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The Right Note: Noisy Neighbors

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark Kelly

This post may contain some controversial statements. But I feel like there are some common sense things that simply need to be said.

Here’s the first one: airports are noisy.

Unless you lived in Arlington before 1941 when Reagan National was opened, then you knew it was here when you arrived. Stand outside for any length of time anywhere near the flight path, and you are well aware that we live in a county right next door to a well-used airport.

The second simple fact is helicopters are noisy.

Construction of the Pentagon began in 1941 as well. You cannot miss the massive building. And if you stand outside for long in the area, you realize the military flies helicopters in and out of there regularly. Helicopters are also used in Arlington for medical emergencies and police activity. Activities we all agree are necessary.

Much of Arlington feels like you may be in the suburbs. However, we are a very urban area compared to most of America. Living in an urban area with regular police and medical activity that is home to the headquarters of the United States military and the closest-in airport to our nation’s capitol is going to bring with it some noise from the air.

While it is certainly appropriate for county staff to convey resident concerns on this issue, it is important to remember that tens of thousands of jobs exist in Arlington because of the Pentagon and Reagan National. The noise may be an inconvenience, but these are two of the key economic partners that make Arlington a desirable place to live.

My late grandfather worked at a paper mill. When I would go to visit as a child, I would sometimes complain about the smell that was produced from the facility. He would look at me and say, “that smells like money.” In other words, without that mill, he and so many other people may not have been able to find a good job in his town. The smell really amounted to a small inconvenience in the bigger picture.

The aircraft noise in Arlington may be inconvenient. And it is certainly understandable that if you live in the flight path that you would prefer to minimize the noise as much as possible. But when we chose to move here, we also chose to accept that living here comes with some noise. It seems like a lot of time and effort is put into fighting aircraft noise which is, well, inevitable. And, as my grandfather might say, “sounds like jobs.”

Mark Kelly is the chairman of the 8th District Republican Committee, a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

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