February 16, 2011
FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) – By a margin of 5-2, the Franklin City Council voted Monday evening to discontinue negotiations with the U.S. Navy regarding the possible use of Franklin Municipal Airport a site for E-2/C-2 Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP).
The unscheduled vote came after a meeting where Commander of Fleet Forces Adm. John Harvey tried to make the case for why town leaders should support the Navy’s use of the airport.
“There was a group of citizens who were very vocal about their opposition to it,” said Franklin Mayor James Council, who supported the Navy’s proposal. “The unfortunate thing is they fielded questions last night and did not wait to get answers.”
“The practical effect at this point is it’s a dead issue.”
Harvey said the council’s vote ends the Navy’s efforts to partner with the city.
“There still remains a need to address capacity issues … and the requirement to train our flight crews does not end with this vote,” Harvey said in a statement.
The Navy would soon issue a request for proposals to solicit other options, he said.
In late January, the Navy produced a draft Performance Work Statement that offered to pay the City of Franklin between $700,000 and $1,000,000 for use of the airport between 15 and 20 days a month, for 10 to 12 months per year, for up to 200 days annually.
The Navy announced on Oct. 1, 2010 that it planned to negotiate with the City of Franklin to conduct FCLP operations at Franklin Municipal Airport for E-2/C-2 squadrons based at Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field.
The Navy sought the use of an airfield for E-2/C-2 aircraft in order to provide an alternative to Navy Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress FCLP capacity shortfalls. NALF Fentress is located in Chesapeake.
Public demonstrations of Field Carrier Landing Practice sessions were held at the Airport last October and December. Residents were urged to observe the demonstrations at a location where they may have concerns about the operations.
The goal was to begin E-2/C-2 FCLP operation at the Franklin Municipal Airport by January, 2012.
(Brock Vergakis of the Associated Press contributed to this report