The debate over bringing the F-35 jets to the Burlington Airport continues. And Monday night, South Burlington's City Council reversed its decision on the F-35s, voting 3-2 to support the plane coming to the city.
Supporters and opponents of the jets turned out in South Burlington and Winooski Monday night to try to sway city councilors their way.
"It is not going to do any of us any good for hooting and hollering or for applause or for booing, South Burlington City Councilor Pam MacKenzie said.
Monday night, city councilors in South Burlington faced a packed crowd with opposing views on the Vermont Air National Guard becoming home to a future fleet. The council voted last year to oppose the planes, but after a member shakeup this spring, was reconsidering its position.
"When I hear the sound of those jets taking off or coming in, I'll be the first to tell you that they are loud, but that is what I hear, is the sound of freedom," explained Walden Rooney, an F-35 supporter.
Others argued the jets don't belong in the community, citing familiar concerns over property value and noise.
"The United States Air Force and the Vermont Air National Guard have campaigned directly against its own people, hidden facts from us and tried to sway the facts with public opinion," countered Linus Leavens, an F-35 opponent.
It was a similar scene of raw emotion and mixed reviews in Winooski, where so far, councilors there have remained neutral on the F-35s.
Supporters of the fleet have argued it will be good news for the Guard and Vermont's economy.
"When I moved to Winooski, I knew there were planes. Anybody that moves to Winooski knows that there is an airport nearby, shouldn't be surprised from noise," said Fred Cota, who supports F-35s.
While others continued to make the case that they'll be bad news for the Vermont way of life.
"We love the cultural and natural treasures and resources here and we oppose the basing of the F-35," opponent Howard Wooden said.
It's an argument that shows no sign of stopping as people on both sides await a final decision.
The Air Force has set a mid-July deadline for comment on the proposal.
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