Press Release: Class action filed
A class action law suit has been filed against realtors to recover lost property value for home owners under EA-18 Growler flight paths surrounding the Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island.
A class action law suit has been filed against Windermere Real Estate/Center-Isle, Inc. and Re/Max Acorn Properties, Inc. claiming that, over the last 22 years, they failed to provide legally required information to home buyers regarding the presence of a military air installation and Navy jets. Because disclosure forms were provided by the NWMLS and the practice was prevalent, it is expected that more offices will be added over time.
Since 1992, Noise Zone properties, on the average, have sold for more than their true value because jet noise was not disclosed. In January, 2014, the deception was revealed and much of the legally required information has again been included in the realtor disclosure form; it is presumed the value of those properties will likely be lower when they are sold or refinanced.
Pilots practice carrier landings and other maneuvers at Ault field at the Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, as well as at the obscure Outlying Field in Coupeville, 17 miles to the south. During practice, planes cycle as low as 250 feet over neighborhoods built at the end of the OLF runway, hidden from view by a few rows of trees. Its presence is not apparent unless jets are actually flying.
Noise levels at 134 dB over these homes equals a noise record broken at a Seahawks game last year. Instead of disclosing extremely high decibel levels, night flights, and providing the Noise Zone Map prepared by the Navy to guide prospective home buyers, the disclosure made no mention of the base or jet noise at all. Many were devastated to learn how severely their lives would be affected soon after moving in.
The loss to home owners goes far beyond the loss of equity when they sell. How do you compensate for a life dictated by jet schedules, roaring insanity, and severe health impacts like cardiovascular disease and stroke – instead of a normal life? It is important to note that the Navy now has plans to double the number of Growler jets based at the NASWI, all of which will require carrier landing practice.
- Whidbey Noise Complaint (full text of the law suit)
- For a background of Department of Defense directives for full disclosure, the threat of base closure prompting Island County to adopt a law requiring full disclosure in 1992, and the reason no one knew the legal disclosure was not being used for 22 years, see www.disclosuredeception.wordpress.com.
- Real estate offices defended their practice of using the wrong disclosure when first told it was inadequate, and almost a year later, when the suit was filed and they were still failing to provide a map.
- The Base Commander at the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Captain Michael Nortier, said in a Navy position statement, “Island County and Oak Harbor both require a noise disclosure to a real estate transaction and have done so since 1992. The Town of Coupeville has chosen not to require a noise disclosure for real estate transactions.” Read the details at https://disclosuredeception.wordpress.com/eis-deception/noise-disclosure/. He has repeated this same assertion that noise disclosure has occurred since 1992 at public EIS Scoping Meetings several times, despite his knowledge that the disclosure used was not consistent with the law, Department of Defense recommendations for full disclosure, or humane consideration for people who might unknowingly purchase their homes under Growler flight paths. When asked how he can excuse the use of illegal, misleading disclosure, he said, “we see thing differently,” a statement heard frequently from Navy representatives about dangerous noise being “studied” for the EIS.
- The County needed the tax base from the homes that were built in crash zones where the Navy AICUZ brochures said none should be built. See: https://disclosuredeception.wordpress.com/aicuz-brochures/
- Over the years, people have sued the Navy, based on 5th Amendment protection against a “taking.” But after years of expensive legal action, each learned the Navy had an easement over their property. This easement should have been found in a title search when these properties were sold, but it was never recorded. See https://disclosuredeception.wordpress.com/eis-deception/navy-easement/
- Our local Congressional leaders who serve on the Armed Services Committees and the Appropriations Committees have failed to take a leadership role to inform other committee decision-makers about the specifics of how Growler jets affect people on the ground. There is a campaign to inform all members of these Congressional Committees. Go to: https://disclosuredeception.wordpress.com/contact-congress/
- Congress has left the Navy lawless. Committee members making decisions depend on the Environmental Impact Study process in which the Navy regulates itself. For the Navy, more civilian protection means less military buildup. It is a small wonder the process has failed. The study is not complete, but the Navy already has stated the Navy position of “No Impact” in the key areas where impact is the most severe. For documentation of Navy deception, see: https://disclosuredeception.wordpress.com/eis-deception/
- The health problems that are caused by this level of noise and noise annoyance are statistically predictable, but it is impossible to prove direct cause and effect. Suing the Navy would be like suing a cigarette company. They pay millions to veterans for noise related health problems, but civilians will pay the costs for their hearing, cardiovascular and immune deficiency problems, and many more serious effects of extreme noise which is inflicted on this population. See https://disclosuredeception.wordpress.com/eis-deception/health-risks/ and https://disclosuredeception.wordpress.com/health-emergency/
- Island County Commissioners took a firm stand with anything the Navy wanted, showing Noise Zone suffers they had no interest in their problems by 1) wearing “I Love Jet Noise” T-shirts to Commissioners Meetings, 2) writing County Resolutions in support of the noise, 3) presenting petitions with thousands of signatures headed with libelous accusations to the Navy at an EIS Scoping Meeting. See https://disclosuredeception.wordpress.com/petition-deception/