Local Politics

N.C. wants Navy to put landing field elsewhere

Posted September 13, 2010 11:39 a.m. EDT
Updated September 13, 2010 12:04 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Beverly Perdue and legislative leaders on Monday asked the Navy to stop looking in eastern North Carolina for a landing field.

"The procurement of an (outlying landing field) in North Carolina must not be forced upon any community that has voiced its opposition to it,” Perdue, Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight and House Speaker Joe Hackney wrote in a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

“The local governments of Camden, Currituck and Gates counties have clearly expressed such opposition,” they wrote.

A 2005 land-use study for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission cited development around Naval Air Station Oceana and its landing field as an obstacle to the Navy’s continued flight operations in and around Virginia Beach, Va. The study recommended that the Navy “pursue development of an additional outlying landing field in North Carolina” to alleviate the impact of growth in southeastern Virginia.

“For decades, Virginia Beach has ignored Navy restrictions and built closer and closer to Oceana,” Camden County Manager Randell Woodruff said in a statement. “North Carolina is being forced to bear the brunt of Virginia Beach’s poor land-use planning that allowed commercial and residential development right next to the runways.”

U.S. Sens.Richard Burr and Kay Hagan sponsored an amendment that was recently passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee to restrict the Navy’s funding of a new landing field for Oceana. Part of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2011, the amendment requires the Navy to consider using one of several landing fields already on the East Coast and provide a cost analysis of obtaining a new installation versus rehabilitating an existing site.

The defense bill is expected to be voted upon when Congress returns to session next month.