Noise News for Week of December 22, 1996

California Residents Cope With Airport Noise

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: December 22, 1996
SECTION: Part A; Page 1; Metro Desk
BYLINE: Janet Wilson
DATELINE: Santa Ana Heights, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Judy Bryant, Peter Andrews, Ed Hall, Arlene Hall, residents; Ron Smith,employee, SGI Insulation

While residents of Orange County, California debate the pros and cons of a proposed commercial and cargo airport at El Toro Marine Corps Base, the Los Angeles Times reports the communities surrounding John Wayne Airport having been living with an airport and its impact for years.

Folks near John Wayne Airport have tried lawsuits and other methods to get the noise reduced in their neighborhoods, the article reports. Unfortunately for residents around El Toro, most of the advice John Wayne residents have to give is of the "Grin and bear it" sort, as resident Peter Andrews put it.

According to the article, about 125 residents around John Wayne have taken advantage of the Orange County Acoustical Insulation Program. Andrews said that when he and his wife moved in in 1964 they were told by the county Planning Commission that there were no plans to make John Wayne a commercial airport. When commercial flights started, and the airport began to expand, Andrews and his neighbors fought and lost three separate lawsuits. Other neighbors sold their homes to the county and left. Andrews stayed and took advantage of the insulation program. The program provides as much as $38,500 per home for improvements designed to curtail noise.

Kathleen Campini Chambers, spokesperson for John Wayne Airport and the El Toro project, said no such program is planned for El Toro, the article reports. Chambers said the number of residences affected would be smaller, and the commercial buffer zone would be much larger at El Toro, reducing the need for such a program. However, the article reports the Board of Supervisors has left the possibility open for study.

Residents around John Wayne voted overwhelmingly for the new El Toro project, the article reports. "You can't block progress. Orange County needs that airport," Ed Hall said. "Those people down there don't want life to change," added Arlene Hall. "Well, nothing ever stays the same. Young people need jobs, businesses in the county need those flights."

Solutions are limited, said Andrews. The best the El Toro residents can hope for in his opinion is to "insulate," the article reports. "Get them to give you an acoustic abatement program."

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