Letter to the Editor:  A Personal Statement of Concern About Massport Development at the North Airfield

 ~ Submitted by Jennifer Boles

I’ve known since my first visit to the Civil Terminal to attend an HFAC [Hanscom Field Advisory Commission] meeting back in 2017, that the busy aviation hangar complexes I saw on that side of the airfield (FBOs, T-hangars, corporate hangars, jet fuel and leaded avgas fueling stations, and storage fuel farms)would be incompatible with Bedford’s residential neighborhoods, if they were ever to be replicated on the North Airfield.  Not inconvenient, not annoying.  Incompatible.  Unmitigable.

If Massport’s plan to intensively develop the North Airfield is successful … I believe:

  • It is inevitable that the quality of life and health of many Bedford residents will be threatened due to an unavoidable increase in aviation air and ground noise
  • Their families will suffer increased exposure to poor air quality from jet fuel and avgas exhaust fumes
  • And worse … Bedford children living or playing in neighborhoods near the North Airfield will have increased exposure to leaded avgas exhaust fumes generated by all the prop planes that will be housed in a new T-hangar complex or refueling at a new FBO on the North Airfield.

During the more than 20 years since the Navy declared the only hangar on the North Airfield was no longer needed, and left it to rust into oblivion, new families have moved to Bedford, new homes and even new neighborhoods have been built along Hartwell Road.  Many of those residents have never experienced the aviation noise and jet fuel and avgas exhaust fumes that are inevitably associated with a busy aviation hangar complex or an FBO.

Before I go silent on these matters, I strongly urge all HFAC members, Bedford town officials, and Bedford residents of neighborhoods within a mile of the North Airfield  … to do their homework … which is simple  … on a good fair-weather flying day, just drive to the airfield and spend an hour or two on the parking lots at the Hanscom Field Air Terminal, any of the three FBOs, the T-hangar complexes, or the Boston MedFlight facility … or all of the above … and take note of what you see, what you hear, and what you smell.  And then see if YOU think that is compatible next to any residential neighborhood … anywhere.


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8 Comments

  1. Thanks for speaking up Jennifer. We should not have further development of the airport to ensure the livelihood and safety of Bedford residents.

  2. this past year and a half of living and working and solely out of the house has shown me just how great a concern this project is to our lives. already there is constant air noise and traffic at all times of the day and night. so much so that I can not have a zoom work meeting with the windows open. and it’s only going to get worse!

  3. After 9/11 and knowing we have an air base in Bedford gives me security. At this time in our history we need all the protection from those that think they can blow parts of our country up.
    I moved to Bedford 3 years ago. Grew up in Lexington. I cherish the men and women that sacrificed their life so I could have the privileges I have.
    Only my opinion. I truly respect yours as well. How wonderful that this country allows free speech.

    • Less than 1% of the air traffic at Hanscom is military. The new project Jennifer is writing about will NOT be for military – rather it will be for wealthy private jet owners and corporations.

  4. We are already annoyed by the noise from aviation traffic, particularly of late whereas we have been kept awake by air traffic after 11 pm and recently at around 4:30 AM, which is unacceptable. We fear more aviation traffic right over our neighborhood with any increases capacity.

  5. Also, people are starting to track clusters of MS, ALS, and autism in Bedford. This could be done in an official capacity, too.

  6. Thank you Jennifer for your unwavering commitment + dedication to understanding the impacts of Massport’s Hanscom AirField on Bedford residents since it’s repaving project of 2017. No one has attended EVERY SINGLE HFAC meeting over the last 4 years except you – including the HFAC board members. This is a wake-up call to everyone but especially those living at Kendall Court. HFAC meets once a month via zoom and there is a facebook group I run called HanscomProjectsImpactingBedford with information updates. WE MUST DEMAND MORE THAN TALK from our Select Board and Town Manager. Stop boasting that you are all over it when we know you aren’t and DO SOMETHING TO PROVE IT.

  7. Thanks Jennifer for speaking up. We are just hearing of this for the first time. The noise and strong odor of jet fuel is already excessive. This proposal would clearly worsen conditions, diminish quality of life and impact home values. How can we help?
    Kevin and Kay Aubrey

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