NORFOLK (WAVY) – Residents in three Northside neighborhoods learned this week that the Navy wants to remove about 400 trees that present “an immediate safety risk for aircraft” using Chambers Field on Naval Station Norfolk.
The work would begin this fall and run for about a year, according to a letter that went out from base commanding officer Capt. David Dees. Officials invited residents to a public meeting on August 22 at Northside Middle School from 4 to 7 p.m.
Residents told 10 On Your Side they have dozens of flights daily soaring right over their homes – jets, surveillance aircraft, and huge cargo planes among others.
“Sometimes it takes your breath away, how close they are to these trees,” said Robert Cade. Two pines in his front yard are on the chopping block on West Bayview.
Towering pines and stately oaks are among those targeted, including some that have graced the neighborhood for up to 100 years.
Melani Nichols says she sees descending shade and rising noise in a neighborhood she loves.
“I think it’s gonna hurt it because it’s very shady and it does buffer some of the noises back here,” she said.
Cade says it’s a legitimate safety plan and won’t shed any tears for his two pines.
“I’m looking forward to them being gone and then replacing them with something that’s a little more aesthetically pleasing.”
“My dad was in the Navy and he was an aviator, so I understand the Navy’s concern,” Nichols said. But, she can’t understand why the entire trees need to be removed. “I think they should consider maybe topping them off.”
Georgia Devers lives a couple of blocks away on Rodman Road. She says she understands the need for safety, but wants to know what her neighbors are asking, too – what happens to the lumber? What if the tree contractor causes damage to their yards? And what about the stumps?
“I’m hoping, based on the size of these stumps, that they’ll grind the stumps out as well as remove the trees and not leave an unsightly stump behind,” Cade said.