The Vermont Agency of Transportation is currently creating both a master plan and master permit for all state airports in Vermont with the goal of expanding hangar capacity and promoting state airports as a hub for economic development. The Middlebury Airport sits directly next to the Village of East Middlebury and residential areas within the Town of Middlebury, with more residential housing within its one-mile radius than any other state airport in Vermont.
The Airport has been a source of concern for area residents for many years, most recently a few years ago when the runway was expanded with little neighborhood input. At that time, the Middlebury Airport Neighborhood Association (MANA) was formed to advocate for the perspective of area residents, particularly in the face of increased airport traffic, noise, and environmental impacts.
Traditionally a sleepy airport that houses a couple businesses and only a handful of flights per day during fair-weather, daylight hours, the proposed expansion could almost double the hangar capacity, install runway lights, and attract much more traffic at the airport, with almost no needs assessment, data or cost-benefit analysis, or community input. After hearing from many of our constituents in the area, the three other state and local elected representatives in East Middlebury and I penned a joint letter to the Secretary of Transportation and Chair of the Selectboard raising concerns on behalf of our community.
While we support the use of the Airport by pilots and businesses, we believe there needs to a better balance of neighborhood and airport needs and a broader assessment of the impact of an airport in Addison County. See below for the text of that letter.