Island County Hides Illegal Jet Noise Levels from Home Buyers
The noise level at homes under Growler flight paths reaches 134 decibels, scientifically compared to more than four jack hammers tearing up your driveway. (See link below) How did Island County hide this noise from families who thought they were buying their “dream home?” Simple. They changed the Noise Disclosure from one of the best in the U.S. to probably the worst. (See Note below)
In 1992, Island County adopted a Noise Disclosure that was an effective document, clearly informing buyers of the noise from “military jet aircraft” at OLF Coupeville and other locations. (See link below) Although now outdated, it did state that practice sessions run day and night, and the noise level could exceed 100 decibels.
In 2002, the disclosure was changed significantly. (See link below) Notice the NMLS copyright at the top, four very misleading sentences in fine print in the middle, and a place for buyer signatures at the bottom. What does it now disclose? “Military jet aircraft noise” became “significant airport noise,” and all of the additional information that the county knew buyers needed in 1992 was not included.
In addition to the disclosure that buyers sign, the county also has a 2002 Noise Ordinance. At the top, it says “approved by the WA State Building Code Council.” It is referred to in the 2002 Noise Disclosure, but the only clue that it might be helpful for a non-builder is the statement that there may be building restrictions on the property, and a buyer should consult the ordinance to see if that is the case.
What happened to Island County’s stated intent for this disclosure to “protect the public health, safety and general welfare by providing for full disclosure?” It appears that the county threw home owners under the bus to meet the needs of realtors who copyrighted it, builders who approved it, and the county, who was willing to state an honorable intent and then intentionally mislead buyers.
Buyers are required to sign this disclosure so that the claim can be made that they were told. The new disclosure freed commissioners to side with OLF Supporters at their meetings, sign a formal resolution to support the noise (See link below), and wear “I love Jets” T-Shirts at their meetings. Instead of taking responsibility for the problem, they suggest that the agonizing lives of these families is a patriotic sacrifice they should be willing to make. The unbearable noise is the sound of freedom! If these families loved the Navy/our country as much as OLF supporters, they should be willing to endure flight deck conditions, make do and shut up, or move. And, hard as it is, many of them do, but the next wave of misled complainers just moves in right after them.
Why doesn’t the Navy, with years of experience and millions of dollars invested in preventing buyer’s remorse in communities like ours, take on their mandated leadership role? It turns out that the Navy Liaison (and who knows how many more in the Navy hierarchy) thinks the 1992 disclosure is the same one that is still in use to protect buyers today. She emails it out to show how good it is, and she’s not alone. Most people on the island have been duped. I guess it serves a purpose to blame buyers for the mess we find ourselves in now. If they would all just move back to where they came from . . .
noise doubles with every increase of 10 decibels, jack hammer compared to 110 decibels: http://www.lni.wa.gov/wisha/noisebank/noisebasics.pdf
Note: (Google “county noise disclosure” to see how exceptionally good most disclosures are.)
1992 Island County Noise Disclosure: http://www.islandcounty.net/code/documents/ICC09.pdf. See page 402.
2002 Island County Noise Disclosure: www.islandcounty.net/planning/pdf/ordinances/noisezone_ord.pdf.
County Resolution in support of OLF: http://www.islandcounty.net/commissioners/Agenda/2013/081213-COMM-2.pdf