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Opinion

Base needs overestimated

Desiring to keep Fairchild Air Force Base open, the Spokane County Commissioners are considering restrictive zoning ordinances surrounding it. This makes good sense, but these restrictions overestimate what is required for Fairchild to fulfill its mission.

I grew up on the West Plains. I recall when Fairchild stood constantly ready to respond to a nuclear threat, and remember the painful moments of the crash in 1994, the thoughtless hospital shooting, and the indefinite departure of the B-52s.

I feel connected to Fairchild, want it to remain open, and don’t advocate for development that interferes with Fairchild’s operations.

My concern is that these proposed restrictions are not reasonable, and many do not increase the likelihood Fairchild will remain open. The severity of the restrictions results from studies based on assumptions that were improbable, if not impossible.

These assumptions assume returning a dozen B-52s to the base, and adding 26 of the new KC-46A tankers at a wartime operational level. So, I ask the county commissioners to consider the needs of Fairchild, but to balance those needs against the impacts to citizens, and the lost land use rights, if these restrictions were to be adopted.

John Whitehead

Spokane Valley


 

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