Whidbey Island realtors draft new jet noise disclosure

In response to community criticism, Whidbey Island’s realtor group has penned a new noise disclosure form concerning jet noise from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. - Contributed photo
In response to community criticism, Whidbey Island’s realtor group has penned a new noise disclosure form concerning jet noise from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Whidbey Island realtors have drafted a new, more detailed noise disclosure form for homebuyers following resident criticism that they were not properly warned about Navy jet noise.

Controversy over the Navy’s touch-and-go operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and Outlying Field Coupeville this year reached a breaking point when a citizen’s group filed a lawsuit against the Navy in July.

The Navy has initiated an Environmental Impact Statement on the new EA-18G Growler aircraft which some believe is louder than previous aircraft. In addition, the Navy has conceded that in 2011 and 2012, the number of touch-and-go operations did exceed their estimation by more than 3,000 each year.

The Navy suspended operations at OLF in May, but have announced plans to resume Jan. 6.

In response to resident complaints about a perceived lack of disclosure about jet noise, the Island County Board of Commissioners directed Planning Director David Wechner to draft a memo concerning the county’s ordinances about aircraft noise. Wechner, who assumed the position in July, said his research found that the county has two noise disclosures in its code. One disclosure is found in the county’s building code and another in the “Airport and Aircraft Operations Noise Disclosure Ordinance” to be used for real estate transactions.

Currently, local realtors give prospective homebuyers a version of the shorter building code disclosure that was copy written by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

“It has been brought to the county’s attention that the Northwest Multiple Listing Service copyrighted a document in 2001 titled Form 22W, apparently used by some real estate agents in Island County as a noise disclosure statement,” Wechner wrote in his memo to the commissioners. “This department does not have involvement in the daily activity of the real estate market, nor is this department aware of what disclosures are being provided by the real estate community in real estate transactions; however, it appears the copy of Form 22W provided to this office does not contain both required disclosure statements, nor cite applicable County Code.”

The Whidbey Island Association of Realtors met Friday morning in Freeland to review and discuss a newly-drafted noise ordinance that addresses the concerns of both the county government and its residents, said Jason Joiner, the group’s government affairs director.

Joiner said that the association has been working with the Multiple Listing Association, which issues the official disclosure form, to come up with the new draft that includes language from both of the county’s existing noise disclosures and cites the corresponding code.

A statement released by the association states that it is the aim of local realtors “to ensure that the noise disclosure form utilized by our members, and other licensees, is in compliance with Island County code.”


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