Noise News for Week of April 6, 1997

Alaska Residents Speak Out For and Against Proposed Noise Ordinance

PUBLICATION: Anchorage Daily News
DATE: April 9, 1997
SECTION: Metro, Pg. 1B
BYLINE: S.J. Komarnitsky
DATELINE: Palmer, Alaska
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Jim Colberg, Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly member; Dan Elliot, Wasilla resident; Maureen Strawn, South Lakes Community Council member

The Anchorage Daily News reports that more than 80 people attended a hearing at the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (Alaska) Assembly chambers Tuesday about a proposed noise ordinance that would cover the more populated center. About two-thirds of the citizens who testified spoke against the proposed ordinance.

According to the article, the ordinance would set general guidelines for noise and would target specific activities like construction, motorboat traffic, and airplane flying, restricting most activities between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The ordinance is modeled after one in Anchorage, and would apply only to the borough's more populated center, from just east of Palmer and west of Wasilla up to Big Lake and south to the intersection of the Parks and Glenn highways, the article says. The ordinance was proposed by Assembly member Jim Colberg, who sees the ordinance as a way to help residents control some of the unwanted development resulting from the enormous growth in the Mat-Su area.

The article reports that about 30 citizens spoke at the hearing, with about two-thirds of them testifying against the ordinance. Many who opposed the ordinance said they didn't want Mat-Su to turn into another Anchorage. One woman said she didn't want Mat-Su to become a "Los Angeles where you can't even blow your nose without someone questioning how you do it," the article reports. Another resident, Kelly Huber, said she's proud to live in a place where neighbors still work with each other to solve problems, and that more regulation does not solve problems. Several people who spoke against the ordinance were car racers or former racers who want a racetrack to be built just off the Parks Highway near Wasilla. Some of these citizens said the intent of the ordinance is to shut down the operation, the article says.

Those who supported the ordinance said they were worried that their neighborhoods may be spoiled by unwanted development such as shooting ranges and gravel pits, according to the article. Dan Elliot, a Wasilla resident, said, "If everyone was friendly and neighborly, we wouldn't need it. But face it, not everyone is friendly and neighborly." Maureen Strawn, a member of the South Lakes Community Council, said she has lived in a residential neighborhood off the Palmer-Wasilla Highway for 15 years, and last fall a gravel pit operation opened. Strawn said she can hear every rock that falls, and that she would be happy if the operation was forced to work only the hours outlined in the ordinance.

After the hearing, Assembly member Colberg said that many people were confused about what the ordinance would accomplish. Colberg added that the ordinance only deals with noise that reaches adjacent properties and only limits construction noise on Sundays and holidays, the article reports.

Colberg proposed a similar ordinance last fall, which was voted down. The next public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Jet Flights Rerouted in Newark to Reduce Noise

DATE: April 12, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. A03
BYLINE: The Associated Press
DATELINE: Newark, New Jersey

The Record reports that flight paths of airplanes leaving the Newark (New Jersey) International Airport are being altered to reduce noise over parts of New Jersey. This is the second time since last year that flight paths have been altered in an attempt to reduce noise. Some local officials remain skeptical that the new flight paths will make a difference.

According to the article, the Federal Aviation Administration last year altered the flight paths of more than 200 jets a day heading west. The changes were intended to reduce noise for some Union County residents. The flight paths were rerouted only after a four-year, $6 million study that was prompted by complaints from residents in Scotch Plains, Fanwood, and other communities. Residents had complained that a 1987 rerouting subjected them to intolerable noise. However, the article reports, residents say the flight path changes made last year have not brought relief, and the town of Elizabeth has filed a lawsuit against the FAA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, seeking an injunction on last year's changes.

According to Tom Bock, the FAA's operations supervisor, the rerouted planes had been making a 2.3-mile left bank as they gained altitude, but the newest changes now call for planes to make a smaller arc while flying away from residential areas. Bock added that planes will make the turn in six miles, instead of their previous 10 to 12 miles. Improvements in navigation signals have also been made to ensure that planes follow designated routes and don't drift off course because of weather factors, according to Bock. The FAA will evaluate the changes after three weeks and will review the entire the plan six months later, the article reports. "There's going to be changes as we find that we need to make them," Bock said. "You have to try to see what works, and if it doesn't work, we try something different."

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Elizabeth, J. Christian Bollwage, remained skeptical that the latest changes would work. Bollwage said that because the FAA "has not cooperated in the past, everything they attempt to do is always suspect because of their past history." The latest changes would not affect the town's lawsuit, Bollwage said. He also called for testing to determine precise noise levels, and claimed that the FAA does not want to "get involved in scientific data."

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Canadian Officials Consider Placing Highway Through a Vancouver Park Underground

PUBLICATION: The Vancouver Sun
DATE: April 12, 1997
SECTION: Satrev; Pg. H1 / Front
BYLINE: Stewart Bell
DATELINE: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Duncan Wilson, Vancouver Park Board chair; Inger Olson, Jas Sahota, residents

The Vancouver Sun reports that Canadian officials are considering placing a highway that runs through Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia underground to lower noise levels and reduce air pollution in the park.

The article reports that plans for a bridge road across the First Narrows and through the park arose in the 1920s, but the park board initially rejected the idea because it would be "in every way detrimental to the best interests of the park." Vancouver residents supported that decision in a 1927 referendum, in which they voted by a 2-1 margin against building a bridge road through the forested Stanley Park. However by 1933, North Vancouver, the park board, and the Vancouver city council supported the concept of a bridge road, and the plan gained approval at the national level and the Lions Gate Bridge was built in 1938. In 1993, a series of studies was launched as the bridge neared the end of its lifespan. Now, after four years, 19 scientific studies, 955 written suggestions, and endless debate, the B.C. government finally appears ready to decide the fate of the bridge road, the article says.

As the studies for a new or rehabilitated bridge proceeded, the article reports, many park advocates took the opportunity to raise the possibility of putting the causeway, which serves 68,000 cars a day, underground. An underground causeway is now one of a number of options being considered by the provincial government. A 1995 government socio-economic impact study said that putting the causeway underground "would largely make the park 'whole' again, and would substantially enhance its attractiveness to park visitors." That's important, the study found, because Stanley Park is "probably the most important destination tourist attraction in the Greater Vancouver area." Ian McLeod, a member of the B.C. Transportation Financing Authority, which makes financing decisions on major transportation and highway projects, said that the project should provide a net benefit to Stanley Park.

Duncan Wilson, the Vancouver Park Board chair who lobbied for a causeway tunnel during a recent meeting with members of the transportation financing authority, said he hoped that option was now being considered by the cabinet, the article reports. Wilson has also lobbied the federal government, which owns the land, to support the option. His first choice, Wilson said, is to replace the bridge with a tunnel in the middle of the harbor, a proposal recently endorsed by Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson, the article says. However, if financial limitations are a factor, Wilson said he is willing to go along with a bridge. But the causeway must go under the park, he maintains. Wilson said that with an underground highway, traffic noise would vanish, the center portion of the park would be pleasant again, and the causeway could be re-landscaped and turned into a scenic corridor for cyclists and pedestrians, the article reports.

The decision is now in the hands of Premier Glen Clark, his cabinet members, and the transportation financing authority. A financing authority spokesperson said Friday the government would announce by the end of this month the short list of options it still is considering and the process by which the final choice will be made, according to the article. Officials have already eliminated the more elaborate proposals due to cost limitations, and must choose an option from the remaining choices. The decision is a political one that should satisfy frustrated North Shore commuters, traffic-weary West End residents, park advocates, heritage activists who want the old bridge preserved, regional transportation planners, and provincial taxpayers, the article says.

According to the article, a causeway tunnel could satisfy most groups. North Shore residents would get a new or improved link to the downtown, and park advocates would get rid of the causeway. However, the article reports, a tunnel beneath the park would cost about $269 million, plus an additional $95 million to fix up and expand the bridge, $44 million for the approaches, and $51 million in engineering and project management costs, for a total of $462 million.

The park board says the money could be quickly recovered with tolls, the article reports. Duncan Wilson of the park board estimates tolls would bring in $50 million a year (the transportation finance authority estimate is $30 million). With either estimate, the tunnel could be paid off in a decade. However, toll booths aren't likely to be popular with North Shore residents. North Vancouver district Mayor Don Bell said he doesn't support tolls unless they are imposed on all bridges throughout the Lower Mainland, because it's not fair to single out North Shore commuters for bridge tolls.

The North Vancouver district council also does not support any additional lanes on the bridge, unless they are designated for transit, the article reports. The council has also expressed sympathy for minimal impacts on the park. However, whatever the decision, North Shore residents want the project to get underway, Bell said. Work was supposed to start in 1994, but the decision has been repeatedly delayed, the article says.

Meanwhile, the bridge is nine years older than its original lifespan, and requires considerable maintenance measures. The province spent almost $2 million on maintenance last year, up from about $500,000 annually since 1992, the article reports. A 1993 highways ministry report found that "the bridge is deficient in its structural integrity, earthquake resistance, weight restrictions, lane width, highway safety, and traffic capacity."

The article also reports that two types of tunnels are being considered for the park: a "cut and cover" tunnel, or a bored or mined tunnel. The first would be the cheapest, the article says, but is likely to result in a loss of trees, which the city won't stand for. The bored or mined tunnel is favored in a series of environmental reports, because it would have the least impact on air quality, noise, and vegetation, the article says.

Meanwhile, some residents are behind the concept of a tunnel through the park. West End resident Inger Olsen said most people who walk in the park on a regular basis just ignore the noise, but if the province is going to do something about the bridge, it might as well get rid of the causeway at the same time. She added that no one foresaw the amount of traffic that would use the road when it was first built. Jas Sahota, another resident who enjoys Stanley Park, said there shouldn't be a highway through the park, and that "The park should be very quiet. Peace of mind, that's what you're looking for when you come here."



Do Nothing: Ruled out because major work is needed to road deck and maintenance costs are becoming excessive.

Rehabilitate Existing Bridge: Three wider lanes on the bridge and causeway. Top-rated option in environmental studies. A strong contender.

Modify Existing Bridge: Four lanes on the bridge and causeway. Causeway would remain at surface or go below ground. Cost: $462 million with tunnel. Also still in the running, if the province can work out the financing.


New 4-Lane Bridge: Parallel bridge with causeway at surface or underground. Version with Stanley Park tunnel is top-rated option in socioeconomic impact study.

New 4-Lane Bridge Plus Transit Lanes: Five- or six-lane bridge and causeway, with road either above park or below. Recommended by Community Focus Group (without park tunnel), but municipal support for more lanes is weak.


Shallow Bored Tunnel: Four lanes from W. Georgia to Marine Drive. Too costly ($610 million).

Shallow Bored Tunnel: Four lanes from West Georgia to Capilano. Too costly ($610 million).

Immersed Tube/Cut-and-Cover Tunnel: Six lanes from Denman to Capilano. Too costly.

Brockton Crossing: Four or six lane immersed tube from Brockton Point to North Van. Too costly, too much environmental damage.

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Writer Reviews New Noise-Reduction Headphones on Airplane

PUBLICATION: The Buffalo News
DATE: April 11, 1997
SECTION: Gusto, Pg. 31G
BYLINE: Tom Krehbiel

The Buffalo News printed a review of the new noise-canceling stereo headphones (QZ/2000), manufactured by Koss Corporation. The stereophones were tested on an airplane, and the writer reported good results from the equipment.

According to the article, the QZ/2000 system consists of a set of lightweight stereo headphones which are similar to the Koss Porta Pro headphones. But the new system has both the capability of sound-making and the ability to cancel outside sound before it enters the ear, the article reports. Tiny microphones embedded in the earpieces receive sound, which goes to a small control box. Quick circuits in the control box invert the sound waves and send them back to the headphones, which results in the canceling of the noise before it enters the ear. The article says that the QZ/2000 system works on low-frequency noises only; it starts to work at 1,000 Hz and has its greatest effect below 200 Hz. However, the writer says that a great deal of noise is in the lower range.

The writer also says that the system was a wonder on the airplane. The headphones deadened the rumble of the jet engines significantly, but because they didn't affect higher frequencies, they allowed him to carry on conversations and hear announcements by the plane personnel, the writer says. In addition, the headphones have a cable that can be connected to a portable CD or tape player.

The writer says that there are some weaknesses to the system as well. In the writer's opinion, the biggest weakness is that the headphones generate some noise of their own, experienced as a mild hiss. Music from a tape or CD player masks that hiss, the writer says, but it's always there. Another weakness noted by Koss is that the system can produce a feeling of pressure on the ear, but the writer noticed this only in the first second after turning the system on, while it was working to reach equilibrium. Improper handling of the system also can result in a squeal of acoustic feedback. Finally, the headphones don't reproduce music as well as the Koss Porta Pros, the article notes.

The suggested retail price for the system is $199, the article says, and is guaranteed for the lifetime of its user.

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Island of Bali Gets Ready for Annual Religious Day of Silence

DATE: April 8, 1997
SECTION: Nationwide Financial News
BYLINE: Gordon Feeney
DATELINE: Bali, Indonesia

Asia Pulse reports that the Indonesian tourist island of Bali celebrates the Nyepi holiday tomorrow -- the annual Hindu day of silence. Everyone on Bali is forbidden from leaving their homes or hotels, from making noise, and from using electricity for 26 hours, and local religious police patrol the island to make sure the rules are enforced.

According to the article, Bali is 95% Hindu, unlike the rest of predominantly Muslim Indonesia, and the Balinese are deeply devoted to their religion. Nyepi is Balinese Hindus' New Year, a day of meditation, and lasts from midnight tonight to 2 a.m. on Thursday. The day of silence is the final observance in a complicated series of rituals and ceremonies designed to ward off evils spirits, the article says.

Tourists are often shocked to find out they can't leave their hotel during the holiday, the article reports. Hotel owner Bernard Brack said his Bintang Bali Hotel uses candles to comply with the holiday. Some hotels are granted permission to use electricity, but noise must be kept at an absolute minimum, the article says. All hotels are granted exemptions during the holiday to pick up tourists at the airport, although there was an unsuccessful bid three or four years ago to close down the airport on Nyepi.

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California City Bans Street Vendors, Citing Noise and Other Health Issues

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: April 9, 1997
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 2; Zones Desk
BYLINE: John Canalis
DATELINE: Costa Mesa, California

The Los Angeles Times reports that the City Council of Costa Mesa, California has banned pushcart vendors over concerns about non-compliance with health codes, unauthorized vendors, and the noise and trash that they produce and leave behind.

The article says that an ordinance allowing the vendors was first passed in 1991. One council member wanted to better enforce health codes and licensing instead of banning the pushcarts.

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California County Board of Supervisors Delays Action on Residential Development Near El Toro Air Station

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: April 9, 1997
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 2; Zones Desk
BYLINE: Shelby Grad
DATELINE: Aliso Viejo, California

The Los Angeles Times reports that the land six miles to the south of El Toro Marine Corps Air Station -- which has been closed to development for twenty years due to noise from aircraft -- was due to be made re-eligible for development. The Orange County, California Board of Supervisors delayed that expected action on Tuesday.

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Louisiana District Considers Noise Ordinance to Control Loud Music With Profanity

PUBLICATION: The Times-Picayune
DATE: April 9, 1997
SECTION: Metro; Pg. B1
BYLINE: Jennifer Bagwell
DATELINE: St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana (parishes are similar to counties)
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Joel McTopy, Steven Thornton, Kevin Duhon, St. John the Baptist Parish Council members

The Times-Picayune reports that the St. John the Baptist Parish (Louisiana) Council is considering changing the parish's noise ordinance in an attempt to control loud music that contains obscenities. No action was taken at a Tuesday Council meeting, but Assistant District Attorney Charles Lorio agreed to study the council's options in revising the noise ordinance.

According to the article, Council member Joel McTopy is hoping to introduce a revised ordinance after Lorio researches the options. McTopy said, "I want to find out what our legal rights are. Allowing individuals to ride through public areas playing this profanity, words sailors are accused of saying, but I don't want to stereotype. . . . It's become unbearable for me as a parent." Council member Steven Thornton said he lives on a busy street and hears the music 24 hours a day, the article reports. Council member Kevin Duhon echoed this sentiment, saying that residents have complained about the bass blaring from cars, causing people to lose sleep.

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Construction Noise from Road Widening Project Bothers Some Residents in Tulsa

DATE: April 9, 1997
SECTION: South Tulsa Zone; Pg. 3
BYLINE: Jerry Hereden
DATELINE: Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Tulsa World reports that the construction project to widen the 71st Street corridor in Tulsa, Oklahoma is causing noise and traffic problems for many residents.

According to the article, the City of Tulsa and the Department of Transportation are widening 71st Street to six lanes between the Arkansas River and U.S. 169 east of Mingo Road. Portions of 71st Street, between College Avenue and Birmingham Place, will be closed until June 2, the article reports. In addition to the noise problems from the project, the road closing has forced many residents to take alternative routes, causing increased traffic on some other, previously quiet, neighborhood streets.

The article reports that some residents are extremely annoyed by the noise, but others report it is not a problem. Resident Barbara Dill says she tries to stay in her house and turn the TV up to deal with the noise, or to stay out of town. Dill added that she is frequently awoken by construction early in the morning before 7 a.m. Dill said she agrees the street needs to be widened, but believes six lanes are unnecessary. Residents Lloyd Ashcroft and M. Patel said the noise and traffic detours have not been a problem for them.

The road project also involves erecting walls in the area, similar to those near 71st Street and Harvard Avenue, the article reports.

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Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Commission Committee Approves Regulations to Ensure Healthy Indoor Air After Homes Are Insulated Against Noise

PUBLICATION: Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
DATE: April 9, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 2B
BYLINE: Donna Halvorsen
DATELINE: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: John Himle, chair of the planning and environment committee of the Metropolitan Airports Commission

The Star Tribune reports that the planning and environment committee of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), the agency which oversees the Minneapolis-St. Paul (Minnesota) International Airport, approved changes Tuesday in its noise insulation program to ensure that homes have healthy indoor air after they are insulated. The changes will require homeowners to add exhaust fans or take other corrective measures before insulation is installed if their homes have air quality problems. The proposed changes to the program will go to the full commission for approval on April 21.

According to the article, the changes to the program will require homes to be tested before and after they are insulated. If air quality problems are found before the home is insulated, homeowners will be required to take corrective measures. Tom Brown, the MAC's construction manager for the program, said costs for healthy air quality are the responsibility of the homeowners. The changes effectively add an entrance requirement to the noise insulation program, where previously there was no requirement.

The article reports that in the past, homeowners who lived in high-noise areas near the airport could attend an orientation session and receive up to $25,000 worth of insulation, acoustical doors, windows, and in some cases, air conditioning systems and furnaces. However, last fall, the Star Tribune reported that some homes that had already been insulated had indoor air quality problems, including the backdrafting of carbon monoxide and other combustion gases into the home due to inadequate venting of appliances. Brown said that in tests performed since then, the MAC has found that many homes had problems with inadequate venting before they were insulated.

According to the article, the new ventilation standard was developed by the planning and environment committee in conjunction with experts David Grimsrud, director of the Minnesota Building Research Center at the University of Minnesota, and Jim White, senior building science adviser for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Group. John Himle, committee chair, said the information about the new ventilation standard should go out to all homeowners, and should focus debate on whether existing building codes are adequate and whether they're being enforced. The standard adopted by the committee is more stringent than existing Minnesota building codes, which are expected to be revised next year, the article reports. The insulation program was halted briefly to develop the changes, and will now go forward.

The article says that the revised program includes the following steps: 1) Houses qualifying for the program will be tested for carbon monoxide, gas appliance-venting problems, house tightness, and moisture. 2) Homeowners will get the test results, and the MAC will suggest solutions for any problems found and provide information on contractors and financing repairs. Costs to the homeowner could range from $50 to more than $2,000, depending on the nature and extent of the problems.

According to the article, the committee also agreed to make repairs in homes that already have been insulated under the program that now have moisture problems or do not meet the program's new standards for house tightness and appliance venting.

So far, the article reports, 2,704 homes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area have been insulated, with plans to insulate 11,300 more over the next several years.

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Federal Judge Overturns Part of Louisiana City Noise Ordinance

DATE: April 8, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 12A
BYLINE: Peter Shinkle
DATELINE: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The Advocate reports that a federal judge Monday overturned part of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana city-parish ordinance limiting noise in public, saying the local law violated the constitutional rights of a street preacher who sought to use a bullhorn.

According to the article, U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola blocked the city from enforcing seven sections of the noise ordinance in his ruling. James Hilburn, the assistant parish attorney who defended the ordinance in court, said the city-parish may now seek to amend the ordinance to comply with the ruling.

The plaintiff in the case, Christopher Robbins, sued the city-parish after a fellow preacher was convicted in 1995 of violating the noise ordinance by using a bullhorn to preach in an area near the university, the article reports. Robbins said he also wanted to use a bullhorn to preach. Robbins and his attorneys challenged the consitutionality of a section of the ordinance that bans the use of an amplifier if it can be heard within 50 feet, and another section that blocks the use of an amplifier on public property if it can be heard in another building or vehicle. The judge ruled that both of those sections of the ordinance were too broad and "reached conduct that the city-parish would really not have much interest in regulating," the article reports.

Other provisions of the ordinance objected to by Robbins include sections that granted exemptions from the noise ordinance. Robbins' attorneys argued the exemptions gave preferential treatment to schools and governmental agencies, the article says. The judge agreed, writing "there are other types of expressive conduct that are probably equally deserving of an exemption from the ordinance." Robbins also challenged provisions of the ordinance that allowed the chief of police and the Metro Council to issue permits for people to exceed the limits set in the ordinance. The judge found that the provisions did not set guidelines for determining whether an exemption is warranted, and left too much power in the hands of government officials, the article says.

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Residents Oppose Wood Mulching Facility in New York Town

PUBLICATION: The Buffalo News
DATE: April 8, 1997
SECTION: Local, Pg. 4B
BYLINE: Audrey Fuller
DATELINE: Alden, New York

The Buffalo News reports that a Alden (New York) Town Board public hearing on a proposed special permit for a wood chip mulching and storage facility in a rural/agricultural zone drew mostly opposition from residents.

According to the article, Robert Schlossin of Triple S Construction wants to build the facility on a 76-acre parcel of land on Exchange Street currently used as a horse farm. Schlossin said the mulching machinery would chip an average of two truckloads of tree stumps each day between early April to late May, and once a week after that. He added that he has tried to locate his business in Alden for more than two years, but has not been able to find land with zoning that would accomodate his facility. He asked the residents to give him a year to prove that he can operate his facility without making anyone unhappy, the article says.

The article goes on to report that several of the 17 residents attending the meeting made impassioned pleas to the board to reject the special use permit for the facility. They said they moved to the area for the peace and quiet of rural living, and that the mulching operation would destroy that. Steve Walk of Sullivan Road said, "We pay a premium to live here. We paid a premium for our land and for our home. If you allow that facility to be put there, that premium is lost. If it happens directly behind my house, I'm gone." Joseph Bosela, one of two residents present who did not oppose the opening of the facility, said he believed the lay of the land in the area would probably create a berm to reduce the noise.

Meanwhile, supervisor Richard Savage said the board would seek to ensure that noise, hours of operation, and dust were strictly controlled if the special permit is approved. He added that safeguarding property values and the quality of life were primary goals of the board.

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Texas Airport Okays Environmental Studies on Runway Extensions, Decides to Sue Noise Monitoring Contractor

DATE: April 8, 1997
SECTION: Intelligence; Vol. 14, No. 14; Pg. 135
DATELINE: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

The publication Airports reports that the Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas) International Airport Board last week approved a contract for environmental assessments on three runway extensions, and accepted FAA grants for land acquisition and mitigation work on a future runway. The Board also approved a contract with a new firm to complete a permanent noise monitoring system, and voted to sue its former contractor.

The article reports that environmental assessments on three runway extensions will be performed by USR Greiner Inc. of Fort Worth at a cost of $800,000. The 2,000-foot extensions to be studied are those to the north of Runways 17/35C, 18L/36R, and 18R/36L, and associated taxiways, the article says. The board also accepted FAA grants totaling $28.2 million to be used for land acquisition and mitigation, runway work and revalidation of the environmental impact statement for future Runway 16/34 West, according to the article.

In addition, the board voted to sue Amwest Surety Insurance Company and the Flood Group of Torrance, California for costs related to the termination of a noise monitoring contract. A new $1.3 million contract was approved with Tracor Applied Sciences of Austin, Texas for the completion of a permanent noise monitoring system started by the earlier contractors.

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Seattle Congressman Urges That Schools Be Included on Noise Impact Committee

PUBLICATION: Business Wire
DATE: April 8, 1997
DATELINE: Seattle, Washington
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Adam Smith, U.S. Representative; John Rankin, mayor of Normandy Park and chair of the Airport Communities Coalition Executive Committee; Susanne Rosenkranz, contact person for John Rankin, 206-448-1200

Business Wire reports that U.S. Representative Adam Smith has written a letter urging the Port of Seattle (Washington) to reconsider its decision to exclude school districts from the committee that advises the port on how to deal appropriately with noise impacts from Sea-Tac International Airport.

According to the article, Smith wrote to Port Commissioner Paige Miller saying that the schools deserve a voice on the Citizens Advisory Committee. John Rankin, mayor of Normandy Park and chair of the Airport Communities Coalition Executive Committee, said he was pleased with Smith's interest. He added that jet engines already disrupt the learning of students several times a day, and that the addition of a third runway would disrupt students and teachers in the Highline School District even more. Rankin said, "The port must address Sea-Tac's immediate needs at a lower cost than our children's education and future."

The following letter was sent by Adam Smith to Paige Miller:

March 20, 1997

Paige Miller, Port Commissioner Port of Seattle Commission, Pier 69 Seattle, WA

Dear Ms. Miller:

I am writing to express my concern that school districts may be denied a participatory role in the port's upcoming efforts to involve citizens in Sea-Tac International Airport's redevelopment planning process. It is my understanding that school districts will not be allowed to name representatives to the Citizens Advisory Committee, the board that is charged with providing your organization with thoughtful feedback on how to minimize the impact of airport development on neighboring communities. I urge you to reconsider this decision. Each of the region's school districts -- Highline, Federal Way, South Central and Seattle School Districts -- stand to be significantly affected by increased noise and environmental impacts related to the ongoing airport development. Thus, they should be represented on both the Citizen Advisory Committee and the Technical and Planning Advisory Committee. Participation on those committees will ensure that the concerns of local schools are included in all phases of the Part 150 Study Update. I encourage you and your colleagues to invite the school districts to appoint representatives of their districts -- parents, teachers or administrators -- to the Citizen Advisory Committee. After all, providing a healthy and nurturing learning environment for our children is one of the most important responsibilities government will ever have.

Sincerely, Adam Smith, Member of Congress

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Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Commission Considers Plan to Require Homeowners to Correct Air Quality Problems Before Homes Are Insulated

PUBLICATION: Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
DATE: April 8, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 1B
BYLINE: Donna Halvorsen, Karen Youso
DATELINE: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

The Star Tribune reports that the Planning and Environment Committee of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which oversees the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, will consider today a plan recommended by staff to require homeowners to pay for improvements to the air quality systems in their homes before insulation is installed to reduce jet noise. If the committee approves the recommendations, they will be taken up by the full commission on April 21.

According to the article, up till now, homeowners have not paid for any of the work needed to insulate their homes against aircraft noise. Under the plan being considered by the committee, homeowners would be required to correct problems with carbon monoxide, moisture, and improper venting of combustion appliances before their houses could be insulated. The MAC would determine whether such problems exist, the article reports, and give test results and recommendations to homeowners. Tom Brown, a program manager for the MAC, said most homeowners who enter the noise insulation program in the future would be required to install and pay for one or more exhaust fans at $400 to $500 each. He said 5% of the homes probably would require more extensive ventilation that would cost homeowners about $1,500 each. The changes to the program will not affect the level of noise reduction achieved, Brown said.

The new plan was prompted by a Star Tribune report in October 1996 that claimed that five houses insulated by the MAC had problems with moisture and/or had unsafe or potentially unsafe indoor air. The MAC responded by assembling a team of experts to develop new testing procedures and a ventilation standard that exceeds existing building code requirements. Merwyn Larson, director of inspections for Minneapolis, said city inspectors have met with the MAC's ventilation committee to go over the new ventilation standards being considered by the MAC. Larson said the city will not change the way in which it inspects buildings, but will be more aware of the problems homeowners may be up against. He added that state building codes don't address indoor air quality and combustion appliance safety very well, and that there is evidence that the existing codes are not strict enough.

The MAC also has studied 100 houses since last fall, and has found that most of the air quality problems reported on homes already insulated were the result of "preexisting conditions" and were not caused by the insulation, the article reports. Nevertheless, Tom Brown and Steve Vecchi, program managers for the MAC, are urging the MAC install and pay for ventilation in already-insulated houses that do not meet the agency's new standards for house tightness and venting of gas appliances. In addition, they are recommending that the agency correct moisture problems in those houses, but are maintaining that reducing carbon monoxide emissions from combustion appliances are the homeowner's responsibility.

According to the article, the MAC program is part of an effort by the Federal Aviation Administration to mitigate jet noise in homes by keeping as much outdoor air as possible from getting inside. Under the MAC program, up $25,000 per home has been spent on insulation, acoustic doors and windows, air conditioning systems, and furnaces. To date, the article reports, 2,704 houses have been insulated in Minneapolis, Bloomington, Eagan, Mendota Heights, and Richfield, and an additional 687 currently are being insulated.

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New Zealand Airport Officials Want New Housing Restricted Around Airport

PUBLICATION: The Southland Times (New Zealand)
DATE: April 12, 1997
SECTION: News; National; Pg. 3
DATELINE: Invercargill, New Zealand

The Southland Times reports that officials at the Invercargill Airport in Invercargill, New Zealand believe it will be harder for the airport to expand its international flights unless new housing is restricted in Otatara. Officials of the airport's management company Airport Ltd. said the draft district plan, which governs the city for the next 10 years, deals with airport planning too loosely. They urged city councillors to ban further residential development under the western flight path in Otatara so the runway could eventually be extended for trans-Tasman flights. The airport company also asked that noise mitigation measures, such as insulation and double-glazing, be imposed on buildings under the eastern flight path.

According to the article, the draft district plan places no limits on new housing in Otatara, aside from placing nine properties on Marama Avenue North in the restrictive air noise boundary. In addition, the plan makes noise controls optional in the city area, the article says.

According to Norman McRae, Chair of Airport Ltd., allowing new houses to be built near the airport could leave the company vulnerable to compensation claims in the future as the airport got busier with international flights. He added that trans-Tasman flights are inevitable in the future, and such flights likely would leave and arrive late at night and early in the morning. McRae also said that the runway will have to be extended by 100 or 200 meters sometime in the future, because currently it is too short for loaded Boeing 767s to take off. He said, "But what we don't want is to bring these flights in from Australia and then have a backlash from people in that noise zone wanting a curfew put in place, like in Wellington, because of the extra noise at night. We want more protection to allow the airport to develop in a sensible manner."

The article goes on to say that Neil Boniface, the chair of the city council environmental and planning committee, said the draft district plan recognizes the importance of the airport, but also seeks to protect the rights of the residents living under the flight paths. He said he didn't believe the district plan would inhibit the growth of the airport. Instead, the company would have to seek resource consent if it wants to expand, he said.

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City and Airport Authority Should Seek Compromise in Burbank Airport Feud

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: April 6, 1997
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 17; No Desk
DATELINE: Burbank, California

The Los Angeles Times prints an editorial that urges Burbank and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to compromise on an ongoing disagreement over an expanded terminal proposal for Burbank Airport. Last week Burbank won confirmation of its right to stop any unwanted plans in federal court. The airport authority will appeal the decision.

According to the editorial, Burbank wants to avoid a terminal of the size that the airport authority wants, to reduce traffic, noise, and pollution problems. Burbank came up with its own compromise proposal and pitched it to Glendale and Pasadena representatives, but the airport authority says it is flawed and is pushing towards its own goal.

The editorial blames both parties for being inflexible: the airport authority in considering Burbank's compromise, and Burbank for demanding promises about curfews that the FAA must first agree to. It says that both sides have wasted lots of public money on court costs.

The editorial says that although both sides agree that a new terminal of at least sixteen gates is needed. The airport authority wants three more gates. Burbank wants a required curfew on flights and a limit on the number of flights and noise levels that will be permitted. The editorial claims that the problem is that neither side is willing to compromise, and warns that for ten years -- which it will take to before the terminal is built -- more public money could be wasted if an agreement is not reached.

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