Noise News for Week of March 22, 1998


Transport Minister Criticizes NSW Government Opposition to 2nd Sydney Airport

PUBLICATION: AAP Newsfeed (Sydney, Australia)
DATE: March 23, 1998
SECTION: Nationwide General News; Australian General News
DATELINE: Canberra, Australia

The Australian General News from the AAP Newsfeed reports federal Transport Minister Mark Vaile accused the New South Wales government of mounting a cheap fear campaign against a second Sydney Airport. Vaile said new flight paths will distribute noise more evenly over Sydney.

According to the article, Vaile called the New South Wales (NSW) government's threat to sabotage a second Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek by withholding vital infrastructure "cynical politics." The NSW cabinet today opposed an airport at the western Sydney site and threatened to block the construction of road and rail links if the commonwealth went ahead with the project. Vaile pointed out that the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was still underway. "The NSW Labor government are taking a cheap political opportunity half way through the process to oppose the development of a second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek," Mr. Vaile told reporters here. "Just remember who it was that established the environmental assessment process in New South Wales - that was Bob Carr as environment minister in the Wran government."

The article reports Vaile also criticized former Liberal MP Paul Zammit, who quit the party last month in protest at airport noise over his Sydney electorate of Lowe. Vaile said new flight paths introduced by the Howard government would ensure more take-offs over water, and a greater spread of aircraft noise across Sydney. "They go exactly to the point that the Member for Lowe raises," Mr. Vaile told parliament in response to a question from Mr. Zammit. "To generate more take-offs, more noise over the water, over Botany Bay. I put it to the Member for Lowe he jumped ship a bit too soon."

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Children Near Munich Airport Stressed by Aircraft Noise

PUBLICATION: AAP Newsfeed
DATE: March 23, 1998
SECTION: Nationwide General News; Overseas News
DATELINE: Hamburg, Germany

The AAP Newsfeed in Overseas News reports that a German medical journal says aircraft noise stresses children according to the results of a study conducted around the new Munich airport.

According to the article, the German medical journal Aerzte Zeitung cited a study in which medical researchers from Hamburg, the United States, and Sweden examined 217 children aged about ten years shortly after the new airport opened. One group lived in places where there was no aircraft noise, with average noise levels of 55 decibels. The other group lived along flight paths, where average noise levels ranged from 62 to a peak of 73 decibels. The journal pointed out that these figures are well below the level at which hearing damage is caused, not even close to the 120-decibel pain barrier. Nevertheless, a second examination six months later showed that the blood pressure and stress hormone concentration of children subjected to aircraft noise had risen markedly. There had been no change in blood pressure among the other group, and a smaller increase in the stress hormone.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Chinese Block Lukou International Airport Runway to Protest Noise

PUBLICATION: Agence France Presse (Paris, France)
DATE: March 23, 1998
SECTION: International News
DATELINE: Beijing, China

The Agence France Presse reports that villagers living near the new airport in eastern China's Nanjing last week blocked air traffic in a protest against excessive noise levels.

According to the article, the villagers held a sit-in protest on Lukou International Airport's main runway, interrupting take-offs and landings for an hour on February 24, according to the Xinhua Daily. The protesters demanded compensation for intense aircraft noise that had adversely affected their everyday life. Organizers of unauthorized demonstrations in China are often arrested as criminals, but the report did not provide any details on the villagers' fate. The airport, which is designed to accommodate 747-400 aircraft, began operations last July.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Toronto Residents Protest New Bus Route Citing Noise and Fumes

PUBLICATION: The Toronto Star (Toronto, Canada)
DATE: March 23, 1998
SECTION: News; Pg. E1
BYLINE: Brian Mcandrew
DATELINE: Toronto, Canada
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Kathlen Kuklinski, co-leader of Goulding Community Residents Association; John Carrino, resident; Gayle Brown, resident

The Toronto Star reports that about 50 people walked in front of a Toronto Transit Commission bus along Moore Park Ave. in Toronto yesterday to protest the start of an altered route that they say will bring noise, pollution, and increased traffic to their neighborhoods.

According to the article, residents are against TTC's six-month trial to attract new riders that diverts the northbound 97 bus west on Moore Park Ave., north on Hilda Ave., and east on Steeles before turning south on Yonge. Neighborhood residents oppose the change that brings the noisy, diesel buses into the narrow residential streets with houses set close to the road, several schools and two large condominiums. "Our main concern is safety for the children who play along here," said Kathlen Kuklinski, co-leader of the just-created Goulding Community Residents Association that organized the protest. "I take the TTC all the time. We don't own a car. But I'm not going to take the bus down this (Moore Park) street. They are making this into a very busy road," she said.

The article reported that protesters chanted "We don't need this bus," as they walked in front of one bus at a funeral procession pace through the neighborhood. Residents didn't learn about the changed route until the TTC began putting up bus stop signs in January. One is in front of the home of Gayle Brown, a lifelong neighborhood resident. "I won't be able to open the windows because of the bus fumes, and people will be standing in my driveway and front lawn," Brown complained.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Calif. Restaurant Served Restrictions after Noise Complaints from Residents

PUBLICATION: The Orange County Register (Newport Beach, CA)
DATE: March 26, 1998
SECTION: Community; Pg. 01
BYLINE: John Westcott
DATELINE: Newport Beach, California.
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Martin Weinberg, resident

The Orange County Register reports a new restaurant which practices "concept dining" has brought complaints from Lido Isle residents and others across the bay for its exuberant celebrations.

According to the article, the Planning Commission voted unanimously last week to allow Joe's Crab Shack to continue its lively parties during which waiters and waitresses sing, dance and pantomime to recorded music. But the windows must now be closed, and eventually replaced with fixed double-paned glass to keep the sound inside. And there won't be any bullhorns, megaphones or sirens. "We understand they are a concept restaurant," said Tod Redgeway, commission member. "We said you can have your concept, but all the noise has to stay inside. " Martin Weinberg, a Lido Isle resident who has pushed the city to limit noise from bayfront restaurants, said, "The residents were glad of the results." He said Joe's manager Tom Collins apologized to a group of residents after the meeting.

The article says Joe's Crab Shack has dealt with complaints from city officials and residents for months about the noise. Despite the new restrictions, the restaurant did win approval for longer hours. The commission added a half hour to its closing times. Residents said they had no objections to this change.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


New Building in Taiwan Dampens Noise From Jet Aircraft Testing

PUBLICATION: China News
DATE: March 28, 1998
SECTION: News
DATELINE: Taichung, Taiwan

The China News reports that a "hush house," designed to test jets while dampening noise, was unveiled in Taichung, Taiwan on Thursday.

According to the article, the inauguration of the new building was presided over by Liao Yung-lai, the Taichung County Chief, Yen Chin-piao, the Taichung County Council Speaker, Tsai Chun-hui, the chair of aircraft manufacturer Aerospace Industrial Development Corp., and David Versteeg, manager of Aarding, the Dutch manufacturer of the facility. The hush house was built in one year at the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation's plant in Taichung, and took eight months to test, the article says.

Tsai of the manufacturing company said that military and civilian aircraft can be tested in the hush house. The building fully meets noise pollution prevention standards, according to Tsai, and the military's indigenous defense fighters, AT3 trainer planes, and F-5, F-16, and Mirage 2000 combat aircraft can be tested at high volumes in the building.

A demonstration of the buildings noise-insulating capacity also was performed at the inauguration, the article says. Noise level meters were positioned 10 meters outside the building and the doors to the building were left open. When a jet engine was started inside the building, the noise meter registered 100 decibels. But, the article says, when the doors to the building were shut, the noise level dropped to 65 decibels, the average volume of the human voice during a normal conversation.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Residents Beneath Ottawa Airport Flight Path Fear More Noise After Expansion

PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: March 28, 1998
SECTION: Business; Pg. H1 / Front
BYLINE: Kate Chappell and Abby Gainforth
DATELINE: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Naif Beauchamp, resident

The Ottawa Citizen reports that residents living near the MacDonald Cartier Airport in Ottawa, Ontario are afraid that the $250 million airport expansion project that includes a new terminal will bring more airline noise, especially over communities such as Barrhaven.

According to the article, resident Naif Beauchamp, who has lived in the path of one the runways for 45 years, said he already can't sleep at night -- and he blames airport president Paul Benoit. Beauchamp said, "Mr. Benoit has the audacity to say he will run the airport 24 hours a day. What happens to our sleep? It is ruined. We are nothing in this thing." He added he will protest the expansion to the end.

However, the article reports, Benoit said the airport already operates 24 hours a day, with only a few smaller, quieter flights during the early-morning hours. In addition, Benoit said that removing the older, noisier aircraft from service in four to five years will decrease noise problems.

Under a new measuring system, an "airport influence zone" is being laid out around the airport, the article says. The zone will defines an area that is appropriate for residential and business development, based on aircraft noise and prevailing winds. The article notes that developers believe any noise problems can be worked out.

But, the article explains, residents who live near the airport tell a different story. Residents near Pearson International Airport in Toronto complained bitterly about noise when a new terminal was built.

The article notes that developers want to build up the airport area, but local officials are not enthusiastically supporting the expansion of the Airport Parkway. Councilor Gord Hunter said, "Neither the money nor the political will to do it is there. There's a feeling in parts of downtown Ottawa, particularly the Glebe, that expanding a road means dumping more traffic into their neighborhoods. There's quite a lobby against it." He added, "There doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence that there are going to be a lot more flights than right now. I'm not as optimistic about the increase in passenger traffic." Meanwhile, Benoit of the airport said it's crucial that the Airport Parkway expand. The plan is still being studied, the article notes. Councilor Clive Doucet said a proposed $10-million light rail project would be preferable to the parkway expansion.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Florida Resident Dismisses Residents' Aircraft Noise Complaints

PUBLICATION: The Palm Beach Post
DATE: March 28, 1998
SECTION: Opinion, Pg. 11A
DATELINE: Palm Beach, Florida

The Palm Beach Post printed the following letter-to-the-editor from Norman Lynn, a Lake Worth, Florida resident, regarding the expansion plan at the Palm Beach International Airport:

If I bought a house in the path of Palm Beach International Airport's runway, I guess I would complain about the noise, too. But then, knowing that many aircraft other than gliders come and go into an airport, I doubt that I would choose a home in harm's way. Nor would I buy a house downwind of a garbage dump unless I enjoyed the predictable stench.

I guess I just don't get it: What are the logical bases of plans to torpedo PBIA's extension as reported in The Post?

If those who filed suit Wednesday over the expansion plan succeed, to which government agency do I appeal to request that South Florida's summers be less hot and humid?

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Pennsylvania Toll Road is a Bad Idea, Writer Argues

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DATE: March 28, 1998
SECTION: Editorial, Pg. A-12, Letters To The Editor
BYLINE: Nora Johnson and Squirrel Hill
DATELINE: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printed an editorial in which the writer argues that the Mon-Fayette toll road in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a bad idea. The writer says the high cost of the road is prohibitive, and the road will destroy the quality-of-life of the communities near it.

According to the editorial, there are several reasons to oppose the toll road. The first is the cost -- together, the Mon-Fayette road and the Southern Beltway will cost around $2.5 billion. The writer points out that the road will not create jobs. Building the road would create jobs, but so would improving the current roadways, the writer says. And improving current roadways would improve life in our communities, not wipe it out. The fact that the roads are intended to pay for themselves through tolls is another worrisome factor, the author says. If the roads aren't used enough, like other roads recently built by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the tolls won't pay for the cost of maintenance, let alone construction. The result will be another increase in Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls. But the writer argues, if the roads attract many drivers, the communities they cut through will be adversely affected by noise and air pollution.

The editorial goes on to say that four-lane highways destroy the quality of life of communities near them by increasing noise, pollution and safety hazards. The current proposed alignment of the toll road along the north shore of the Mon River will cut through the fabric of Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities without providing many benefits, the editorial argues.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Arizona Airport Delays Defining Noise Boundary Area

PUBLICATION: The Arizona Republic
DATE: March 27, 1998
SECTION: Mesa/Apache Junction Community; Pg. Ev1
BYLINE: Robbie Sherwood
DATELINE: Mesa, Arizona area

The Arizona Republic reports that the Williams Gateway Authority, which governs the Williams Gateway Airport near Mesa, Arizona, tabled a proposal to define an "Airport Influence Area" that would warn prospective buyers about airport noise. Authority officials said they were uncertain whether the proposed area's boundary's were too large for the type of aircraft expected to operate at the airport, and decided to wait till at least the beginning of 1999 to define boundaries, when airport officials will have updated the airport's 5-year master plan.

Acording to the article, Mesa Mayor Wayne Brown, the authority chair, said the new master plan could result in a smaller Airport Influence Area. He said, "I don't want anybody to interpret this that I'm not interested in an AIA, but I'm uncomfortable with the size of the proposed area. These projections were made on what they thought might be out here. But frankly, I think they expected there to be bigger and more airplanes than what are out here. And airplanes are being made a lot quieter, and they get off the ground quicker."

The article notes that the boundary, as proposed now, would radiate about three miles out around much of the airport, but would go much farther to the north and east. The boundaries were determined based on the airspace needed for large jets to take off, land, and circle after a missed approach. The boundary definitions are intended to warn prospective buyers that the airport's development plans will bring noise and overflights. In addition, the boundaries are intended to keep residential development from encroaching on land set aside for commercial and industrial development spurred by the airport.

According to Lynn Kusy, the airport's executive director, the new master plan will more accurately reflect the type of aircraft at the airport now, and the type of aircraft the airport hopes to attract. Kusy said, "When the master plan was created, we were guessing what type of aircraft would be using the airport. Perhaps a re-examination of the influence area, with the community's input, would be good. It has been five years and things change, ideas change."

The article notes that Cynthia Dunham, an authority member and the Gilbert Mayor, said she supported waiting to define the boundaries, she was worried about leaving buyers unaware of the airport's influence for the rest of the year. She said, "We all know this area is growing very quickly. I think people need to make an informed decision before they move in rather than afterward, when they are forced to either accept it or sell their house."

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


California Officials Say Jets Departing From Proposed El Toro Airport Won't Fly Over Communities to the Northwest, Conflicting With FAA Report

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: March 27, 1998
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 1; Metro Desk
BYLINE: Lorenza Munoz
DATELINE: Irvine, California area

The Los Angeles Times reports that Orange County, California officials -- pushing for an El Toro Airport -- are telling north-county towns that northbound flights from the proposed airport won't affect them because flights will go right over the Santa Ana Mountains. The Federal Aviation Administration and county consultants disagree.

According to the article, the communities of East Orange, North Tustin, and Cowan Heights are being told that northbound traffic from the proposed El Toro Airport will not affect them because they will travel right over the Santa Ana Mountains.

The article says that that kind of departure would interfere with traffic from John Wayne, Los Angeles, and Ontario Airports, according to the FAA. Even the county's own consultant said that northbound flights would have to turn left to avoid the Loma Ridge Mountains and air traffic.

According to the article, county planners say that the straight-north departures would work if jets can climb fast enough. They say that it's possible, but grant that if it's not they won't pursue it. The county consultant said, however, that heavy jets couldn't climb fast enough to reach the minimum 4,000 feet, six miles from the runway, to avoid other jet traffic without turning west over the communities in question. To make matters worse, airport supporters are suggesting that the heaviest cargo jets, which would have the hardest time climbing in time, take off to the north. They would also have to be safely above the Loma Ridge Mountains, which rise 857 feet at three miles from the runway.

The article says airport opponents accuse airport planners of "going out and finding the politically correct flight path regardless of practicality and then trying to do the study to make it fit."

The article goes on to explain that until now, El Toro proponents have been able to count on support from north county residents, but recently they've been questioning whether "cargo and international flights would be flying directly over their communities." The airport planners will present four alternative designs for the airport next month.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Noise Boundaries to be Considered for Arizona Airport

PUBLICATION: The Arizona Republic
DATE: March 26, 1998
SECTION: Mesa/Apache Junction Community; Pg. Ev1
BYLINE: Robbie Sherwood
DATELINE: Mesa, Arizona area

The Arizona Republic reports that the Williams Gateway Airport Authority, which governs the Williams Gateway Airport near Mesa, Arizona, will consider a proposal this afternoon to place an Airport Influence Area around the airport to warn prospective buyers about airport noise. If the authority embraces the proposal, the airport will be the first in the state to create Airport Influence Area since the state Legislature granted the right in 1997, although some airports have created similar boundaries through zoning, the article says.

According to the article, the proposed Airport Influence Area boundaries would run about three miles out from the airport in most areas, and farther in some areas. If approved, the properties in the area will have a statement on their property deeds to notify homeowners and prospective buyers of overflights and noise from the airport. Kate May, an airport planner who helped formulate the boundaries, said, "It's really a good-neighbor policy. We're being upfront in telling the community that there will be noise and overflights. That way, if you already know that airport noise would bother you, you won't move in." Another intention of the proposal, the article explains, is to protect the airport. Land around the airport is zoned for commercial and industrial uses, and definition of the area would help to discourage residential development there.

In February, a public hearing was held on the topic, and some landowners who attended complained that the proposed boundaries are too large. Some property owners were worried that placing a notification on their deeds would lower their property values. At least one authority member, Mesa Mayor Wayne Brown, agrees. Brown said, "It doesn't need to be quite that big. It goes north of Broadway Road. Noise can't go that far, can it? I don't know if it will lower property values or not, but I wouldn't want that on my deed if I was going to try and sell it. It's important we have this, but it needs to be realistic."

May, the airport planner, said the boundaries were determined based on the airspace needed for large jets to take off, land, and circle after a missed approach. She said shrinking the boundary wouldn't be fair to homeowners on the outer fringes of the noise-affected areas. May wrote in a response to residents' concerns, "The smaller area would remove a significant land area from the AIA, making some property owners in this area believe that it will be easier for them to sell or develop their property. The property would, however, remain beneath the flight tracks and would continue to experience the noise associated with overflights.... Changing the two-dimensional boundaries on a map will not change the three-dimensional realities in the air."

Meanwhile, another member of the authority, Gilbert Mayor Cynthia Dunham, said she believes the airport needs as much protection from irate homeowners as it can get. She said after the public meeting in February, "There were so many people that stood up at that meeting and complained about the negative impact from the airport over their homes that, if anything, I'm wondering if we ought to increase the size of the area of influence. There has been such a significant investment in Williams Gateway that we can't walk away from it. If it were not to be successful, it would have a huge negative impact on the whole area. If we protect it, and it is successful, then it will increase the value of properties in the area."

The article notes that besides Brown and Dunham, the other members of the airport authority are Mark Schnepf, the Queen Creek Mayor, and Mary Thomas, the Gila River Indian Community Governor.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Australian Residents Organize to Oppose Canberra Airport Expansion

PUBLICATION: The Canberra Times
DATE: March 26, 1998
SECTION: Part A; Page 6
BYLINE: Peter Clack
DATELINE: Canberra, Australia area
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: John McAlister, chair of the Aircraft Noise Subcommittee of the Jerrabomberra Residents Association

The Canberra Times reports that residents in Jerrabomberra, Australia are preparing to mount a fight over aircraft noise and a major expansion at the Canberra Airport. The article notes that several days ago, the airport was sold to a local consortium for $66.5 million, and with a commitment by the new owners to spend $57 million on upgrades in the next 10 years. In addition, the article notes, there are plans to expand the airport to full international status before the Sydney Olympics.

The article reports that the Jerrabomberra Residents Association is mounting an effort to oppose increasing jet noise. John McAlister, the chair of the association's Aircraft Noise Subcommittee, said the aircraft noise should be shared by the whole region. He said, "We believe it is time to make some noise and bring it back to people's attention." Lindsay Tanner, the Opposition transport spokesperson, met with members of the association yesterday to hear their concerns. Steve Whan, a Federal Labor candidate for Eden-Monaro, said residents told him the noise problems were getting worse instead of better.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Irish Residents Oppose Plan for Wind Farm Because of Noise and Other Potential Impacts

PUBLICATION: The Irish Times
DATE: March 26, 1998
SECTION: Home News; Pg. 6
BYLINE: Dick Grogan
DATELINE: Waterford, Ireland
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Owen Mullins, chair, Concerned Residents' Group of the Lady's Island parish

The Irish Times reports that residents in Waterford, Ireland have lodged objections to a plan by the ESB to build 16 wind turbines on a 200-acre coastal site at Carnsore Point, County Wexford. The residents have formed an action group to oppose the plan because of concerns ranging from visual amenity, potential noise pollution, the impact on wildlife, and the wind farm's proximity to homes.

The article says that officials from the ESB met with members of the Concerned Residents' Group of the Lady's Island parish on Tuesday and attended a public meeting on the issue. Residents said they learned about the proposed wind farm only three weeks ago after a planning notice was posted at the site. Owen Mullins, the chair of the residents' group, said renewable energy was great, but added, "This area is a designated scenic area in the county development plan. The idea is right; the place is wrong." After Tuesday's meeting, Mullins said the ESB officials didn't give definitive answers to the specific questions raised by residents about noise, the impact on visual amenity, or electromagnetic interference. He said, "They gave us no comfort at all in relation to complying with the Irish Planning Institute guidelines."

The article explains that each of the proposed 16 wind turbines would be capable of generating 650 kilowatts, giving the wind farm a total output of about 10.4 megawatts. Each turbine would be 45 meters high, with the rotor blades reaching 23 meters. A 10-mile stretch of high-tension transmission lines and pylons probably would be needed to connect the wind farm to the nearest point on the ESB national grid, another matter of concern to residents.

The article says that residents believe eight of the 16 wind turbines would be closer to homes than the minimum distance of 500 meters recommended by the Irish Planning Institute. In addition, residents are concerned that electromagnetic interference from the wind farm could interfere with radio and TV signals, navigation guidance systems, and VHF communications. And, the wind turbines could interfere with bird migration paths from important County Wexford bird sanctuaries. Residents point out that the ESB did not perform an environmental impact study with its application to the county council.

The article also notes that the proposed wind farm site was proposed in the 1970s for a nuclear power station. The nuclear power plant proposal initiated a national opposition campaign, and the proposal was subsequently shelved. The ESB confirmed yesterday that the Carnsore Point site is one site proposed by the company for the construction of a wind farm under the Government's AER III competition for Alternative Energy. Currently, the Department of Public Enterprise is evaluating the company's commercial bids, along with those of other Irish and international competitors, and results are expected in weeks.

The article also mentions that another wind energy proposal currently is raising controversy in south-east Ireland. A private developer is proposing to build four turbines on the County Waterford coast near Kilfarrasy beach, the article says.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Opposition to Proposed El Toro Airport in California Mounts from Northern Communities

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: March 26, 1998
SECTION: Part A; Page 1; Metro Desk
BYLINE: Lorenza Munoz and Shelby Grad
DATELINE: Irvine, California area
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Irene Brace, director, Foothill Communities Association; Laura Thomas, president, Orange Park Acres Association

The Los Angeles Times reports that communities in the center of Orange county are beginning to wonder if an El Toro commercial airport would cause noise problems for them. County officials are scrambling to find ways to route flights so they don't pass too close to communities.

The article explains that although seventy percent of flights are planned to pass over South county residents, who are generally against the airport, the rest of the flights will take off to the north and possibly disrupt central county residents. Also, these northbound flights will be the heaviest, noisiest aircraft. Until now, central county residents have generally supported El Toro's airport because they believe it would be better than the air traffic they get from John Wayne Airport. This support is important for the expansion proposal.

The article explains that the County Board of Supervisors is split 3-2 in favor of the airport. If central county residents stop supporting the proposal, the balance on the Board could shift against El Toro.

The article reports that although the Federal Aviation Administration will have final say on approval of flight paths, they won't comment until a full plan is developed by the Board of Supervisors.

According to the article, voters passed an initiative in 1995 that paved the way for a commercial airport. The strongest support for the plan has come from Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and Anaheim. But recently, community leaders in Tustin and Orange have become more aware that all cargo and international flights would fly directly over their communities, and they have started questioning the current plan. In addition, the article reports, a county mailer titled "The Myth Buster" unintentionally alarmed some central county residents by saying that the communities directly under the northerly flight path were Cowan Heights and Tustin. Don Saltarelli, an East Orange resident, a consultant with Newport Beach on the airport issue, and a former county supervisor who voted in favor of the airport in 1996, said takeoffs over central county communities "would have a very significant effect on my feelings" about the airport plan. He said, "We feel that in our area we have enough flights coming into John Wayne. Traffic into John Wayne comes directly over my house. It's important that before any decisions are made we assess the noise impact."

Meanwhile, the Foothill Communities Association., a homeowners group that represents nearly all of North Tustin, already has voted to oppose the airport because of potential noise, according to Irene Brace, the group's director. The Orange Park Acres Association in East Orange will vote on the airport issue next week. Laura Thomas, the president of the group, said the members are worried about the airport's potential impact on their quiet community. She said, "We are equestrian and rural and we want to maintain that."

The article explains that county officials currently are preparing four options for the Marine base, and their plans are expected to be released next month. At this point, it's unclear how much noise the central county communities would experience under the proposals. An earlier county proposal found that jet noise would increase in some parts of Tustin, but would remain below federal standards of 65 decibels averaged over 24 hours. In addition, the earlier study found that commercial aircraft would be quieter than the current military jets.

Another study, called the "Terminal En Route Procedures" study, is expected to be presented to the Board of Supervisors on May 5. This study will determine the feasibility of directing planes due north toward the Santa Ana Mountains where they would have to gain altitude quickly to avoid the mountains and to not interfere with air traffic from John Wayne Airport. After a final plan is agreed to by the county, it will be sent to the FAA, which will review it for meeting federal standards.

The article also notes that the nation's two largest pilots unions, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Air Pilots Association, have complained that the county is placing noise considerations ahead of safety concerns by having the majority of flights take off to the east instead of the west. The pilots unions object to easterly takeoffs, because airplanes would be forced to take off up a sloped runway, toward the mountains, and with a tail wind. The unions haven't taken a position on the northerly departures, the article notes.

Some aviation experts, however, say northerly takeoffs could raise questions about the future of John Wayne Airport. Don Segner, a former official with the Federal Aviation Administration who is now retired and lives in Laguna Beach, said planes would not be able to depart to the north if John Wayne stays open because the flights would interfere with John Wayne's approach path. If El Toro becomes a commercial airport, the county's plans for John Wayne are still unclear, the article says. The county's reuse plan calls for John Wayne to become a general aviation airport, but county supervisors made it clear they wanted it to remain a commercial operation when they approved of the initial plan in 1996.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Developer Claims FedEx Distribution Center Won't Increase Air Traffic at Wisconsin Airport

PUBLICATION: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
DATE: March 26, 1998
SECTION: Aukesha Pg. 1
BYLINE: Darryl Enriquez
DATELINE: Waukesha, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Planning Commission in Waukesha, Wisconsin approved plans Wednesday for a 90,000-square-foot Federal Express distribution center near Crites Field. The facility will be the largest Federal Express facility in the Milwaukee area, the article says. According to the developer, the distribution center will not immediately increase air traffic at the county airport, but there is not telling what could happen in the future. Meanwhile, residents have complained to county officials recently that aircraft noise has increased around the airport.

According to the article, Planning Commissioner Paul Feller said he had heard that Federal Express was responsible for increasing noise levels at Crites Field. Feller asked developer William Luterbach about the companies plans for using the airport. Luterbach said the company will continue to use Mitchell International Airport as its main landing point for all Milwaukee-area freight. Delivery freight is inventoried there, and then trucked to distribution centers in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, and now Waukesha. Luterbach added that as business activity increases at the Waukesha distribution center, Federal Express could look to Crites Field for additional flights.

Meanwhile, the article says, Jess Bunn, a Federal Express spokesperson, would not comment on the firm's plans for its Waukesha operation. Glenn Januska, the airport's director, said he had not heard from Federal Express but speculated that someday the firm could turn to Crites Field for transportation needs.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Florida County Commission Considers Noise Ordinance

PUBLICATION: The Palm Beach Post
DATE: March 26, 1998
SECTION: Local, Pg. 1B
BYLINE: Howie Paul Hartnett
DATELINE: Stuart, Florida

The Palm Beach Post reports that the Martin County (Florida) Commission agreed to consider a noise ordinance for the unincorporated parts of the county at their meeting Tuesday. The issue was brought forward by Commissioner Janet Gettig, and all the other Commissioners except for the Chair, Donna Melzer, agreed a noise ordinance should be investigated.

According to the article, Commissioner Gettig said a noise ordinance would help appease residents weary of noise. She said she has received a steady stream of noise complaints since the commission last talked about an ordinance in 1996. She said, "I've heard digs at the commission for not passing a noise ordinance."

The article explains that efforts to pass a noise ordinance have failed at least three times in the past six years, mainly because of questions about enforcement. The article says that even if county enforcement officers have decibel meters and training, it is sometimes hard to pin down noise violators because much of the noise of concern is created by heavy bass vibrations, which can't be measured on normal decibel meters. In addition, county officials have estimated the costs of equipment and training would run between $8,500 and $10,000.

Because of those problems, the article says, Commission Chair Melzer thinks a noise ordinance is a lost cause. She said, "I understand people's frustration with this. But I understand it is difficult to enforce."

Still, Commissioner Gettig hopes to change Melzer's mind by updating a 1993 noise ordinance proposal that restricts noise and vibration levels during certain times at night and carries up to a $500 fine and possible jail time.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Suburbs Don't Get Promised Reimbursement for Noise Monitors from Chicago, so They Turn to State for Money

PUBLICATION: Chicago Tribune
DATE: March 26, 1998
SECTION: Metro Northwest; Pg. 1; Zone: NW
BYLINE: Rogers Worthington
DATELINE: Chicago, Illinois area
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Suburban O'Hare Commission

The Chicago Tribune reports that a year ago, Chicago suburbs disturbed by noise from the O'Hare International Airport bought a noise monitoring system that was supposed to be paid for by the City of Chicago. But the money from Chicago never arrived, the article says, and now the suburban mayors have asked the Illinois Department of Transportation to pick up the cost, amounting to $787,000.

The article reports that the mayors of the suburbs, who are members of the anti-noise Suburban O'Hare Commission, believe that Chicago's $4 million network of noise monitors surrounding the airport don't accurately represent the noise from O'Hare. In response to this, the mayors purchased their own system, which cost $500,000, and later purchased nearly $300,000 in upgrades to the system's computer equipment.

The request for $787,000 from the state is now pending in the General Assembly, and it has raised some eyebrows, the article says. State Representative Joseph Lyons (D-Chicago) said, "The City of Chicago already has a noise-monitoring system in place. Why are we spending $787,000 for another one?"

The article explains that David Mosena, the mayor's former aviation commissioner, promised the suburban mayors that Chicago would pay for their noise-monitoring system two years ago, according to Park Ridge Mayor Ron Wietecha, vice president of the Suburban O'Hare Commission. Wietecha said, "Chicago had promised to provide SOC with a noise-monitoring system that was separate and independent of theirs, so we could do our own checks. They have never handed over the check."

Mosena, who left the mayor's staff last year, said the city promised to pay for the system, but only after the details of the purchase were worked out. He said, "We did offer to pay for it. But it was wrapped up in reaching agreement on a number of items, and negotiations on them did not get finished before I left." Mosena said the city and suburbs couldn't agree on issues including the cost and how O'Hare noise would be monitored.

Meanwhile, Wietecha of Park Ridge said the Suburban O'Hare Commission has written the city and "given them notices that we want to be reimbursed." But a spokesperson for Chicago's legal department said the Commission has not sent the city a bill. Spokesperson Jennifer Hoyle said, "We wrote them in September, but they have not gotten back to us to itemize what they need." The article notes that the Village of said Bensenville paid for the system, and other Commission members promised to help offset the cost if Bensenville doesn't get reimbursed.

The article also notes that Linda Wheeler, director of planning and programming for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said she expects the $787,000 appropriation will pass the Illinois House and Senate.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


New Jersey Township Looks at New York City Regulations on Ice Cream Truck Music

PUBLICATION: Asbury Park Press (Neptune, NJ)
DATE: March 25, 1998
SECTION: B, Pg. 2
BYLINE: Gina Scala
DATELINE: Stafford Township, New Jersey

The Asbury Park Press reports that the Township Council in Stafford Township, New Jersey recently banned music from ice cream trucks. But now, because ice cream vendors are saying the ban will hurt their business, the Township Council is looking at New York City's ordinance regulating amplified music from street vendor vehicles. That ordinance stipulates that a vendor cannot "emit a sound signal more frequently than once every 10 minutes in any city block" and the sound cannot last for more than 10 seconds.

The article reports that according to Mayor Carl Block, the New York law looks too difficult to enforce. He said, "To prove violations, you have to follow and time them for the entire cycle." Block said he would send a letter to state Environmental Commissioner Robert Shinn Jr., asking for a meeting to discuss other possible options.

The article explains that Joe Lepis, of the New Jersey Noise Control Council, has prepared a draft ordinance for Stafford Township similar to the New York ordinance. Lepis's draft includes sections that would ban music between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. and would permit horns for alerting others to dangers. The article notes that Lepis is looking into the issue because the township wants the state Department of Environmental Protection to update its model noise ordinance to include ice cream trucks. Residents in Stafford Township have complained that the ice cream truck music is a nuisance.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Cabaniss, who owns the township's only licensed ice cream truck, said he was "encouraged" by the possible compromise, but said he and his group, Manahawkin United in Support of Ice Cream, are still trying to overturn the ban.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Meetings Set in Las Vegas Area to Show New Boundaries on Airport Noise Contour Maps

PUBLICATION: Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV)
DATE: March 25, 1998
SECTION: Aa; Pg. 4Aa
BYLINE: Lynn Collier
DATELINE: Spring Valley, Nevada

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Clark County (Nevada) departments of aviation and comprehensive planning are holding a series of meetings to discuss the revised noise contour maps for the McCarran International Airport. The maps show how noise levels have affected neighborhoods around the airport during the last seven years. The Spring Valley Town Board will recommend the Clark County Commissioners approve or deny the noise contour map at a meeting Monday. Commissioners are expected to take up the matter on April 22.

According to the article, Teresa Arnold, principal planner for Clark County Department of Aviation, said the new contour maps show current noise levels in specific neighborhoods. Depending on the area, Arnold said, the noise levels may have increased or decreased since 1990 when the map was last amended. Air traffic flying over Spring Valley and Paradise neighborhoods has increased since 1990, Arnold said, but because aircraft have also gotten quieter during that time, noise levels have not necessarily increased in all areas.

The article explains that if the Spring Valley Town Board approves the map, homeowners who live in the noise-affected areas will have to disclose the noise levels to prospective buyers. In addition, developers building in the noisy areas will be required to add extra insulation to homes to bring the interior noise level to 40 decibels. Homeowners adding on to their homes will also be required to meet the noise-level regulations.

The article notes that in addition to Monday's meeting, other meetings are scheduled for the Paradise Town Board and the Enterprise Town Advisory Board, as well as meetings at Cannon Middle School and Durango High School.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Washington County Judge Allows Resident to Reopen Dog Shelter Despite Neighbors Protests

PUBLICATION: The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)
DATE: March 25, 1998
SECTION: The Region, Pg. B2
BYLINE: John Craig
DATELINE: Colville, Washington
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Ray and Betty Hickey, Dan and Sarah Schwartz, residents

The Spokesman-Review reports that Superior Court Judge Larry Kristianson in Stevens County, Washington ruled this week after hearing testimony from a sound engineer that Joyce Tasker can reopen her Dog Patch animal shelter on her semi-rural property in Colville. The judge ruled that a new $50,000 sound-baffling dog run eliminates the noise nuisance at the shelter. The judge's order is expected to be signed this week.

According to the article, Tasker will be allowed to keep her 48 dogs on the condition that she reduces the nighttime barking in the outdoor dog run that connects to her house. She also will be required to build a berm along the dog run to obstruct the view from a neighbor's home.

The article explains that Tasker and her neighbors live in a suburban-style, four-unit subdivision in a rural area about a dozen miles southwest of Colville. The area has no zoning. In March 1996, Judge Kristianson ruled that Tasker's dog shelter was a nuisance, agreeing with her neighbors Ray and Betty Hickey, and Dan and Sarah Schwartz. On January 16 of this year, the judge ruled that the dog shelter was in violation of the 1996 order limiting her to six dogs. Tasker had dropped an appeal of the 1996 ruling after the judge agreed to consider her efforts to mitigate the noise.

At the recent hearing, Ioana Park, a sound expert from Seattle, testified that scientific testing showed Tasker's new dog run would keep noise within state standards for residential areas. The new noise mitigation measures include large berms, fencing, and an open-ended pole building. The Schwartzes and the Hickeys presented anecdotal testimony that Tasker's mitigation measures were not adequate, but they had no scientific testing of their own to counter Park's conclusions.

The article reports that the Hickeys said they had been notified of the judge's tentative ruling and hadn't decided whether to appeal. They said they feel "trapped" or unable to move because the dog shelter has reduced the value of the home they bought a dozen years before Tasker arrived. Betty Hickey said, "This so-called sound expert says she can have 48 dogs over there and not hurt anything, but I don't go along with it. Would you like to listen to that many dogs? Nobody in his right mind would." The Hickeys added they are bitter about county officials who they say have ignored their duties.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Scientists Find that Oceans are Deafeningly Noisy

PUBLICATION: AAP Newsfeed
DATE: March 24, 1998
SECTION: Nationwide General News; Features
BYLINE: Heiko Roloff
DATELINE: U.S.

AAP Newsfeed reports that scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University have found that oceans are extremely noisy. In some places, researchers found, the level of noise is the same as that found in New York's Times Square at midday. Although natural causes create some loud ocean noises, most are the result of human activities. The scientists performed their research using data collected over more than a decade by the US Navy searching for enemy submarines with highly sensitive underwater microphones. The Navy data has recently been made public.

According to the article, underwater sound levels differ greatly from place to place, according to marine engineer professor Arthur Baggeroer. The quietest underwater area is the Pacific, the article says. The southern Pacific registers less than 60 decibels, or the sound level of a Nebraska prairie at midnight, largely because there is little commercial shipping in the area. The noisiest area is the North Sea due to the oil fields there. Clicking and vibration from the oil fields emit around 180 decibels, the article says. The pain threshold for human ears is around 120 decibels. Whale areas in parts of the North Atlantic have registered more than 100 decibels, about the same level as a major urban crossroads during rush hour.

The article reports that according to Baggeroer and his colleague William Spitzer, sound waves can be intensified underwater through the so-called chamber effect. Because there are pressure and temperature fluctuations in the various layers of water, the sound travels at differing speeds. As a result the sound "bangs" against the upper edge of a water layer and bounces off it again, which reinforces the sound waves. The phenomenon is similar to that of speaking through a narrow tube, researchers say.

Other ocean sounds also were uncovered by the scientists, including the cracking of icebergs in the Arctic and the "babbling" shrimps along the South Carolina coast. Scientists said the data show that underwater creatures are "extremely talkative," and also have very varied languages. For example, walrus have a bell-like call, dolphins squeak, whales sing, and toad fish gurgle.

The next step, the article says, is to determine how much the really noisy sounds made by humans influence the marine animal world. For instance, studies have already shown that sea cows in the northern Pacific avoid busy shipping lanes. And, blasting from drilling platforms have so badly damaged the hearing of whales that they have lost their sense of orientation and died.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Noise Grant to Chicago Suburbs Discussed in Illinois State Legislature

PUBLICATION: Chicago Sun-Times
DATE: March 24, 1998
SECTION: News; Pg. 18
BYLINE: Dave Mckinney
DATELINE: Springfield, Illinois

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Illinois state transportation officials defended a $787,000 grant to suburbs around Chicago for equipment that monitors noise from O'Hare International Airport. State politicians loyal to Chicago's Mayor Daley objected to the grant during examination of the Transportation Department's budget in a Democrat-led House budget committee. In a related matter, Transportation Secretary Kirk Brown revealed that his agency has up to $8 million it could spend this year without legislative input to purchase land for a third Chicago area airport.

According to the article, State Representative Joseph Lyons (D-Chicago) argued against the grant to the Suburban-O'Hare Commission, saying it duplicates noise-monitoring efforts already undertaken by the city of Chicago. But Secretary Brown said the city's recent refusal to talk about noise-monitoring money with the commission has "disenfranchised" the suburbs. Brown also said using the $8 million pool of funds for purchasing land for a third airport is "an unlikely scenario."

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


State Study in Connecticut Will Identify Noise Levels Around Airport

PUBLICATION: The Hartford Courant
DATE: March 24, 1998
SECTION: Town News; Pg. B1
BYLINE: Sherman Tarr
DATELINE: Windsor Locks, Connecticut
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Edward Kenney, resident

The Hartford Courant reports that officials from the Connecticut Department of Transportation discussed plans for a study of aircraft takeoff patterns and possible ways to lower noise levels around Bradley International Airport near Windsor Locks, Connecticut with members of the selectboards in Suffield, Windsor Locks, East Granby, and Simsbury on Monday.

According to the article, the local officials who attended Monday's meeting make up the Bradley Land Use/ Noise Strategy Committee that was established in January, said Robert Juliano, head of the state transportation department's bureau of aviation and ports, which operates the airport. Robert Skinner, the First Selectboard Member in Suffield, said, "Noise measurements have never been done before. It's a positive step in the right direction. People have been asking for some kind of plan." Douglas Glazier, the First Selectboard Member in Windsor Locks, said, "A lot of good things came out of the meeting. That could ease up on the number of complaints, but you're not going to eliminate them entirely."

The article reports that because the airport's main runway runs north-south, most planes fly over Suffield and Windsor Locks. In recent years, residents of southeast Suffield have registered the most complaints about noisy, low-flying planes. Juliano of the state transportation department said that members of his department have met with groups of residents in Suffield and elsewhere in the past few weeks to start getting recommendations about the problem. Juliano said the study will take six to nine months to complete, and residents will have an opportunity to be part of the process.

Meanwhile, the article says, resident Edward Kenney, who submitted a 195-signature petition to the Bradley Airport Commission urging better noise control, said, "I'm glad to see they're acting, but we're still pushing for immediate relief." Kenney said planes should be required to climb to a higher altitude and fly over the less-populated central parts of Suffield, instead of turning left over southeast Suffield as they do now.

At Monday's meeting, the state transportation department brought an aerial photograph of the airport and surrounding neighborhoods, with various takeoff patterns overlaid on it. Juliano said that a contract is being signed with Harris, Miller and Miller of Massachusetts to conduct noise measurements around the airport. The data will be used to come up with alternative takeoff patterns to be discussed with the Federal Aviation Administration, which has jurisdiction over flight routes.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Freeway Wall Project in California is Expected to Reduce Noise by Five Decibels

PUBLICATION: The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
DATE: March 24, 1998
SECTION: Local; Pg. B01
BYLINE: Phil Pitchford
DATELINE: Riverside, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Mark Poehlman, resident

The Press-Enterprise reports that workers are building a$623,465 sound wall to protect residents living near Highway 91 in Riverside, California. The project, which is being undertaken by the Riverside County Transportation Commission, is expected to reduce noise levels by five decibels in the neighborhood.

According to the article, the sound wall is being built along Diana Avenue near the Galleria at Tyler. Currently, noise levels are at about 75 decibels outside some nearby homes, which is louder than a telephone ringing, but not quite as loud as a vacuum cleaner. Officials hope to reduce the noise level to about 69 decibels, which is slightly louder than an average conversation.

The article notes that resident Mark Poehlman, who lives off Diana Avenue, is looking forward to the wall. He said, "It's pretty tough when you're trying to watch a movie and a semi (truck) decides to blare his horn."

The article explains that the wall is one of several planned along Highway 91 between the westbound Magnolia Avenue exit in the La Sierra area and the overpass at Brockton Avenue/Mary Street. Noise walls also are planned for both sides of the highway between Van Buren Boulevard and Jackson Street, and the northern side of the freeway between Adams and Brockton/Mary. Another phase of the project will build walls on the freeway's north side west of La Sierra Avenue; the freeway's south side between Jackson and Monroe streets; and the north side between Monroe and Jefferson streets. That phase is at least two years away, the article notes.

The article also reports that similar noise walls already have been built in the city. According to Steve Whyld, Riverside's planning director, noise walls are up on both sides of the freeway between Pierce and Buchanan streets near the Riverside/Corona border. Later this year, noise walls will be built on Highway 60 between Fairmount Boulevard and Blaine Street, Whyld added.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Commuter Rail Project in Washington City Could Eliminate Noisy Rail Yards

PUBLICATION: The Seattle Times
DATE: March 24, 1998
SECTION: Snohomish; Pg. B1
BYLINE: Diane Brooks
DATELINE: Everett, Washington

The Seattle Times reports the Regional Transit Authority in the Seattle, Washington area is considering eliminating noisy railroad yards next to the marina in Everett along the Snohomish River as part of its commuter-rail project.

The article reports that the commuter-rail project will link Seattle and Everett along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's main line. The commuter trains are slated to pass through a one-track tunnel below downtown Everett now used by freight trains. According to Paul Price, the Regional Transit Authority's director of commuter rail, it would cost more than $50 million to add a second track to the tunnel, which was completed in 1901. The article explains that the commuter trains could use the tunnel if the freight trains were re-routed to the north of Everett before heading east. But under that scenario, the freight trains would have to go extremely slowly around the railroad's "makeup yard" where trains are put together. If a new location for the makeup yard was found, however, the freight trains could go faster and the current makeup yard near the marina, which has been the target of many noise complaints, could be eliminated. The article notes that the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) might share the costs of a new makeup yard. In addition, a new makeup yard might be able to replace the waterfront makeup yard in Bellingham, which is between the Squalicum Harbor marina and a bluff lined with homes.

The article explains that the solution came up when Bob Drewel, a Snohomish County Executive and chair of the RTA board, met with Robert Krebs, Burlington Northern Railroad's chair and chief executive officer, about RTA issues. According to the article, the conversation shifted to the noise complaints around the marina makeup yard and to Everett's one-track tunnel. The men started searching for a win-win solution. Drewel said, "Meetings come and meetings go, but this was memorable. It was one of the more productive meetings I've had in any setting in recent memory with anyone."

After that meeting, railroad officials met with Everett and RTA representatives several weeks ago to further discuss the idea. Price of the RTA said, "Right now we don't know what if any obstacles there are. Burlington Northern Santa Fe gets a better operation, we don't have to build a tunnel, and the city of Everett's noise issues are taken care of, by and large." But, Price added, each of the interested parties has pledged some resources to investigate whether the plan can happen. D.J. Mitchell, the railroad's assistant vice president of passenger operations, said the plan looks "pretty good," but other alternatives must also be looked at, such as building a new tunnel.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Columnist Criticizes Snowmobiles on Public Lands

PUBLICATION: The Charleston Gazette
DATE: March 23, 1998
SECTION: Editorial; Pg. P4a
BYLINE: Donella Meadows
DATELINE: Charleston, West Virginia area
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Donella Meadows, adjunct professor of environmental studies, Dartmouth College

The Charleston Gazette printed the following editorial from Donella Meadows, an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College, regarding snowmobile noise on public lands:

Snowmobiles continued to vroom unhampered through Yellowstone National Park this winter, though beleaguered park officials had intended to close some of the trails. Environmentalists pounded for trail closure. Their ostensible purpose was to prevent bison from following machine-packed paths out of the park. But they had other reasons.

On winter weekends the exhaust from thousands of two-stroke engines raises carbon monoxide levels in Yellowstone to the highest measured anywhere in the nation -- higher than in cities. Gatekeepers at park entrances suffer from dizziness, headaches and nausea. Snowriders and skiers in what should be a wilderness breathe blue-fumed air that flunks federal health standards.

A more fundamental reason for the demand for snowmobile control, I would guess, is that some people want to ski or snowshoe far away from the sound of internal combustion engines. At the first mention of trail closure, the snowmobilers pounded back, of course. People who like to go vroom in the outback may or may not be more numerous than lovers of silence, but they have two political advantages. They don't mind looking and talking tough. And they have strong backing from the makers, sellers, renters and servicers of the machines.

The town of West Yellowstone, Mont., on the edge of the park, rents out 1,400 snowmobiles on a good weekend. Snow tourists bring $30 million a year into the town economy. Honda, Kawasaki and other machine-makers fund the Blue Ribbon Coalition and other organizations that lobby to keep off-road vehicles unregulated.

In Yellowstone the machines have won -- for now anyway. The silence-lovers, whose style is not to yell at public meetings but to claim the moral high ground and go to court, will fight back. Living in snow country myself, I watch the Yellowstone battle with emotion. Once I wrote on the Internet my uncensored opinion of snowmobiles. I hate the bleepin' things, I admitted. I hate the noise and the tearing up of the ground. (On our pastures snowmobile trails leave brown streaks that green up late and grow poorly.) I hate the scaring of wildlife and the garbage tossed in the woods. The snowmobile clubs work hard to police irresponsible behavior, but there are always bad actors, and I resent picking up after them. I hate the air pollution and the use of fossil fuel for what looks to me like trivial purposes. Most of all I hate the chain saw whine.

After I put out that stream of opinion, I ducked, knowing what normally comes back. "It's our way of getting out in the winter. It's good, clean fun. It's the basis of our whole social life. We have just as much right to be out there on public land as you have. And if you cut us off from your private land, well, we can think up lots of small, nasty reprisals for bad neighbors." All that is usually stated in much less polite terms than I have used here. But what came back instead, to my surprise, was a chorus of agreement, plus some chiding from folks who wanted me, while I was condemning recreational motors, to include trail bikes, dune buggies, jet-skis and speedboats.

I felt the way I did when it suddenly became OK to say "well, yes, I do mind if you smoke." I'm not alone! Those of us who have been suffering in silence can find each other and raise our voices. Maybe the political ground is shifting. Maybe it's becoming possible to say, hey, you're good friends, I like you, I just dislike this one thing you do. Could we talk about doing it in a way that doesn't annoy other people?

I do think we could work things out, in Yellowstone and elsewhere. We could back off and recognize that everyone has rights, everyone is a co-owner of the public lands, no one should be imposing noise or silence or pollution or cross-country skiing on everyone else. It seems totally sensible, for example, to require emission standards for wilderness vehicles like those we have for cars. The motorheads would benefit from that more than anyone else.

It would seem only fair to allow motors some places, but not all places. Sometimes I think our extremism on both sides comes from the fear that the other side will win everything -- machines everywhere, or machines nowhere. Why couldn't we could divide the off-road public space -- 50-50 is probably as good a ratio as any -- and solemnly swear there will be no encroachment, so we can all relax and enjoy our half? And here's a humble request. Could we honor the principle of private property, so landowners who don't want machines on their fields could say so without grumbles, threats, beer cans on their lawns, bullets through their windows, or other unneighborly feedback?

I have a final suggestion. Maybe more of a question, an honest attempt to understand. Do the machines have to be noisy? Why not run them with electric motors so they're quiet and they don't emit a trail of pollution? A friend of mine, who went through a vroom-vroom phase himself, heard me ask that and laughed. The whole point, he said, is to go real fast with a big, throbbing engine between your legs. Nah, no way, I said. Surely we wouldn't spend billions defending the Middle East, pollute our parks, irritate our neighbors and derail the climate of the planet just for that!

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Chicago Looks for Consultant to Discourage Plans for a Third Chicago-Area Airport

PUBLICATION: Chicago Tribune
DATE: March 23, 1998
SECTION: Metro Chicago; Pg. 1; Zone: N
BYLINE: Jon Hilkevitch, with contributions by Gary Washburn
DATELINE: Chicago, Illinois area

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago mayor's administration is searching for a public relations expert who would help discourage the idea of a third Chicago-area airport at a cost of about $180,000 per year. The consultant hired will help develop a strategy to defeat the movement for a regional airport near rural Peotone, and to prevent any of the more than $100 million in passenger taxes that Chicago collects annually at O'Hare International and Midway Airports from being used to build or operate a competing facility, according to city documents. The money to pay for the consultant would come out of the $3 tax on airline passengers at O'Hare and Midway.

According to the article, Chicago has spent $2.5 million since 1992 fighting a Peotone airport, and supporters of the third airport have not made much progress recently in their bid to build and open an airport. None of the major airlines, for example, is interested in shifting any operations to an airport less than 40 miles from Chicago, the article says. In addition, there are no potential private investors in a Peotone airport, and the Federal Aviation Administration last year removed Peotone from its list of possible future airport projects.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has spent $23.3 million in the last six years researching and promoting a third airport at Peotone, the article notes. Officials there say it is highly unusual for a government body such as Chicago to hire publicists to fight a facility that would benefit the public. Governor Jim Edgar is the chief sponsor of the 6-year-old Peotone initiative, and his transportation aides argue that Chicago's plan to hire a publicist is an attempt to short-circuit the public debate over the need for a new airport and to minimize discussion of serious environmental and competitive-pricing issues at O'Hare. Kirk Brown, the Illinois Transportation Secretary, said, "It's disappointing that the city is going to use taxpayers' dollars to try to sway public opinion when we ought to be looking for answers to Chicago's near-capacity problems." Brown was alluding to the limit imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration of 155 takeoffs and landings an hour at O'Hare.

The article reports that John Camper, Chicago Mayor Daley's deputy press secretary, said the city is not mounting a new anti-Peotone effort by the city, but simply continuing the one already in place. Camper said, "Peotone is only one of the responsibilities" of the public relations contractor. "[The city] has more communications needs than the Aviation Department's own small staff can handle." According to Dennis Culloton, the Chicago Aviation Department spokesperson, five or six firms have responded to the city's request for proposals. He added that the search for consultants is "something the airport has had for a number of years. It's just being competitively procured now for the first time." For example, Culloton said, the public relations firm Carolyn Grisko & Associates had a two-year contract that expired in November, and the firm was paid $175,000 to $180,000 annually. Culloton added, "We are not preparing for a new offensive in the Peotone battle. This small contract is really just a prudent step to protect the Chicago airport system." However, he acknowledged that the wording of the request for proposals focused on the Peotone controversy because the city wanted to make it clear the contractor would be involved in that issue. The article notes that the city listed the duties of the successful applicant as follows: 1) Using "established contacts" at all levels of government to "monitor and develop strategies to counter any outside initiatives to establish a regional airport authority, to direct revenues from the Chicago airport system or to build a third regional airport;" 2) Supporting the efforts of the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission, a city-suburban group the city formed in 1997 to blunt a campaign against new runways at O'Hare by a coalition of suburbs near the airport; 3) Developing newsletters about airport operations and noise-mitigation efforts for residents living near O'Hare and Midway Airports.

The article says that the city of Chicago also has directed one of its state lobbyists, Michael McClain, to lobby against the third airport project. McClain argued at an Illinois Farm Bureau meeting in Bloomington last week that the airport is not wanted or needed to accommodate the projected growth in air travel curing the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, the article notes, a spokesperson for the Air Transport Association, which represents the airline industry, would not disclose how much the group has spent to block the Peotone project. When Roger Cohen, the association's director of state governmental affairs, was asked to comment on a statement by the Illinois Department of Transportation that the association has contributed at least $700,000 for ads and lobbying against the third airport since 1995, Cohen laughed and said, "That's outlandish. It's much more modest."

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Silencing of Ice Cream Truck Music by Stafford Township Leads to Filing of Federal Lawsuit

PUBLICATION: Asbury Park Press
DATE: March 28, 1998
SECTION: B, Pg. 1
BYLINE: Scott Goldstein
DATELINE: Stafford Township, New Jersey

The Asbury Park Press of New Jersey reports that Stafford Township's ban on ice cream truck music is being challenged in Federal Court based on constitutional grounds. Jeffery S. Cabaniss, a township resident and the owner of Jef-Freeze Treats, filed the suit against the township council on March 25. He has asked for a court injunction to restore the music in Stafford while the case is pending.

According to the article, Cabaniss had requested the Township Council to consider a lift on the ban while they discussed alternatives to an outright ban. In the absence of an official response, Cabaniss reportedly could not wait any further with the arrival of his busy spring and summer seasons.

Cabaniss' lawyer, L. Gilbert Farr said U.S. District Court Judge Mary L. Cooper had scheduled a hearing April 20 at which time she may issue a preliminary court injunction.

Stafford Mayor Carl W. Block said the local ban would not be enforced while the township considers ways to maintain neighborhood peace. "It doesn't seem very efficient to start enforcing it and then amending it in the future," the article said, quoting Block, just two days after the filing of the lawsuit.

According to the article the township ordinance in question encourages the suppression of speech encouraged by the Constitution of the United States, including but not limited to speech designed to advertise.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


DOT Tree Removal Infuriates Condo Resident Who is Now Exposed to Interstate Noise

PUBLICATION: Sun-Sentinel
DATE: March 22, 1998
SECTION: Community Close-Up, Pg. 3
BYLINE: Bridgette L. Rallo
DATELINE: Deerfield Beach, Florida
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Joe Heimowitz, resident

The Sun-Sentinel reports that the removal of thick Florida holly trees from Interstate 95 is exposing condominium residents to interstate noise in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

The removal of the natural tree barrier has infuriated Joe Heimowitz, a resident at the Natura senior community located just off the I-95 off-ramp at Hillsboro Boulevard. He finds the noise of thousands of cars and trucks that travel I-95 each day intolerable. He can no longer open the windows in his condominium nor sit next to the pool in his complex and visit with a neighbor.

The Florida Department of Transportation removed the thick shield of holly trees just a few weeks ago. The holly tree is considered an invasive exotic by the DOT and has been targeted for elimination from state rights of way.

Behind the holly trees was a row of large ficus trees. Deerfield Beach Public Works personnel added to the problem, when they severely pruned the ficus trees at the same time state workers were cutting down the hollies, the article said.

"This used to be a beautiful little community. Now, I feel like I'm living on I-95. We have to scream at each other to be heard," the article said, quoting Heimowitz. Heimowitz reportedly speaks in behalf of the almost 1,000 elderly residents who live in the complex, including his 82-year-old mother. "You really don't want to live here on a Friday when people leave work early for the weekend. It's like the Indy 500, including the dust and fumes," the article says quoting further from Heimowitz.

The article states that Barbara Ray, a maintenance engineer for the DOT, believes state law mandates the removal of invasive species. The state has no plans to replace the hollies with non-invasive trees. Ray believes the ficus trees eventually will grow back enough to provide an adequate noise buffer the article said.

But Deerfield Beach City Commissioner Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, whose district includes the condo buildings, doesn't agree. "Those ficus trees will not grow in that much. There's no way." she is quoted saying.

City Public Works Director Donald Freedland is optimistic that some form of compromise can be worked out with the DOT to restore the vegetation needed for a sound barrier.

According to the article Mr. Heimowitz doesn't want to wait. Heimowitz not only wants the tress replanted but would like to see a concrete noise barrier built on the site as well. The article quotes Heimowitz saying, "The state should just put new trees in there now. I'm not giving up and I'm willing to do whatever it takes."

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


University Students in England Complain about Night Time Noise on Campus

PUBLICATION: Leicester Mail (England)
DATE: March 26, 1998
SECTION: Education: Universities, Pg.5
DATELINE: Leicester, England

The Leicester Mail reports De Montfort University students who live near the student union have complained about late night noise coming from the union.

According to the article, last week a petition with 86 names of students living at William Rowlett hall of residence, in Mill Lane, was to be sent to the university authorities. The petition called for increased security measures, but students are also protesting over loud music in the union in the early hours. This week, student union president Sarah Wilkins responded to the complaints by saying the students' union was implementing a number of measures to cut down noise pollution. Miss Wilkins said that during the week, events are prohibited from continuing beyond 12.30am.

The article goes on to report the city council's noise pollution center is monitoring the situation. Team leader for pollution control Steve Quick said: "We have been pressing the students' union to take action to reduce the noise." The students' union is planning to meet with students to discuss noise levels.

Top
NPC Noise News
NPC Home


Previous week: March 15, 1998
Next week: March 29, 1998

Indexes

Indexes

Aircraft Noise
Amplified Noise
Effects on Wildlife/Animals
Construction Noise
Firing Ranges
Health Effects
Home Equipment and Appliances
Industrial/Manufacturing
International News
Environmental Justice
Land Use and Noise
Lawsuits
Civil Liberty Issues
Miscellaneous Noise Stories
Noise Ordinances
Noise Organizations Mentioned
Outdoor Events
Noise in Our National Parks/Natural Areas
Regulation
Residential and Community Noise
Snowmobile and ATV Noise
Research and Studies
Technological Solutions to Noise
Transportation Related Noise
Violence and Noise
Watercraft Noise
Workplace Noise

Chronological Index
Geographical Index

NPC Menu Bar NPC Home Page Ask NPC Support NPC Search the NPC Home Page NPC QuietNet NPC Resources NPC Hearing Loss and Occupational Noise Library NPC Noise News NPC Law Library NPC Library