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Aug 5, 2013 9:22 PM by Nathan O'Neal

County eyes buyout of land around Davis-Monthan

TUCSON - Pima County officials want to apply for state-issued money through the Military Installation Fund to purchase land on the east side of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The hope is that this move will help protect the base's future operations while creating a noise buffer. However, some neighbors are not completely on board, citing a variety of other problems that come from the base.

Parcels of land on the east side of Davis-Monthan have not been developed. There are no residential homes and few industrial buildings -- and that's exactly how the county wants to keep it.

"It's very noisy, they are tremendously loud," said Rita Ornelas, who lives with her husband in a home that falls right under the flight path near Davis-Monthan. "But an airplane flying over you making this kind of noise that's affecting your health is not the sound of freedom, it's more like a war on your body."

Because of improper planning years ago, Ornelas lives in one of several homes which falls at the end of the base's northwest runway.

That kind of situation is just the kind of thing the county is trying to prevent from happening again, said Bruce Dusenberry, the former President of DM-50, the Davis-Monthan civic support group.

Dusenberry said that the county's push to use state funds to purchase a buffer zone is vital to ensuring the survival of the base.

"Because this is primarily and industrial area, those uses are okay because very few people are there and they're only there during the working hours," Dusenberry explained.

Dusenberry said the state-funded move would help maintain the base's continued contribution to the local economy. Just last year, it brought in more than $1 Billion to nearby communities.

However, Ornelas said it is important to look at all the communities surrounding the base.

"I know that the county wants to keep the encroachment away from the base so the base doesn't close, but the city has already allowed so much encroachment around the base that it's not fair," Ornelas said.

Ornelas is hopeful that her neighborhood will get the attention it deserves.

"If so much more money was put into helping us, this would be a really great place," Ornelas said.

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