Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Information Center
January 27, 2011: Navy Announces Stoppage of OLF Study
Currituck County received good news when the Navy announced on January 27, 2011 that it is suspending release and stopping work on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Construction and Operation of an Outlying Landing Field (OLF). The decision can be seen as a victory for Currituck and Camden counties, which have officially opposed construction of an OLF in northeastern North Carolina for several years.
In a message to Currituck County government, the Navy stated it will stop work on the DEIS "until the east coast Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) basing and training requirements are better defined through the development of the east coast basing EIS." According to the Navy's message, development of the East Coast Joint Strike Fighter Basing Environmental Impact Statement will begin no earlier than 2014.
At that time, the Navy will re-evaluate the OLF requirement and potential east coast JSF home basing locations.
One of the five potential sites being evaluated for an Outlying Landing Field was the Hales Lake area of Camden County, overlapping the border of Currituck County. This site has been officially opposed by resolution of the Currituck Board of Commissioners since October 2007.
During its long effort to prevent construction of an OLF, Currituck County worked closely with neighboring Camden County. Both counties received strong support from legislators at the state and federal level, including North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, former N.C. Senator Marc Basnight, and N.C. Representative Bill Owens.
At the local level, many organizations voiced opposition to the proposed OLF. A citizens group, NoOLFCurrituck, provided a tremendous amount of research and information to county officials and helped energize a strong grassroots opposition movement in both Currituck and Camden counties.
February 15, 2010: BOC Resolution Opposes NC's Inclusion in VA Land Use Study
The Currituck County Board of Commissioners adopted a February 15, 2010 resolution to oppose North Carolina's inclusion in a land use study completed for the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.
The Hampton Roads Joint Land Use Study (HRJLUS) was completed in 2005 in partnership by the U.S. Navy and the Virginia cities of Chesapeake, Hampton and Virginia Beach. Neither Currituck County nor other North Carolina localities were invited to participate or consulted within the study process.
A goal of the study, stated in the document's Executive Summary, is to "explore opportunities to reduce noise impacts on communities surrounding NAS Oceana, NALF Fentress and Chambers Field while accommodating necessary growth and maintaining regional economic sustainability." One of the study's recommendations is the pursuit of an additional Outlying Landing Field in North Carolina.
The land use recommendations of the Final HRJLUS were passed into law by the Virginia General Assembly on March 30, 2006.
One of the Navy's proposed sites for a new Outlying Landing Field is in the Hale's Lake area on the border of Currituck and Camden counties. A total of five sites are currently being studied by the Navy.
The Board of Commissioners have officially opposed construction of an OLF in northeastern N.C. since adoption of an official resolution on October 15, 2007.
August 28, 2009: Navy Delays Release Of Site Study
Currituck County residents expecting for several months the release of the Navy's Draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the five possible sites for a new Outlying Landing Field must now wait even longer.
The Navy announced on August 28, 2009 that it has delayed the expected release of the Draft EIS document. According to a Navy press release, it will now coincide with the commencement of the EIS process for homebasing of the F-35C Navy Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). As NAS Oceana is the East Coast master jet base and the home for the F/A-18 C/D aircraft, the Navy will likely consider whether it should be identified as a potential candidate site for the JSF
A new expected release date was not provided by the Navy.
The Navy is considering five site alternatives for a new Outlying Landing Field, which would serve as a practice facility for aircraft from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. One of the five possible sites lies in the Hales Lake area of Camden County, overlapping the border with Currituck County.
Read a copy of the official Navy Press Release
Navy OLF EIS project website
June 22, 2009: Navy Updates OLF EIS Website
In the past couple of weeks, the Navy has updated their OLF Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) website (www.olfeis.com). They have updated their maps and added a land acquisition page to the website.
Please take the time to look over the new map of the Hales Lake Site in Camden County represented on the website. The red dotted oval represented on the map represents an approximate 60 decibel (dB) DNL noise contour (see Understanding Noise Decibel Levels below). You will notice that parts of northern Pasquotank County are now within the new map's 60 dB DNL noise contour.
Below are rough estimates of the distance from the edge of the projected 60 dB DNL noise contour to the following local schools and churches:
The 60 dB DNL (Day/Night Average Noise Level) noise contour on the map represents 24-hour average noise levels. This means that individual noise events during a 24-hour period can be expected to be significantly louder than 60 dB.
In an article written by William Albee of Wyle Laboratories, www.marchjpa.com/docs_forms/dhlnoiseanalysis.pdf, the use of the Day/Night Average Noise Level (DNL) metric system alone is questioned as being flawed system for explaining noise exposure to the average citizen. Mr. Albee states, "This confusion leads to mistrust and the conclusion that DNL underestimates the noise that many citizens experience."
For example, in May 2009, an outdoor rock concert held at the Va. Beach Amphitheater was disrupted roughly every five minutes by deafening jet noise. The jet noise was so loud at times that the concert goers complained of not being able to hear the concert. It was reported that even the band was annoyed by the noise (www.wtkr.com). According to Table B.1 from the Federal Agency Review of Selected Airport Noise Analysis Issues [page B-6] published by the Federal Inter-agency Committee on Noise (August 1992), noise levels by a rock band can range from 108 to 114 dB.
The Amphitheater is located within the 65 dB DNL noise zone approximately 5 miles from Oceana. Even though the 24-hour average noise level is 65 dB, the individual noise event that occurred during the concert was likely significantly higher...high enough to drown out a rock band.
Noise Glossary and Acronyms
Noise Glossary and Acronyms dB - The decibel (dB) is the unit used to measure the magnitude or intensity of sound. It uses a mathematical scale to cover the large range of sound pressures that can be heard by the human ear. A 10-dB increase will be perceived by most people to be a doubling of loudness. For example, 80 dB typically seems twice as loud as 70 dB.
dBA - the A-weighted Decibel (dBA) is the most common unit used for measuring environmental sound levels. It adjusts, or weights, the frequency components of sound to conform with the normal response of the human ear at conversational levels. dBA is an international metric that is used for assessing environmental noise exposure of all noise sources.
DNL - In simple terms, Ldn or Day Night Average Sound Level (DNL) is the average noise level over a 24 hour period except that noise occurring at night (between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.) are artificially increased by 10 dB. This weighting reflects the added intrusiveness of night noise events attributable to the fact that community background noise typically decreases by 10 dB at night. Under Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 150, the FAA has established Ldn/DNL as the cumulative noise exposure metric for use in airport noise analyses.
AICUZ - Air Installation Compatible Use Zone
The purpose of the AICUZ (Air Installation Compatible Use Zone) Program is to protect the health, safety and welfare from noise and hazards through compatible development in the airport environment. The program was instituted by the Department of Defense to address the problem of land development surrounding military air installations. It provides for the development and implementation of a plan to determine those land areas for which development should be significantly influenced by the operation of the airfield. These land areas are then designated as the AICUZ for that installation.
Basnight, Owens Send OLF Letter to N.C. Congressional Delegation
Following is a letter sent by N.C. Sen. Marc Basnight and N.C. Rep. Bill Owens to the North Carolina Congressional Delegation, provided by Sen. Basnight's office:
Dear North Carolina Congressional Delegation:
We are writing to inform you of the North Carolina General Assembly's unanimous opposition to the Navy's plans to build an outlying landing field in northeastern North Carolina. Last month, both the North Carolina House of Representatives and North Carolina Senate unanimously passed House Bill 613, which says that the consent of the state is not granted to the federal government for acquisition of land for an outlying landing field in a county or counties which have no existing military base where aircraft squadrons are stationed. This new law, which the Governor signed April 30th, will make it more difficult for the Navy to force an OLF into Camden, Currituck, or Gates Counties and sends a strong, unified message of opposition from our state. We are including a copy of the legislation for your information.
All along, we have known that an OLF in northeastern North Carolina would benefit the people of Virginia and would be built to alleviate noise and congestion at Naval Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. For years, the Navy has refused to admit this very basic rationale for their proposed OLF.
Therefore, we respectfully ask you, as our federal representatives, to urge the Navy to move some of the squadrons based at Oceana to the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point. This would alleviate the need for an OLF in northeastern North Carolina and our state would benefit from the employment surrounding these additional squadrons. If an OLF is needed, North Carolina's new law would allow one near Cherry Point, in an area of our state that wants it and receives the economic benefits as well.
North Carolina is the most military-friendly state in the nation and we intend to remain so. It is our hope that we can work toward a solution that allows the Navy to meet its training needs and continues the proud tradition of cooperation between the military and our state.
Marc Basnight Bill Owens
Governor Perdue Signs Important Legislation Regarding OLF
Governor Beverly Perdue recently signed House Bill 613 into law, boosting opposition to development of the Navy's proposed Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in northeastern North Carolina. The newly-enacted legislation denies consent to the Navy acquiring land for an OLF in counties that do not currently have military bases with aircraft squadrons stationed there. Although the legislation may not block the Navy from taking land for the proposed airfield, it gives the State continued jurisdiction to regulate those areas.
Under the legislation, North Carolina would retain all sovereign rights over land used for an OLF including enforcement of criminal laws, public health and environmental laws, and conservation of natural resources.
Wildlife Federation Issues Resolution To Oppose OLF
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation adopted a resolution on February 28, 2009 to oppose construction of an Outlying Landing Field at the Hale's Lake site in Camden and Currituck counties, and at the Sandbanks site in Gates and Hertford counties.
Click here to view a copy of the NCWF resolution.
Citizens Group Reminds All to Contact Elected Officials
Representatives from the Camden and Currituck Citizens Against an OLF remind all concerned residents to contact elected government officials in regards to the Navy's proposed Outlying Landing Field in Hales Lake. Visit noolfcurrituck.org to find contact information for state and federal officials.
Citizens Group Produces Report on OLF Impacts
Members of the Currituck Citizens Against an OLF have written a report entitled "Outlying Landing Field and Its Adverse Effects Related to Noise." The report includes the group's research and views regarding the possible effects of noise if an OLF were constructed at the proposed Hales Lake site. This paper also examines possible impacts of noise upon children and the educational process.
Read the complete report.
Navy Selects Contractor to Develop EIS
Ecology and the Environment, Incorporated has been selected by the U.S. Navy to provide administrative and technical support for the development of the Outlying Landing Field Environmental Impact Statement regarding the proposed site in the Hales Lake area.
According to the Navy, E & E, Inc. participated in both the original Environmental Impact Statement for the Introduction of F/A-18 E/F Aircraft to the East Coast of the United States (2003) and the follow-on Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (2007). For more information about E & E, Inc., visit the firm's website .
Deadline Passes for EIS Public Comment
Though the date for submitting public comment to the Navy has passed, Currituck County residents are encouraged to continue expressing opinion on the proposed Outlying Landing Field. Please contact local officials, state and national elected representatives, and the Navy to express concerns or support for the proposal to place an Outlying Landing Field in the Hales Lake area.
A deadline of Saturday, June 7, 2008 has passed for Currituck County residents to register comments regarding the Navy's proposed Outlying Landing Field and make suggestions towards the Environmental Impact Statement. The Hales Lake area is one of five site alternatives being considered by the Navy and lies on the Camden-Currituck border.
Written statements were to be mailed to Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic, 6506 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23508, Attn: Code EV OLF Project Manager.
Hales Lake Site on Navy's Revised OLF List
A site on the Navy's new list of alternatives for an Outlying Landing Field would overlap into Currituck County if built.
The Navy revealed a new list of possible sites for an Outlying Landing Field on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 that includes a location centered in the Hales Lake area of Camden County. If constructed, the site would overlap into Currituck County.
This site is among five locations identified by the Navy as having "operational, environmental and population characteristics that make them viable site alternatives for further analysis", according to an official statement released by the Navy.
Of the five sites, three are located in Virginia and two are in North Carolina. In addition to Hales Lake, the Navy's new list includes: the Sandbanks site in Gates County, NC; Cabin Point site in Va.; Dory site in Va.; and Mason site in Va.
Previously, the Navy had been considering a total of 22 sites in North Carolina and Virginia.
With each of the new site alternatives, the Navy will initiate an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the impacts of construction and operation of an Outlying Landing Field. The field would support Field Carrier Landing Practice training for aircraft based at Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
This EIS analysis is expected to take approximately 30 months to complete.
The Navy will hold public meetings on the new Environmental Impact Statements in the spring of 2008, and will provide opportunities for public input.
Commissioners Agree to Join Camden in OLF Opposition
The Currituck Board of Commissioners formally agreed Monday, March 3, 2008, to offer support and resources to Camden County in opposing the proposed Outlying Landing Field. Currituck County will help pay for a team of lawyers, hired by the Camden County Board of Commissioners, to oppose the Navy's plan through legal means.
Camden County has hired lawyers from the Poyner and Spruill law firm. Currituck Commissioners have not yet agreed to an exact dollar amount of support, and have instructed county staff to work with Camden officials on finalizing details of an agreement.
Board Of Commissioners Adopt Resolution Opposing OLF
The Currituck County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution on Monday, October 15, 2007 that opposes the Navy's potential plans to construct an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in northeast North Carolina.
Commission Vice-Chairman, Gene Gregory, read the resolution during the Board's regular meeting held at the Historic Currituck Courthouse.
The decree was approved by a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Owen Etheridge voting against adopting it but stating that although he opposes the OLF being located in neighboring Camden County, he felt an alternate resolution that supports the military would be more appropriate. (Barry Nelms, Commission Chairman, was unable to attend the meeting.)
The Board of Commissioners received information last month from Navy Commander Rich Catoire and Steve Wall, policy analyst with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, regarding potential impacts a Camden-based OLF might pose to Currituck County.
For more information contact from the County Manager's Office (232-2075) or the Public Information Department (232-0719).
Information regarding the locations of the two proposed sites in Camden County has been relayed to County staff. Residents can view a map of the two proposed sites in Camden County...