate is flowing all around.
                    So you can give this note out or not, it really doesn’t matter to me; because with the current trend in downsizing and aversion to bad press. The haters need to ask what will happen if the Navy leaves? Who will move in and if historical trends go with base closures; more than likely you will see a massive loss of tax base and federal funding and the haters will see their taxes go up on land until they were wishing they hadn’t kicked out the Navy.

      2. The cost of extra fuel per cycle and to fly the LSO’s and maintenance crews to Hanford and back would more than double the cost per flight hour for the FCLP’s..

        The entire idea of the OLF is to launch from NUW and be on the “Ball” at max trap weight at OLF. You need to fly the FCLP pattern exactly the same as you fly at the ship: same fuel weight, air speeds, interval, altitudes. That is what the practice is all about.

        Handford is too high, plus with the extra gas required to get back to NUW from Hanford means you could only get two or three passes before you are at bingo fuel. So a 1.5 hour FCLP turns into a three day event for each pilot. You could never get 6-8 pilots qualified within a week before going to the ship.

        Hanford or anything off island is stupid.

      3. Why does it seem that you are the only person that is suggesting that the OLF be moved somewhere else?

        We have an OLF, it is (supposedly) protected by our building codes, AICUZ zones, historical precedence and disclosure statements.

        Your continued comments suggesting other locations for the OLF does not do anyone any favors. I personally DO NOT want MY tax dollars used to relocate something that is and has been well established for generations and does not need relocating except in the minds of a few selfish people.

        Not only are you confusing the facts you are advocating for something that will be the start of the end for NAS Whidbey.

        1. Joe Kunzler either personally fails to comprehend that moving the OLF elsewhere is tantamount to CLOSING the OLF, and/or he is again listening to some of his Navy League buddies, who use the mantel of Navy League membership as the equivalent of wearing a giant “I LOVE the Navy!” button on their chest, but who are really just mostly interested in furthering their own political careers by making suggestions that they believe are potentially politically advantageous (but not real).

          1. The Navy League is a non existent entity on this Island. They only exist for photo ops and the chance to hob-knob with other politicians and the Navy brass in order to wear the “I am a Navy supporter button”.

            If they were really supporters of the military here on the Island we would be hearing more from them. So far we have received nothing but silence leaving those like Helen Price Johnson in charge of giving a voice to the opposition to the Navy.

    2. “What should happen now is the Island County building code needs to be changed to mandate acoustic insulation mitigation…”

      Seems reasonable to me.

      What are the chances that the two publicly elected officials who claim they want to lead on this issue – Mayor Nancy Conard and Commissioner Helen Price-Johnson – will advocate such proactive steps for the constituents who they allegedly represent and/or lead?

      It seems to me, rather, that these local politicians would prefer to act to mitigate NOTHING on their end of the issue, and would rather instead suggest to the Navy to do seriously, most likely impossible and ridiculously expensive things like: make an afterburner-equipped tactical jet aircraft quiet.

    3. “They should not just move and pass them on”

      This has been historically what has happened. That is why we have so many people living in the AICUZ zone and complaining about it.

      One would hope our County Commissioners would step up and at least reiterate the reasons for the existing noise ordinances and disclosure statements but we have heard nothing but silence from the Commissioners. With the exception of Helen Johnson giving these people a voice nothing has been done to speak to the facts that exist in regards to this issue.

      I guess that is not surprising with the history of past actions by our Commissioners. With the Crocket Barn, Island Transit facility and the new Ebeys Prarie Interpretive Center the Commissioners had a chance to stand up and protect against encroachment of the OLF but thay have chosen to ignore the existing situation and instead have the only voice speaking about the OLF coming from the Citizens of Ebeys Reserve and Joseph Kunzler.

      Pretty sad when you have someone like Joseph, someone who does not even live here, as the only voice speaking for the NOLF. Not that Josephs efferts are not appreciated but where are our elected officials? So far we have only Helen Johnson leading the brigade supporting those opposed to the NOLF. Where are our elected leaders that should be defending the Navy and the NOLF? They are apparently AWOL.

      1. Thank you Cliff.

        Commish Jill Johnson, Commish Kelly Emerson I hope you two, step up and at least reiterate the reasons for the existing noise ordinances and disclosure statements. OLF Coupeville needs YOU.

        The enemy thinks if we only give them an EIS that’ll take 3-5 years complete, that’ll solve their problems. Absolutely not.

        1. EIS = analysis of the intuitively obvious: yes, there is jet noise next to and very near an airfield from which jets operate.

          Whether or not an EIS is enacted should not be a “trigger” for whether or not Island County Government acts to mitigate WHAT THEY CONTROL around the NOLF.

          As Cliff correctly surmised above, the ONLY action we’ve seen from Island County Government is support of CONTINUED increasing encroachment upon the OLF and giving a LOUDER VOICE to the noise-malcontents who CHOSE to live near the OLF.

    1. From that above-linked document:

      “Contrary to the assumption in the 2005 EA that the number of flight operations would decrease, the number has actually significantly increased.s According to infõrmation released by the Navy through FOIA, the number of annual flight operations as OlF-Coupeville over the last 5 years is as follows:

      2008 2,549
      2009 5,292
      2010 6,476
      2011 9,379
      2012 9,6696
      2013 – 5,688 through May 31”

      This data actually supports my continued contention that Island County Government should have placed an Accident Potential Zone in place around NOLF Coupeville, just like they did near Ault Field. This number of operations is NOT the small number (below 5,000 per year, I believe) which has been arbitrarily used to justify NOT creating APZs there.

      In NOT doing so, Island County Government has helped to CREATE the now-contentious situation that exists near OLF Coupeville.

      The presumption that, ad infinitum, touch-and-go operations at NOLF Coupeville would always be some ‘small number” was very short-sighted.

      It seems to me that Island County Government – (read the ISLAND COUNTY COMMISSIONERS) should TAKE ACTION NOW to create APZs around NOLF COupeville, or, they can just continue to wring their hands over the issue.

      1. If you have information that refutes the validity of what John has provided, please provide it. So far, you apparently do not.

        1. Apparently you have not read, or are unable to understand the report. I’ll gladly help you with any of the information that’s hard for you to grasp. I’m not being snotty here! It took me quite a while to understand these noise figures, and I have no problem explaining them. Like you, I’m not a scientist, just a guy who has to study things before I speak.

          1. Michael – Your comment was about what John said – not some other report, and that’s what I asked you to clarify for me, but you have not done that.

            Also, you have provided no report. If you have a report that you want to provide, do so.

          1. Michael –

            We have already seen that LETTER from an ATTORNEY. It is linked-to ABOVE.

            In fact, it was PROVIDED by John!

            There are some facts in that LETTER from an ATTORNEY, but many alleged facts in that letter seem to me to be quite REFUTABLE.

            The data contained the “report” at the end of the letter does have some information that is relevant to the issue.

            I would be very curious to know how that information would compare, for example, if such measurements were obtained using EA-6B or EA-18G flight data. The report itself only says that is is “Military jet noise”. The report itself does not specify what from which type(s) of military aircraft the data was obtained.

            Also, “peak” sound levels without duration indicated are not very explanatory.

      2. The world is not flat. The OLF has been there for years, its flat. I came here with the NAVY 68, I have lived all over the island. I stood staff duty officer at NASWI in the 80’s and had to answer the phone when the noise complaints came in. Listen to the callers complaints, Fill out the form, ask the 20 questions, get the address, date of purchase, etc.. and brief the chief of staff the next morning on all the callers. I lived at Troxel Rd and HY20, I was directly under the approach, and familiar with the noise levels. I also worked the flight deck and have been 10 feet for the tail pipe and know what the max noise feels like.

        There is a report at the end of the letter. The noise is in the range where it was predicted to be. It also assumes all the flights were F-18 and forgot to separate the EA-6,. The entire premise is the of the letter is not how loud, but there has been an increase in operations or more cycles/events than the contractors “crystal ball” predicted 10 years ago. Adding more flights, increases the average sound level and it does, is just math.

        The problem is, “you believed the people you bought from” and did not read or full understand the notification in the closing documents. That is your problem, now go fix it. Blow some insulation in the attic, that’s what I did.. 400 bucks and a couple hours time make a huge difference. Home depot has the machine and the glass.

        The OLF is here to stay, like I told Joe moving to another field or building a new one is not going to happen. The increase operational cost of just flying to an alternative field will prevent that. Each pilot has qualification to reach, within a week before he can go to the ship. The start of they period is timed by the sailing of the carrier. You can not FLCP and operate other aircraft from the same active runway. That is why they built the OLF in WW2. That requirement has been pretty constant.

        The NAVY supported the Ebeys Reserve, donated property even brought the gun from Manilla for the State Park. At the time we thought it would help reduce the encroachment around the OLF. Probably using the same cloudy crystal ball as the EA contractor.

        You need to do what it takes to make your self happy. You can stand around and piss and moan and try to get the government to fix it for you. Or you can take action on your own, The letter to the lawyers probably cost more that adding acoustic mitigation to you house.

        The aircraft is not any louder that the stadium gets at the high school on Friday night., Do what I did, when the school district built the new stadium. If you don’t like the noise, mitigate it or MOVE

          1. Fat fingered my reply

            Addendum to my reply to Michael Monson;

            I mitigated first, Then I MOVED
            So the new owner did not have the same problem.

  6. Amazing it is about the ways of the socialist progressives. bribe the local officials(our current and past commissioners included) with nice gifts and monies. In the same mode as Obama does it…These supper wealthy one per centers of the left think they can come to our Island and dictate their socialist and progressive ideas by throwing their money around, wining and dining our local officials, maybe if their lucky, invited to a party on a big yacht in the tropics. These tactics have tainted our political schmoozers and will be remembered in the next election !

  7. The video of last night saying “a majority of folks felt there were significant impacts” is such nice spin of saying actually “an overwhelming majority wanted to close America’s OLF”.

    I think my wingtip listening pods will come quite handy.

  8. Joe, it’s way too boring to wade through the entire meeting! At what time stamp was the comment, please? Many thanks!

    I heartily agree with sentiment here, that all of this could have been avoided long ago! In N.C., the navy was planning on buying 33,000 acres for an OLF, here, there are 677 acres. What’s wrong here? But, developers were too greedy, they wanted money, not safety! Admirals Cove? Give me a break… Those poor people!

    1. “Admirals Cove? Give me a break… Those poor people!”

      Those folks chose to live there. They can choose to move elsewhere any time they like.

      “…developers were too greedy, they wanted money, not safety!”

      Developers can only develop where the Government allows them to do so. Island County Government has allowed practically unfettered encroachment upon the OLF.

      Now, however, present Island County leadership – specifically Helen Price-Johnson – wants to dump responsibility for the situation upon the US Navy and the US Congress, while she pretends to be a Navy supporter with her words, but while her actions as a publicly elected official clearly are along a vector that desires to CLOSE the OLF.

    2. Michael;

      a) 2:18:49. The link only works correctly on desktops as I found out last night.

      b) Perhaps we can buy YOURS at current EA-18G depressed values.

      Let’s start there. A new OLF will cost hundreds of millions. Not going to happen.

      The Coupeville Real Estate Bubble is bursting. KEEP ‘EM GROWLING

  9. “Developers can only develop where the Government allows them to do so. Island County Government has allowed practically unfettered encroachment upon the OLF.”
    You are so right in my eyes! Had the commissioners at that time not caved to the developers, there would be no issue. Ok, they caved, now what? Even the developers couldn’t foresee the EA18G.

    1. There is no new issue now, except the SAME issue that has existed since the OLF was created and jet aircraft started flying there: there is jet noise adjacent to and near an airfield from which jet aircraft operate.

      The people who have chosen to live near that jet airport made a choice.

      It was THEIR choice, and nobody forced them to do so.

      Now, I suggest people sound-proof their homes, just as John has suggested above.

      Should anyone reasonably expect that, as time moves forward, the noise levels near near a jet airfield are going to decrease?

      That’s foolish thinking.

      The entire “EA-18G” versus the previous aircraft is more than just a bit: a sham argument.

      Since you agree that Island County Government is culpable in creating this situation, then it only stands to reason that Island County Government takes action – for WHAT IT CONTROLS – to mitigate it.

      Instead, however, we have Helen Price-Johnson “taking her case” to the Federal Government – the US Navy and the US Congress!

      1. This is a local problem, not a national one. The OLF is a national asset, but all we need is a simple change to the building code. We changed the code to require 5 acre plots unless they were grandfathered or existed. This was to stay rural and reduce the airfield encroachment. That has worked, you can only build inside incorporated areas with less property. This was done to prevent another Admirals Cove. The county commissioners need to step up again and change the code then over lay a full Accident Potential Zone (APZ) at OLF coupeville, not just the clear zone on the NAVY property.

        Allowing Admirals Cove was stupid, just like building a transit center at the other end of the runway. If you think the whining is bad now, just wait until we have a bird strike and loose a Jet down there.

        1. John,
          I agree with you! Thanks for your clear and lucid comment.
          Again…… John, I agree with you.

        2. Absolute agreement except this is a national problem as long as the federal pot of taxdollars is being touched.

          It would be nice for local solutions to be found.

    2. That is no excuse for asking Sarasota and Sedro-Woolley to fund your lottery ticket and lottery winnings of a new OLF to jack up your property values. I read your no-comments blog Michael, you know this.

      So I know as you do that at least half of this issue is $$$ and the real estate bubble blowing up around the OLF. That community of Coupeville will be gone by the time a new EIS is done in 3 or 4 years, right?

      So what’s your plan in the meantime? Think critically.

      1. It is interesting that historically these debates and groups appear to contest the OLF when the property values are down or have taken a dive. I have always suspected that a few well placed vocal people are driving this issue to drive the home and land prices down even further so they can make a few strategic purchases of property and recoup later when the land prices have again risen and the debate about the OLF is over. I would suspect that these few vocal people are lowering the prices in Coupeville area even further than they should be due to the housing bubble. This may be a coincidence but it does seem funny for those complaining about a loss in value to be associated with a group that is making an issue out of nothing that has been around since 1967 and well known about ever since. I guess it is like shooting youself in the foot…

        1. Yup.

          Just take a look at how much lands the Pickard family owns.

          Yes, the one with the guy named Ken who says to all I’m a “hatemonger” for exposing Ken saying “close the base”.

          I swear I get angrier and angrier when I realize morale on NASWI is begin whacked because of… this.

      2. Joe

        You need to understand, once again, THERE WILL BE NO NEW OLF. No replacement, not anywhere. Not Here, Not Virginia Beach, NO where. No Federal tax dollars, no new construction No new airfields fields. Period. NAS Oceana just resurfaced their OLF Fentress a couple months ago. They decided to not build OLF in N.C. until they figure where the F-35 is going to be based. The New OLF was for the F35 not the F18 anyway.

        The facilities we have, are what we have.. The EA-18G is no louder than Century Link Field, at a Seahawks game. The BS COA letter noise survey shows that. This is a LOCAL PROBLEM, Its a building code problem. Stop referring to spending tax dollars on new locations. Change the building codes. We need sound mitigation and a APZ not a new OLF. There will not be a new OLF.

        1. John;

          With great respect I was telling Michael off. I don’t see a new OLF in a 3-5 year timeframe anyway. By then, the 100% preventable by Island County Government Coupeville Real Estate Bust will take its course.

          I agree with you we need a better building code and sound mitigation and an APZ. When those things are discussed, guess who’s going to object? Guess who’s going to support those changes?

          Hint: Your supporters are the same ones who love the EA-18G Growler.

    3. No Michael the earlier developers could not see the EA-18G. But they DID see the A-3, A-6A and the A-6E and EA-6B’s and have ever since August 1967. I find it hard to believe that the A-3 and the A-6’s were quieter than the EA-18G. Of course there were no noise studies done back then so we would not know, people just accepted the fact that they were living near an OLF and moved on with their lives instead of moving here and trying to make it like where they used to live instead of accepting the Island for what it is…

      1. Indeed.

        In fact, one third of EA-6Bs have crashed somewhere on Planet Earth.

        Only one EA-18G has had a type one mishap and that was an engine fire in Guam.

        I’m sure the move of EA-6Bs to the Carolinas should make the Admiral’s Cove folks breathe easier.

        I am pissed off at these fractions of Americans. These fractions are making our heroes feel bad for doing their jobs. These fractions are demanding free speech for thee, but not me. These fractions bullied Helen Price-Johnson into this zip code seating, and of course that was announced on their blog mere hours before the event while I was being taunted online that I’d chicken out.

        I would like to invite to the next major Island County Democrat event Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth to lecture these fractions of Americans on what veterans go through. Not just Garrett Newkirk…

        Well was said by Hating Breitbart: “Breitbart learned from watching Palin fight back. If you stand up against the hate, and walk directly into the fire, you will only grow stronger.” We have a job to do.

        1. “I’m sure the move of EA-6Bs to the Carolinas should make the Admiral’s Cove folks breathe easier.”

          There is no “move of EA-6Bs to the Carolinas”. The USMC has been operating four squadrons of EA-6Bs at MCAS Cherry Point, NC for many decades. They will continue to do so for a number of years hence.

          When the Navy completes its transition of all Navy EA-6B squadrons at NASWI to Navy EA-18G squadrons, EA-6B squadron operations at NASWI will cease.

  10. I would note that for those of us OH and NAS Whidbey Island old timers that have lived around the are a while. The Navy did try and consider moving the Coupeville OLF out to Moses Lake. They plan was during the Reagan Rearmament of the early 1980s and with the increase of squadrons at NAS Whidbey Island, the OLF at Coupeville couldn’t handle the increase in traffic. Add in that some greedy developers had moved to purchase land in areas around Coupeville’s paths that were going to be questionable. So in the end there was a plan to look at reusing the old Larson AFB/Grant County Airfield as a possible field for OLF operations and Emergency operations. There was going to be a permanent unit on station there with enough tools, supplies and components to fix a jet to fly it back to NAS Whidbey if needed and for the most part they would just pretend to be a carrier during the training cycle for the RAGs and workups.

    Grant County Airfield was considered viable as well since it was an large active field and since Boeing and JAL were both using the field for training, there was more that enough space around for almost constant flight operations daily without worrying about noise issues. However, when the notice for proposal went up; some “well meaning” folks from Coupeville, decided to roll over to Moses Lake and do the same thing the folks today are doing. Spread disinformation to the locals and tell horror stories. In the end the opposition was enough that the Navy canceled the plan and kept operations at Coupeville. For a while as well they were thinking of shifting to Skagit International as well, but again hate from the Coupeville area to move and mitigate a noise issue lead to them locals saying “No”.

    All of which only seems to say that Coupeville doesn’t want to close the OLF because every time the Navy has attempted to mitigate the residents have raised a stink in the towns the planned move has gone too. So do you really hate the OLF or are you afraid of the tiny job loss for the folks that work on it that live in your town?

    1. Charles,
      It is certainly nice to see a little historical perspective from those that have lived here.

    2. I expect the same behaviour from Coupeville to keep KBVS, dear ole Skagit Regional, from being the NEW home of Growling.

      I also expect, before this is over, to say, “I regret I have one life to give for America and America’s Navy” and hang from a tree for being a “hatemonger”.

  11. Yeah! Just as predicted…by me ( Robert on June 19, 2013 at 3:57 PM) and decried by subsequent comments.

    Am I psychic or what? It’s almost like I knew what was going to happen!

    1. Decried?

      HERE is the comment to which you allude:

      The comment says:

      “Coupeville residents are the only people who really have the right to comment on what happens in their airspace.”

      Was this original comment made facetiously?

      Or, did you intend it literally?

      1. Coupeville residents have super-human powers vs mere mortals, especially when it comes to government.

        Remember to was Ms Pickard who, according to Homola, etc. initiated a Freedom of Information request for all information regarding the Emersons’ building code violations.

        That request by Ms Pickard was submitted before it was ever known to any but Homola, Dean and a few insiders.

        It was during the weekend that Pickard and the “Save Dean” tribe got these powers.

        How do you think Ms Pickard could have even known what to request in her FOIA request?

        Rich ex-turkey farmers have the $$$ to move mountains or, now, even the US NAVY.

      2. Apparently it was taken literally. The meeting was limited to area residents, right? 98239?

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