Noise or Opportunity, Part 2


Lauderdale County, Miss. Many might assume that a person who lives close to the base should expect noise to be an issue, and should be aware of the danger. However for some, it's not that simple.

Navy and local officials are looking for ways to lessen the risks and the noise for residents.

Mamie Walker has lived in northern Kemper County since she was born. And though the noise from NAS Meridian can be annoying, she doesn't really know anything different.

"I was raised and born and raised here, so this is all I've ever known," said Walker.

Others in this area live on family land that long pre-dates the building of the base in 1961, some stretching back as far as before the Civil War.

But Navy officials say the number of people living close to the base has been growing. Roughly 175 homes when it was built has grown closer to 500 homes. That's roughly triple the number of people in the line of fire of these jets, from a noise and a danger standpoint.

For that reason, as part of the recently release AICUZ (air installation compatible use zones) report, Navy officials are making some recommendations for keeping people out of those danger zones.

"It offers areas where new construction would be not recommended because of accident potential or possibly noise, large meeting places, like shopping centers, perhaps a large church, things like that, would also recommend to be built elsewhere," said base commander, Capt. Charles Moore.

The Navy is working with supervisors in Lauderdale and Kemper counties to possibly make changes to building codes and zoning ordinances in areas near the base. And changes to both could be coming.

"We've got to regulate that a little better," said District 1 supervisor, Hank Florey. "But that will be done. It'll just take a few weeks' time till they come forward and we can all sit down and devise a plan that's fair to everybody."

Florey says the new regulations will almost assuredly affect new homes or businesses that might be built in those zones. But they're not sure what the impact might be to these hundreds of homes that are currently in them.


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