I live in Coupeville and I fear for the future of Coupeville and Central Whidbey. I believe we will become a very different community if the recommendations the Navy is putting forth in their environmental impact statement, or EIS, are implemented.
Families with school-aged children will hesitate to move here and put their kids in a school where classes are interrupted frequently, where they can’t play outdoors at recess, and where they can’t participate in outdoor athletic programs because of the dangerously high levels of noise. If families aren’t willing to move here we may have difficulty attracting medical doctors, skilled medical personnel and other skilled workers that we need.
Property values in central Whidbey will decline dramatically, lowering property tax income for the county.
People will move away as they find it impossible to live and work under the Growler noise. They won’t be able to sell their homes, so they will become absentee landlords. Many of those leaving will be folks that are active volunteers or provide important skills. Some of them will be people that put in the hard work that make our festivals such a success. Those weekend festivals will be harder to stage, and may become much smaller.
Tourism will decline. This will affect the economy of the whole island, but it will particularly affect Coupeville. Local B&Bs will take a big hit, as well as local businesses. Farmers will be challenged to work in their fields under daily Growler flights.
The Growlers have a high crash rate. I find it outrageous that the Navy is planning to fly planes at Outlying Field Coupeville, or OLF, that we can expect to crash sometime within the next few years and they are planning to manage the resulting fires with a product that will destroy a couple of the town’s wells, especially when there is an alternative product available.
The EIS didn’t address the impact on the local economy, on local housing, or the danger to our water supply. It should. Please send your comments on the EIS to the Navy at www.whidbeyeis.com by Jan. 25.