To the Editor:
The continued gathering of concerned citizens, and neighbors of the Great Barrington Airport, at the regularly scheduled meetings of the Selectboard is proof that our Democratic form of government (every person has a voice) is alive and well. To the credit of the Selectboard, all points of view have been given equal time to present their position, except for the last meeting where, curiously, only proponents of the airport were allowed to speak. We have heard the airport manager, owners and customers speak to us and they would have us believe that the airport is a vital part of the economy and a boon to the entire community.
In fact, the airport only benefits a select few who can afford to own a private airplane and enjoy flying as a hobby… a loud expensive, polluting hobby, similar to jet skis, snowmobiles or motorboats. All these recreational machines are allowed, but well regulated, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In simple terms they are adult toys, hobby machines that roar along carrying their privileged owners to the detriment of neighbors, wildlife and our natural resources.
The Great Barrington airport is not akin to a railroad station, or bus depot or even a taxi station. It does NOT benefit the general community, and in fact harms the immediate surrounding family homesteads with ever increasing “avgas” lead fuel fumes and noise pollution. On the topic of noise pollution, are there any regulations or standards for “mufflers” on airplanes as there are on automobiles? If not, why not?
The Great Barrington airport is insular, unapproachable and unaffordable by the vast majority of residents of the Berkshires. We keep hearing that it has been there for 80 years or so, but the quaint cornfield airport as it was, has gotten much busier, much louder, and is asking for more.
I do not wish for the demise of the quaint Great Barrington Airport, but what is an acceptable level of growth or expansion for this type of facility — bearing in mind it only serves a “bunch of good guys getting together to fly” (quote from the last town of Great Barrington Selectmen meeting by a part owner of the Airport.)
We don’t need giant hangars, we don’t need increased flight schedules, we don’t need more student flight time. We need our homes, our families and our environment to be protected and continue to be provided the quality of life we sought and found when we all moved to the Berkshires.
James August Weber
Pumpkin Hollow Rd.
Great Barrington, Mass.