Noise News for Week of December 21, 1997

Another Chicago Area Community Joins Forces To Quiet Airport Noise

PUBLICATION: The Chicago Daily Herald
DATE: December 27, 1997
SECTION: Neighbor; Pg. 1
BYLINE: Kevin Barrett
DATELINE: Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Daily Herald reports that Chicago area residents continue to clamor over the noise from O'Hare International Airport.

The article says the Lisle Village board recently joined two groups that have waged very public battles with Chicago over its airport planning and operations. In inking one agreement, Lisle joined with a dozen other governments in the Suburban O'Hare Commission. The commission has battled repeatedly with the City of Chicago over expansion and noise issues arising out of O'Hare International Airport. Membership will cost the village $10,456 the first year and about $12,500 per year for each following year, according to Village Manager Carl Doerr.

According to the report, Lisle also now counts itself among members of the Partnership for Metropolitan Chicago's Airport Future. Led by U.S. Representatives Jesse Jackson Jr. and Henry Hyde, the partnership has pushed for a ban on expansion at O'Hare and for the construction of a third regional airport. SOC membership has risen to a dozen full members and Elk Grove Township as a partial member. Other commission members include: Addison; Bensenville; Des Plaines; DuPage County; Elk Grove Village; Elmhurst; Harwood Heights; Itasca; Park Ridge; Schiller Park and Wood Dale.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

North Carolina Resident Questions Proposal To Widen Highway

PUBLICATION: The News and Observer
DATE: December 27, 1997
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion; Pg. A19
BYLINE: Frederic J. Rice
DATELINE: Raleigh, North Carolina

The News and Observer published the following letter to the editor concerning the widening of U.S. 1-64 in North Carolina:

I just returned from vacation to find out that the state Department of Transportation has already held a meeting, or "workshop," on the proposed widening of U.S. 1-64 while I was away. I and hardly anyone in MacGregor Downs knew about this meeting. The proposal involves widening the highway to accommodate six lanes of traffic and making additional so-called improvements.

This proposal directly impacts the quality of life for the people in MacGregor Downs, especially those who reside on the east side, which is bordered by U.S. 1-64 and the 64 west exit ramp. The traffic on this highway has increased dramatically and with it so has the noise. Consideration must be given to the residents surrounding this corridor. A solution to the noise situation, current and future, would be a barrier to deflect the din that is currently creating a nuisance. A noise barrier would also assist in keeping out the construction noise anticipated to occur while the improvements are under way.

The DOT did not give the community proper notice regarding their hearing. Although placing a notice in an obscure section of the paper supposedly notifying the world of their workshop may be all that is required by law, it is not enough. The DOT states in its handout that "individuals living or working close to the project want to be informed of the possible effects of the project on their homes and businesses."

You are darn right, DOT, especially when it affects my property value and quality of life. Let's work together for an amicable solution.



NPC Noise News
NPC Home

North Carolina Resident Considers The Value Of A Noise Ordinance

PUBLICATION: The News and Observer
DATE: December 27, 1997
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion; Pg. A19
BYLINE: C.M. Evans
DATELINE: Raleigh, North Carolina

The News and Observer published the following letter to the editor concerning a noise ordinance in Raleigh, North Carolina:

I would like to respond to the Dec. 8 People's Forum letter headlined "The boomers: Can't Raleigh do something about an inadequate noise ordinance?"

I can add at least one more scenario to the letter-writer's list of aggravations.

An individual tries to conduct an important business phone call. Three stories below, a car at a stoplight in front of the building (one very close to the police station) has the volume so loud that the caller on the other end comments about it, and the windows are shaking. This happens several times a day.

While the individuals in these motorized earthquakes may have nothing better to do than drive around and disturb the peace, others are trying to go about their business in a professional manner. It's a nuisance, plain and simple, and the city should be rid of it.

No one should be subjected to that type of annoyance. Raleigh must have a noise ordinance that protects not only the citizens but those who conduct business here as well. I urge public officials to do all that is possible to update laws in order to protect people from this form of harassment.



NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Soundproofing In Cleveland Area Homes Goes Sour

PUBLICATION: The Plain Dealer
DATE: December 27, 1997
SECTION: Metro; Pg. 1B
BYLINE: Alison Grant
DATELINE: Cleveland, Ohio
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Randall Kolman, resident; Howard Weimer, resident; Michael A. Dolan, City Councilman; Ann Durica, resident; Marie Hasek, resident.

The Plain Dealer reports that efforts by the city of Cleveland to soundproof homes in the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport area have gone sour.

The article describes how the thunder of arriving and departing jets was routine for residents of the West Park and Bellaire-Puritas neighborhoods near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. They adjusted to the periodic roar that drowned out telephone conversations and rattled the window panes in their 1950s-era bungalows and ranch homes. But they didn't like it. When the city offered to soundproof hundreds of homes near the airport - with free windows, doors, and even heating and central air conditioning systems so residents could keep windows closed year-round - it seemed like an incredible offer.

However, the report says now some residents are complaining that although the idea was wonderful, the work performed on their homes was shoddy. "They're crookeder than a dog's hind leg," Randall Kolman said of the new triple-track storm windows in his Woodbury Ave. house. Kolman praised the quality of the windows themselves, but said they were improperly installed. "Literally, out of 26 windows, there's probably 21 or 22 of them that are screwed up one way or another."

According to the article, other homeowners complained of undersized furnaces, central air conditioning units that are incompatible with their heating systems and ducts, crude caulking, job delays and missed appointments by subcontractors doing the work for the city. Howard Weimer, for instance, said contractors installed a furnace and duct system that left two back bedrooms in his Fairville Ave. home chilly throughout last winter. A year later, Weimer said, the bedrooms are still cold. He described getting a frustrating runaround from contractors, subcontractors and city officials trying to get the situation changed. But there may be little Weimer can do.

The article says when residents agreed to the sound-insulation measures, which the city estimated were worth $28,000 per home on average, they signed agreements waiving all rights to sue the city or its agents in connection with the work. They also agreed not to take legal action over any noise, vibrations, fumes or other effects from aircraft at Hopkins.

The report says city officials declined to be interviewed about the problems, instead issuing a prepared statement. "Since its implementation, we believe this program has been successful," Port Control Director LaVonne Sheffield-McClain said in the statement. "There have been isolated complaints about the quality of work performed by the general contractors. Her statement said the city "takes every complaint seriously and investigates each one thoroughly. If the complaint is found to be valid, the general contractor is notified to correct the problem immediately."

According to the article, City Councilman Michael A. Dolan said he fielded 100 complaint calls from homeowners, and Councilman Martin J. Sweeney said he had gotten about 30 complaints since January. Dolan and Sweeney represent wards nearest the airport. The complaints come from people who take pride in their homes, many of them industrial workers who planned to stay well into their retirements. Kolman, for example, is a 66-year-old retired machinist, and he knows a thing or two about quality workmanship. He used a level and a carpenter's square to demonstrate that the new storm windows in his home were misaligned. He pointed to outdoor vinyl siding loosened and dented by workers installing a back door; to shrunken and bowed window trim; and to ill-fitting doors on the back and side of the house. He wants the windows fixed, but has not gotten assurance from the city that that will happen. "They've got me really riled up," he said.

In the report, Dolan said the root of the problems was the failure of the city to provide enough supervision for the noise -abatement program. "There is no contract administration at all," Dolan said. "The way I see it, the city ought to have a team in place to supervise contractors." Council President Jay Westbrook said the city should have a full-time liaison to oversee the contractors and to handle citizen complaints. According to Sheffield-McClain's statement, the city has just such an overseer. She said that Steve Nagy, the airport's planner and environmental officer, supervises the insulation program. Nagy did not return a call seeking comment. The city also created the position of "customer-relations project manager" to monitor customer satisfaction, according to Sheffield-McClain's statement, and assigned two Port Control employees to that unit. Four field operators are monitoring the contractors' work, her statement said. D & Z Transportation Services Inc. is Cleveland's contract manager on the soundproofing, and Standen Contracting Inc. of Boston is the prime contractor, according to city records. It appeared that D & Z did not ignore the problems - although some homeowners wonder if remedial work only made things worse. Weimer said he did not have enough heat in two bedrooms after contractors replaced his furnace. D & Z sent out a private engineer earlier this month to check.

According to the article, Ann Durica worries that the work performed by contractors may be hazardous to her health. She said contractors who tore out ducts in her basement did not take precautions to prevent the spread of asbestos dust. Her daughter, Marie Hasek, subsequently had duct taping tested at a laboratory - and said she found it contained asbestos. In the past builders used asbestos in insulation and other materials until the government determined it could cause cancer if inhaled. Hasek said that despite her mother's requests that the contractors stop the job, they continued to sweep up asbestos debris, hosed down the basement floors and walls, and opened the windows.

The report says Cleveland is paying for these noise -reduction improvements with surcharges on airline tickets for passengers who fly through Hopkins. Last year, the city insulated 138 homes at a cost of $5 million, records show. This year, the city expected to more than triple the number of homes it fixed, soundproofing 425 houses at a cost of $9 million. But Sweeney said the city ran into snags making new improvements; the contractors are busy making repairs. "I don't want to bash them too bad," the councilman said. "But there are some serious problems with some homes."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Virginia Plans Regulation Of Personal Watercrafts

PUBLICATION: The Virginian-Pilot
DATE: December 27, 1997
SECTION: Local, Pg. B1
BYLINE: Toni Guagenti
DATELINE: Virginia Beach, Virginia

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Jet Skis, WaveRunners and SeaDoos could be limited to Broad Bay and 500 feet or farther off the Chesapeake Bay and ocean beaches, if the draft recommendations of an advisory group are followed.

According to the article, The Jet Ski Advisory Commission spent three months wrestling with the issue before arriving at its recommendations, which have yet to be presented. Vice Mayor William D. Sessoms Jr. has been trying to restrict the use of personal watercraft since August. He's learned it is not so easy. He tried then to declare a temporary ban on the machines citywide following a spate of accidents. He discovered he didn't have the legal authority. So he formed the Jet Ski Advisory Commission and charged it with developing regulations to control personal watercraft. Sessoms, at the time, said the group could accomplish its mission in three or four meetings.

The article says Sessoms' efforts represent a local view of what has become a national concern. The Jet Ski debate centers on human safety, noise, and the impact on natural resources and marine wildlife. If the advisory commission is a barometer, a stormy public discussion is coming. But Sessoms said the situation has been handled fairly. "The individuals appointed to the commission represent different areas of the community having to deal with Jet Skis," Sessoms said. "The only thing I can tell you, I've tried to be fair, and when we got into a loggerhead and we had to make a decision, the decision was based on the majority rule." Sessoms pointed out that other commission members who own and operate personal watercraft support the open areas restriction. Sessoms added that the recommendations are only a draft.

The report says the group plans to meet again in early January to go over the proposals. Once agreed upon, all the recommendations must be forwarded to either the City Council or the General Assembly for approval. Some of the group's recommendations - which focused on four areas: noise, natural resources, speed and rental operations - were not unanimous. Several members of the commission wanted to make the open areas for riding the craft a half-mile out into the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean to cut down on noise and wildlife disruptions. The divided group decided a half-mile was too far and agreed to a 500-foot boundary. Rental operations were also a focal point of the group. Some of the recommendations include requiring conditional use permits for all boat or personal watercraft rental operations, requiring rental business employees to take the state personal watercraft education course and requiring renters to prove that they are 16 or older.

The article says the proposal has fired up local personal watercraft operators who say the measure, if passed, could result in a legal challenge. Chief among that group is an enthusiast who sits on the commission. "I know it's being rammed through," said David Gaskins, a former president of the Tidewater Personal Watercraft Club. "It's going to result in some serious litigation." David Parker, who operates two personal watercraft rental operations in the city, questioned the constitutionality of the proposal to restrict use to three open areas. "I think they're taking a small problem and making it 10 times worse," Parker said. Marilyn Dorsey, president of the Tidewater Personal Watercraft Club, said the open areas' recommendation is not the answer. "By limiting the use areas, you will be creating the potential problem of many more accidents due to congestion," Dorsey wrote in a letter to Sessoms dated Dec. 21. The watercraft club advocates mandatory education for all boaters.

The article says George Romano, co-owner of Enticer Water Sports, which operates from May to Labor Day out of Rudee Inlet, said rental companies are being unfairly scrutinized. Both he and Parker already do many of the things the group is proposing. It's what any good business owner who operates a safe operation must do, they said. Maps and boundaries are posted at Romano's business. And before taking to the water, riders get a lesson about the craft, where they can and can't ride and how far they have to stay away from other boaters, swimmers, piers, etc. Two boats, called "mother ships," take the renters to where they can ride and stay with the operators at all times, Romano said. "We lead them out one after the other," Romano said. "We have it under control." "The rentals aren't the problem," said Parker, who stands to lose a franchise agreement with the city for his rental business at 31st Street under one of the commission's proposals. "The problem, in my opinion is that 50 percent of the people breaking the law know they're breaking the law," Parker said. "You can't protect people from themselves."

The article says in Maryland, home of Virginia Beach's resort rival, Ocean City, the state four years ago adopted many rules similar to those being considered by the commission. Anyone operating a boat in Maryland waters born after July 1, 1972, must have a valid certificate of boating safety. Knowing that many of the renters were coming from states that didn't require a certificate, Maryland officials decided to work with rental businesses to make sure operators got the proper training before hopping aboard the craft, said Julie Sweeney, outreach coordinator for the Maryland Natural Resources Police. Sweeney said all renters have to have a "mini-crash course" before being allowed to ride a rented personal watercraft. The course lasts about 30 minutes and includes boating safety tips, what operators can and can't do, how to operate safely and a 20-question test each operator must pass. Each rental place has to have a guide leading and watching renters. All guides must either take a state class or take a 50-question test to work at the businesses. "It's working," Sweeney said.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Seattle Struggles Over Airport Expansion

PUBLICATION: The Seattle Times
DATE: December 26, 1997
SECTION: Local News; Pg. B1
BYLINE: David Schaefer
DATELINE: Seattle, Washington
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Airport Cities Coalition; Regional Committee on Airport Affairs;

The Seattle Times reports that as preparations begin for building a new runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, a coalition of cities is spending millions of tax dollars on lawsuits and public relations trying to stop the massive project. The Port of Seattle, meanwhile, will spend millions in public funds to keep it from being blocked.

The article says the third-runway plan has won approval by local planning agencies and its first funding from the federal government. The Port of Seattle says expansion is necessary because the airport's existing two runways are too close together to be used simultaneously in low-visibility conditions, creating flight delays. The Port wants to put the new runway 800 yards farther west, which will require hauling millions of tons of fill dirt to what is now a low-lying area of Burien. That work has begun. Nearby communities protest that construction will inundate their streets with dirt-hauling dump trucks, and that a new runway will inflict airplane noise on thousands more residences than are affected now.

The article describes how in an era when local officials shudder at cutting services or raising taxes, these South King County cities are doing both to finance their war. The cities and school district are part of the Airport Cities Coalition (ACC), which is fighting the runway in planning boards and state and federal courts. The same communities also formed the Regional Committee on Airport Affairs (RCAA), with its own budget and mostly volunteer staff, to argue the anti-runway case in the court of public opinion with community meetings and a newsletter.

According to the article since 1994, the ACC and RCAA have spent more than $5.5 million to fight the runway proposal. They expect to spend $2 million more this year. The cities' shares of the total ACC budget, through next year, include $2.2 million from Des Moines, about $2 million each from Burien and Normandy Park, $450,000 from Tukwila and $327,000 from Federal Way. Des Moines, Normandy Park and Burien also are contributing $28,000 annually to the RCAA. Lawsuits so far have cost the cities almost $4 million, most of it going to Cutler and Stanfield, a Washington, D.C., law firm noted for fighting airport expansions. The coalition has spent more than $1 million on lobbying and public relations, with the bulk of the spending split between two firms: the Wiley Brooks Co. of Seattle and Winner, Wagner & Francis of Washington, D.C. The Port, meanwhile, has spent about $1.2 million in public funds on legal expenses since August 1996 and budgeted a like amount for 1998. The bulk of the Port's spending has been with the Seattle firm of Foster Pepper & Shefelman, which has handled state and local litigation. The Port also has retained a Chicago firm, Hopkins & Sutter, which has specialized in airport litigation. One Port staff attorney works almost full time on the airport cases.

Five separate legal actions are in progress: Linda Strout, Port general counsel, said she expects hearings and appeals of all four state cases to the state Court of Appeals by fall 1998, and rulings by mid-1999. If there are appeals to the state Supreme Court, Strout said, she expects decisions by mid-2000. Strout said it is more difficult to predict the timing of the federal suit against the FAA, but clearly the legal costs will continue for a while.

The article says the expense won't deter the local communities. said Normandy Park's mayor John Rankin declared, "We're going to stop it." "But regardless of what happens there we are getting a tremendous value for that money. We feel we are going to win. We feel we have the right position. But win, lose or draw, to make the Port accountable, we have to sue them." Burien City Manager Fred Stouder said the expense of fighting airport expansion is small compared with the cost to the cities of doing nothing - declining neighborhoods, housing and property values. "The cities would be totally different if the runway goes in," Stouder said. In a rally this fall to bolster local support, Peter Kirsch, a city-coalition attorney, was quoted as telling local residents they are "winning in a big way." Actually, the Port has won the legal battles thus far, but opposition has slowed the project by years. Strout, the Port's counsel, said work on the project will continue unless opponents find a way to get a court injunction to hold it up.

The report says the Port has six full-time public-relations staffers working on airport issues, although no one works exclusively on third-runway issues. Are taxpayers in the anti-runway coalition cities in effect contributing to both sides of this legal and public-relations battle? Not really, say Port spokesmen. While the Port does collect a share of property taxes in King County, it pays for airport projects, including legal costs, with airport revenues, largely fees charged to airlines.

According to the article, the Port announced its plans for a third runway 10 years ago and said it would be in operation by now. The most recent schedule calls for construction to begin in 1999 and the runway to open in 2005. The actual cost of the runway, now estimated at $552 million, is about one-third of a larger airport-expansion project that also includes road construction, a hotel, a new control tower and garages. "The project is under way," said Bob Hennessey, an airport spokesman. Hennessey said the Port has begun buying houses west of the airport, where the new runway would be built. The first of an anticipated 20 million cubic yards of fill dirt has begun arriving at the airport by barge (coming down the Duwamish River) and truck.

David Schaefer's phone message number is 206-464-3141. His e-mail address is:

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Chicago Area School Sues City For Soundproofing From Airport Noise

PUBLICATION: Chicago Tribune
DATE: December 25, 1997
SECTION: Metro Chicago; Pg. 20; Zone: C
BYLINE: Ted Gregory
DATELINE: Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Tribune reports that The Chicago Department of Aviation and the Immaculate Conception School in Elmhurst are struggling through a lawsuit over soundproofing for the school.

Attorneys for both sides in the litigation are working behind the scenes to reach an out-of-court settlement in the case. Attorneys for Chicago and for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet have held two meetings and several telephone conferences since early December, representatives from both sides said Wednesday. "It's our hope that we can resolve this dispute," said Joseph V. Karaganis, attorney for the Joliet diocese, which filed the lawsuit in September on behalf of Immaculate Conception Elementary and High Schools in Elmhurst. "But it's got to be a satisfactory project, and it's got to protect the very fragile financial resources of Immaculate Conception."

The lawsuit, filed in DuPage County Circuit Court, contended that "Chicago reneged on its promise" to soundproof the elementary and high schools, which are less than five miles southwest of O'Hare. The Chicago City Council in March 1996 earmarked nearly $130 million for noise mitigation work at schools close to O'Hare. Immaculate Conception is among those schools, and it has sought nearly $7.6 million in work. Chicago has agreed to pay $3 million to $4 million, contending the renovations requested by Immaculate Conception exceed guidelines for receiving federal soundproofing funds. But Karaganis said the city is obligated to pay for the work regardless of federal guidelines.

To support his contention, Karaganis noted that the city in 1996 reached an out-of-court settlement with St. Charles Borromeo School in Bensenville, a city that borders Elmhurst on the north. In that settlement, city officials agreed to pay 100 percent of the school's requested soundproofing plans, which Karaganis said match Immaculate Conception's proposed soundproofing. Chicago aviation officials have said the St. Charles Borromeo settlement does not set a precedent for other litigation against Chicago. Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Monique Bond said the city is installing jet noise monitors at Immaculate Conception, and "we are being very cooperative, and we want to continue to cooperate, but we have to be fair about it. The school soundproofing project is not a subsidy for schools' renovations."

A hearing is set for Jan. 28 in Wheaton.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Florida Kennels Struggles To Make Peace With Neighbors

PUBLICATION: The Orlando Sentinel Tribune
DATE: December 24, 1997
SECTION: Local & State; Pg. B3
BYLINE: Joe Van Leer
DATELINE: Longwood, Florida

The Orlando Sentinel Tribune describes how the number of dogs and the noise of their barking increases dramatically during holidays disturbing the neighborhood of one Florida kennel.

According to the article, Ken Dobmeier said that during the holidays he will keep dogs inside between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Noisier dogs will be moved to sections of the kennel farthest from homes. The dogs also will be let outside all at once and for shorter periods of time, he said.

The report describes how residents are seeking peace and tranquility over the holidays. Nancey Smith, whose home is about 100 feet from the kennel, offered to help raise money in the neighborhoods to pay for a soundproof enclosure over the kennel. Dobmeier said the enclosure would be a permanent but costly solution. He is seeking bids from five contractors and estimated an eenclosure would cost $100,000. More fencing and landscaped buffers could also help muffle the noise, he said. Dobmeier said he has spent about $5,000 already to insulate the interior of the kennel, which he bought about 20 years ago. "To reproduce the kennel buildings on another piece of property could cost at least $400,000 to $500,000," he said. Dobmeier is expected to present ideas for a permanent solution at a Jan. 14 meeting. The original kennel owners were given special permission to build on the former orange grove in the 1950s. The subdivisions have since sprouted around the kennel.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Virginia Residents Worry About New Runway

PUBLICATION: The Richmond Times Dispatch
DATE: December 24, 1997
SECTION: Hanover Plus, Pg. J-1
BYLINE: Charles Boothe
DATELINE: Hanover County, Virginia
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Betty Lazano, resident; Albert and Geneva Johnson, residents; Lillie Matthews, resident.

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that residents of Hanover County Virginia are concerned about a proposed airport expansion.

According to the report, Johnsontown Road, a section of Hanover County and Brown Grove, settled during Reconstruction by freed slaves, are both are places where generations have been born and raised, lived and died. Residents are proud of their homes, and they hope future generations will be able to enjoy their land as they have.

But, the report continues, progress has all but engulfed these communities, with several industries and an airport breaking the tranquillity long appreciated by residents. When the county recently advanced a proposal to extend the runway at Hanover County Municipal Airport, residents protested but to no avail. "We didn't want the airport then [when it was built in 1971], and we don't want it now," said Brown Grove resident Betty Lazano at a public hearing before the Planning Commission earlier this month. She had the same message for the Board of Supervisors last week, saying, "You have intruded on us enough."

According to the article, the board approved an amendment to a conditional use permit that will allow the 750-foot runway extension, a move that some complained was a "done deal" that made public input meaningless. Residents fear that the extension, while touted by the county as a safety measure, merely will entice more aircraft to use the airport and increase the level of noise - and danger. While many residents who protested the extension live in neighborhoods south of the airport, across Sliding Hill Road, the Johnsontown Road and Brown Grove communities are north of the airport, closer to the landings and takeoffs. They are also located in a rapidly growing area, just east of Exit 89 on Interstate 95. To the south are the airport and Hanover Industrial Air Park, and to the west is Watkins Industrial Park. With much of the land around them zoned for industrial use, residents fear their homes are in a precarious situation.

The report describes how the new runway is of particular concern for Albert Johnson, whose house is the last one on Johnsontown Road. He'll be able to see the runway extension clearly from his back yard. "The planes make a lot of noise, " Johnson said, adding that the noise doesn't bother him too much. What bothers him more, he said, is the fear of his home being taken in the name of progress. "We don't want to move," Geneva Johnson said.

The article says county officials have said repeatedly that no one will have to move, and she said the recent amendment to the comprehensive plan on land use is an encouraging sign. Last month, the Planning Commission amended the comprehensive plan to designate more land along Ashcake Road for residential use rather than industrial use. Also, the county has applied for a Community Development Block Grant, which could provide $750,000 for upgrading property, roads and utilities in the communities. A public hearing on that grant will be held in March. But several residents don't put much stock in the county's efforts to help them. They said they've trusted the county before, when they were told the airport would remain very small and only a few industries would be built, and that neither would interfere with their lives.

According to the article, that's not what has happened. "The planes keep coming and they fly awful low sometimes," said Edith Coleman, who lives just up Johnsontown Road from Albert and Geneva Johnson. "It's hard to get out onto the road [Ashcake Road] sometimes, too," she said. "Those trucks are going all the time." "The airport's enough trouble as it is," Brown Grove resident Lillie Matthews told the supervisors last week. "The noise is so loud we think the airplane is going to take the roof off the house. You don't know whether to go to sleep or not. Coleman said that despite the planes and the trucks, she likes living there and has no intention of moving, as long as "it doesn't get unbearable."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Minnesota Gun Clubs Raise Tensions With Neighbors

PUBLICATION: The Star Tribune
DATE: December 24, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 1A
BYLINE: Mark Brunswick; Staff Writer
DATELINE: Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Star Tribune reports how gun clubs around the nation are under fire.

The Star Tribune reports how Plymouth resident Bruce Gelman wanted to throw a graduation party for his daughter in the back yard of his executive home. He had to ask a neighbor, the Plymouth Gun Club, to switch its shooting times from Saturday to Sunday so the racket from shotgun blasts wouldn't disrupt the celebration. Gelman and other residents have complained for years about near constant noise from the Plymouth Gun Club. Bruce Gelman's home on Dunkirk Lane is one of the closest to the Plymouth Gun Club. His family gets a copy of the club's annual shooting schedule and plans to be out of town during major events, particularly skeet-shooting tournaments. "It's not so bad at first, but after a couple of hours it'll get on your nerves," Gelman said. "It may not be the sound, but it's the percussion of the shooting. The repetition. Even the shouting, 'Pull, pull, pull' over and over." Across the metro area, in northern Washington County, members of the embattled Maple Island Hunt Club, part of the 2,700-acre Kelley Farm, say they are perplexed by complaints about noise from neighbors who live 1 mile away.

According to the article, development is putting pressure on the approximately 20 metro area gun clubs, many of which were established in the 1950s and 1960s in what then were the far reaches of the Twin Cities area. Now the clubs abut some attractive and increasingly valuable property. "The problem is that as people move to you, you become a nuisance to them. Whether you are is part of the debate," said Gerald Duffy, a lawyer representing the Maple Island Hunt Club. The conflicts arise largely over noise. As development expands outward, more gun clubs are facing the pressure. But conflict between shooter and homeowner in the Twin Cities area is not new. The White Bear Rod and Gun Club moved to Hugo in June 1973 and operated on a special-use permit that allowed shooting from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 365 days a year.

The report says in 1974, a local citizen group and a state environmental group filed suit to halt the club's operation, maintaining that the shooting created excessive noise and that club members were firing near a wetland and polluting the area with lead shot. After several legal actions, the club was ordered to halt outdoor shooting in July 1976. It has not operated since. Many of the clubs, because they've been around so long, have been allowed to sidestep more recent municipal noise statutes without penalty, or to operate without conditional-use permits.

According to the article, the Maple Island Hunt Club in Washington County's May Township, which opened in 1958, operates as a preexisting nonconforming use. While the club has talked of restricting its hours and shooting schedule, it has resisted agreeing to any new conditional-use permits. Though the Plymouth Gun Club's area is slated for eventual development as part of Plymouth's comprehensive plan, club officials say they intend to stay put, regardless of how attractive selling the land might become. "It won't matter to us if it is worth $1 million," said president Glen Joly, whose members have been using the 20-acre property in northwest Plymouth since the late 1950s. The club now has between 100 and 120 members, and shooting is permitted on Saturdays and two days during the week. "None of us is going to make a profit if the land is sold."

The article says in addition to the noise issue, the possibility of lead contamination from shooting is often used by frustrated homeowners to close neighboring clubs. While lead shot gradually has been discontinued and even outlawed in some forms of hunting, such as for waterfowl, it still is used frequently for skeet and trap shooting. Experts disagree, but most believe that lead from the shot poses health and environmental hazards only if ingested by waterfowl, or if the land is developed later and used regularly by children as a playground. The Plymouth City Council approved the Plymouth Gun Club's 1988 license last week after reviewing a report from the club about how it would clean up its land, which has an assessed value of $209,000. The club estimates it would cost $47,000 to $86,000 to "mine" lead shot from the top inches of the soil. It could recoup some of that cost by recycling the lead.

While noise and possible soil contamination fuel the debate, nearby residents' attitudes toward guns often come into play. Many gun club members are hunters who polish their aim and sight their weapons in preparation for the season. Others are hobbyists, practicing the more precise skills needed for trap and skeet shooting, in which they fire at clay disks propelled into the air. They say they are misunderstood. "You say 'gun club' and people think you are Terry Nichols or Timothy McVeigh," said Joly. "We enjoy our hobby, just like bowling or tennis."

The report describes how perhaps the most heated debate over gun clubs is occurring in May Township in northern Washington County. Anger is visible in a petition signed by 145 area residents opposing commercial trap-shooting activities; some signers appear to have broken their pencils while adding their names to the list. The Maple Island Hunt Club is a bucolic 400-acre preserve with a clubhouse featuring a stone fireplace and the heads of trophy animals mounted above its mantel. It was established by the late James Kelley, a St. Paul attorney who accumulated large tracts of land in the Twin Cities and had ties to the Hamm's beer fortune. The Kelley Land and Cattle Co., one of the last remaining large-scale cattle farms in the Twin Cities area, operates across from the hunt club on County Rd. 15. At the heart of the controversy is the expansion of the hunt club's sporting clay course from three stations to 10 in 1993. In sporting clay courses, shooters move from one station to another, often through fields and woods, firing at clay targets mechanically thrown into the air.

According to the article nearby residents contend that the expansion made the club a commercial venture and changed the nature and frequency of the shooting. During spring and fall league nights, they say, as many as 1,200 rounds can be fired. "We knew the hunt club was there. This is country living," said neighbor Mike Renslow, who has lived in May Township for nine years. "But the quietude and repose of country living is being ruined so that Kelley Land and Cattle Co. can make a few bucks." Maurice Grogan, recently retired as manager of the hunt club, said noise tests performed by the club and monitored by neighbors demonstrated that the shooting generates a minimal amount of racket. Despite the expansion of the clay course, shooting at the hunt club has remained constant over the years, with about 40,000 rounds being fired annually, club officials maintain.

The report says township officials have worked on a settlement between residents and the club that would restrict the club's hours. "People who are moving out to May Township for the rural experience have to decide what part of the rural experience they like and what part they do not like," said Township Supervisor Bill Votich, who has been mediating the dispute.

The article explains that the situation is not unique to the Twin Cities. Nationwide there are an estimated 15,000 gun clubs, and many have faced challenges about their continued existence, said Bill Bigelow, national manager of clubs and associations for the National Rifle Association (NRA). A gun club in Kalispell, Mont., had to move four times before eventually agreeing to locate underground. A gun club dispute in Faribault, Minn., resulted in an NRA mediator being dispatched to smooth things over. Although a man was killed in Texas last year when he was struck by a bullet fired into the air at a gun club, reports of shooting injuries from such clubs are rare. An Air Force shooting range popular among metro-area police officers this year shut down for environmental cleanup and reconstruction, further limiting range time. Several suburbs are cooperating to expand shooting facilities, mostly for police training. A portion of Braemar Park in southwest Edina is scheduled to become an indoor shooting range. The $6.2 million range will be open to the public and used by police officers from Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Richfield and the airport. Police in eastern suburbs are scrambling to find new shooting facilities as well, as ranges shut down.

The article says not all gun clubs have adversarial relations with their neighbors. A West Virginia shooting club makes its clubhouse available during the day for senior aerobics. The Federal Shooting Sports Center in Ramsey, in Anoka County, run by the Federal Cartridge Co., offers gun safety classes for high school students . The Metro Gun Club in Blaine, one of a few in the area run for profit, reports good relationships with neighbors and city officials and regularly scrapes off soil for lead recycling, according to owner Loren Hentges. The Oakdale Gun Club in Lake Elmo moves quickly to address neighbor concerns, improving berms and repairing fencing when needed, said City Administrator Mary Kueffner. When property is purchased near the Lake Elmo gun club, the deed reflects that the club is nearby, so that a buyer who may have inspected the property during a quiet time isn't surprised to hear shooting after moving in.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Senator McCain Advacates For Changing A Rule That May Reduce Noise At Washington National Airport

DATE: December 23, 1997
SECTION: Vol. 14, No. 51; Pg. 508
DATELINE: Washington, D.C.

Airports reports that Senator McCain of Arizona is proposing a bill to lift the perimeter rule at Washington National Airport. McCain suggests lifting the rule may reduce noise at the airport.

According to the article, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, said last week that a study conducted by Boeing on behalf of aviation subcommittee members concludes that lifting the statutory perimeter rule at Washington National Airport may decrease aircraft noise because airlines use equipment that has better range and fuel efficiency for longer routes. The perimeter rule - originally established in 1966 and later codified by Congress - prohibits nonstop flights longer than 1,250 miles into or out of National Airport. The study compares takeoff noise produced by the same aircraft while taking into account the different fuel weights that would have to be carried on flights within and beyond the 1,250-mile perimeter.

The article says under these assumptions, lifting the rule would not increase noise perceptibly since it takes a differential of about three decibels to notice a difference, McCain said. Aircraft flying shorter routes may weigh more since they often carry extra fuel so they will not have to refuel at every stop, the study showed. "The fact that lifting the rule may even decrease aircraft noise is compelling proof that this outdated law must be abolished," he said.

According to the article, McCain has favored lifting the National perimeter rule for several years, and airline competition legislation (S.1331) he introduced in October provides for competition-related exemptions to the perimeter rule.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

National Parks Prepare New Transportation Plans For Visitors

PUBLICATION: Morning Edition, National Public Radio
DATE: December 23, 1997
SECTION: News; Domestic
BYLINE: Mike Lamp, Grand Canyon; Bob Edwards, Washington, D.C.
DATELINE: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

National Public Radio reports that Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has announced a plan to reduce the use of cars in America's National Parks.

The report describes how the plan announced last month would replace cars with new transportation systems that include use of light rail, nature trails and bike paths in Yosemite, Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks.

The report describes how noise, fumes, and headache of heavy traffic have been part of the Grand Canyon experience since the post-war boom of the '50s and '60s. Parking lots were built about 30 years ago when annual visitation was less than 2 million. Since then, that number has more than doubled, with no increase in available parking. And now on a busy day, 6,000 cars compete for 2,000 parking spaces. "If you come here on a summer day, it's not exactly my idea of a national park. And the problem is not too many people, it's too many cars," describes Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. But things are about to change. By the year 2002, most Grand Canyon visitors will leave their cars near the park's southern entrance and ride shuttles to the view points and gift shops. The system will use light rail and buses powered by electricity and natural gas.

According to the report, the transit system could also be a blessing for businesses in Tusayan, Arizona. The town lies just outside the park boundary where plans call for a railway station and a parking lot that will accommodate thousands of cars every day. Not all business people are enthusiastic. The new transportation plan will also keep tour buses away from the canyon.

The report describes Karen Volmer who runs a tour company that takes 60,000 people to the park each year. "Most of our sightseeing tour people are over 50. They do not want to walk. They do not want to hike. They want to see it in comfort and to their abilities," Volmer said. Volmer also contends the new system won't get rid of traffic problems but just move them outside the park. Brad Trayver of the National Park Service disagrees. "This is the same kind of thing that a tour bus would face going to Disney World, going to any of the, you know, Universal Studios. You don't drive everyone right to the middle of the attraction," Trayver said.

The report says Trayver oversees the development of the transportation system. He says it will change not only the way people get around inside the park, but also how visitors see the Grand Canyon. If you park outside and are transported in through a different system and you approach the rim by walking five minutes, it's different than seeing it through the windshield at 45 miles an hour. And that's an important part of the experience we want to provide people," he said. Another part of that non-motorized experience will be about 100 miles of new bicycle and walking paths. The Park Service believes this new transportation plan will take visitors farther away from the sound and smell of automobiles and closer to what it's like down inside the Grand Canyon. Construction is set to being next fall.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Federal Aviation Administration Completes Environmental Assessment of Airport Expansion In Missouri

PUBLICATION: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
DATE: December 23, 1997
SECTION: News, Pg. A1
BYLINE: Mei-Ling Hopgood and Mark Schlinkmann
DATELINE: St. Louis, Missouri
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Joe Ortwerth, St. Charles County Executive; Conrad Bowers, Bridgeton Mayor.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the expansion of the Missouri Airport at Lambert Field won a big endorsement from the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday.

According to the article, the FAA declared that the airport's plan is environmentally and operationally sound and is the agency's "preferred" alternative. The airport and St. Louis city officials plan to spend $2.6 billion to build a new runway and improve terminals, and to buy and demolish more than 2,000 homes and businesses, most of them in Bridgeton. Airport and St. Louis city officials are hoping to get the FAA's final go-ahead by March. Then the airport plans to buy property and start design work, and Bridgeton plans to sue. If built, it would be the region's largest public-works project - seven times the cost of the Trans World Dome and twice as much as Lock and Dam 2 6 in Alton.

The article says city and airport officials were elated with the FAA's endorsement Monday. The city owns and operates the airport. Advocates say the expansion would allow more flights - especially in poor weather - and cut costly delays. That's essential to keep the airport and the region competitive with other metropolitan areas, they said. Lambert officials have been seeking an expansion for eight years. An earlier plan fizzled in 1994. Then airport planners started over with a new plan called W-1W. The plan would include a new runway southwest of the airport, expanded passenger terminals and parking and road improvements.

The report says the environmental analysis of various airport expansion proposals examined three options: build a runway southwest of the current airfield, build a runway south of the current airfield and Interstate 70, or build nothing. FAA officials studied issues such as noise, land use and air and water quality. In the 15,000-page study, the FAA said the southwest runway is the best plan because it "has less overall environmental impacts" and still would increase airport capacity. The FAA said that building a runway south of I-70 would allow 11 more flights an hour at Lambert than W-1W but that the plan would take more homes and businesses. Moreover, its configuration would require the demolition of the East Terminal, which is now being expanded. "Based on the comparison of environmental impacts as well as financial feasibility and operational concerns, Alternative W-1W is the FAA's preferred alternative," the report said.

According to the article, top FAA officials still need to decide whether to give the plan final approval. The FAA will consider the final environmental analysis, the airport layout plan, air traffic control procedures and other factors. Michael Faltermeier, manager of the planning and programming branch at the FAA's regional office in Kansas City, said the decision would be at least 30 days to "several months" away. The Lambert expansion plan has the backing of a large contingent of governmental, business and labor leaders on both the Missouri and Illinois sides of the metropolitan area. Several local players in politics and aviation crowded into St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon's office Monday to voice their support. They said the region needed Lambert's expansion, although MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah recently opened.t

On the other hand, the article continues, Bridgeton Mayor Conrad Bowers said if the FAA gives final approval to the expansion - which he expects - the municipality will sue in the federal and state courts to stop it. He argues that St. Louis, the airport's landlord, is violating Bridgeton's zoning laws. Tom Fehrenbacher, Bridgeton city councilman, agrees. "The whole situation is they destroy a third of our city," Fehrenbacher said. "They take out 2,000 homes, and the plan isn't worth it. It's not a good plan. We're not willing to sacrifice our city for a bad plan." To build W-1W, the airport would have to buy 1,937 homes and residential properties, most of them in Bridgeton, the FAA said. Those buyouts would affect about 5,000 people. The airport also would buy about 70 businesses. And more than 800 people would see a large increase in airport noise.

The article says opponents in St. Charles County rank noise as their biggest concern. Dozens of residents wrote to the FAA worried that airport noise will increase if the airport expands. In the study released Monday, the FAA said that newer, quieter planes would offset most of the increased flight traffic. "It's clear the FAA is thumbing its nose at the people of St. Charles County," said St. Charles County Executive Joe Ortwerth. "We asked them to consider the issue of increased aircraft noise, and they have, in effect, said we are outside the zone that would be affected. They, in effect, failed to respond to the question by stating there was no question," he said. In its report, the FAA responded to the more than 15,000 comments sent in by supporters and opponents on the draft analysis released in September 1996. That draft had whittled a possible 12 expansion plan options to three.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Missouri Community Persists In Struggle Against Airport Noise

PUBLICATION: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
DATE: December 23, 1997
SECTION: St. Charles Post, Pg. 1
BYLINE: Tommy Robertson
DATELINE: St. Louis, Missouri
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Mike Miller, St. Charles City Administrator; Pat Lang, member, St. Charles County Citizens Against Airport Noise (CAAN).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Charles officials and residents say they will continue to press their case for reducing aircraft noise over the county and protecting a historic commercial district as they respond to a federal agency's assessment of the environmental impact of Lambert Field.

According to the report, on Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration released its environmental impact statement study of various airport expansion proposals, including a $2.6 billion plan favored by Lambert officials. That plan would add a 9,000-foot runway southwest of the existing airport and raze about 2,000 houses and businesses in Bridgeton. While not endorsing the preferred plan known as W-1W, the federal agency stated that the proposal was environmentally sound. A final decision by the FAA on Lambert's expansion is at least a month away.

The agency's assessment of the preferred Lambert plan doesn't surprise St. Charles officials and residents who have been fighting the plan for more than a year. "I haven't looked at all of it, obviously, but there doesn't appear to be anything in there that we weren't expecting," said Mike Miller, the St. Charles City Administrator. Miller said he and other St. Charles officials have been involved in negotiations with Lambert administrators about a noise abatement agreement that would reduce air traffic noise over St. Charles and St. Charles County. He said those discussions will continue despite the FAA's final decision. "Our approach to negotiations was, regardless of where they build a runway, future flights will increase and certainly it will increase the amount of noise in St. Charles area, and we're negotiating to prevent that." Officials and residents have argued that reduced quality of life, property devaluation and classroom disruption by more aircraft noise will be the future for St. Charles County if the W-1W proposal is approved. Miller said the debate over expansion also is separate from the issue of governing the airport, a task now being examined by a regional commission formed by St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon.

The article says Miller and attorney Dan Pelikan are the St. Charles County representatives on that commission. "The city seems to be agreeable to taking a look at who should govern the airport as long as they don't loose the revenue," Miller said. Pelikan said the current debate over Lambert's expansion is not a topic for the regional commission, "But how a different authority would make a future decision to expand is an issue for discussion." Pat Lang, a member of the St. Charles County Citizens Against Airport Noise, or CAAN, said her group will comb the FAA report to see whether the agency has responded to concerns about the potential damage aircraft noise could cause historic buildings along Main Street in St. Charles. "Unless they've dealt with the historical aspect, then nothing's changed as far as we are concerned," she said.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

California Community Establishes New Requirements For Noisy Bars And Restaurants

PUBLICATION: Ventura County Star
DATE: December 23, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. A01
BYLINE: Kevin Smith
DATELINE: Simi Valley, California

Ventura County Star reports that the Simi Valley City Council in California approved an amendment requiring noisy bars and restaurants to obtain a special-use permit.

The article says the permit will apply to bars, restaurants that have outdoor entertainment, and nightclubs where public contests, such as mud wrestling, are held. The revisions also will require businesses that serve alcohol to be at least 250 feet from the nearest church, school, hospital, public park or residential neighborhood. The council's unanimous approval of the measure -- slated to go into effect in early February -- was tempered by the knowledge that the amendment will likely have to be tweaked in the future.

According to the article, Councilwoman Sandi Webb said smaller bars and drinking establishments that don't cause noise problems should not have to be subject to the special-use permit. "I think it should be tied to size," she said. "A smaller neighborhood bar won't have as much impact." The Tree House Sport Bar & Grill began as a quiet neighborhood bar, Webb said, but the business later expanded and began including live entertainment -- and a lot more noise. Stratton said the changes will give the city more "teeth" to control businesses that get too rowdy. "We want to instill upon these owners that it's their responsibility to provide security and have control of their patrons," he said earlier Monday. "You can't just open a place, have everyone get drunk and then call the police when they get rowdy." The city's police department should not become the bouncer for clubs that routinely draw large crowds of drinkers, Stratton said.

The article says state Alcoholic and Beverage Control Department prohibits businesses that serve liquor from being within 500 feet of a church or school. The city's amendment reduces that to 250 feet, but it also add hospitals, public parks and residential areas to the list. Dino Quiroz, beverage supervisor for the Arena Sport Bar in the Radisson Hotel, said the changes will probably prove to be more of an inconvenience than anything else. "The 250 feet will not make a big difference," he said. "But it does seem a little excessive when you're talking about homes." Some neighborhoods are not opposed to having a nightclub or bar in their midst, Quiroz said. "A lot of people like the idea of a corner store that they can walk to," he said. "There may be advocates that don't want a bar, but others do. It really comes down to supply and demand."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Soundproofing Of Homes Near Arizona Airport Continues

PUBLICATION: The Arizona Republic
DATE: December 22, 1997
SECTION: Valley And State; Pg. B1
BYLINE: Craig Morgan
DATELINE: Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona Republic reports that a 1987 noise study by the Federal Aviation Administration targeted homes in Tempe and Phoenix to be "soundproofed."

The report says in the first phase of the program, 13 homes in Tempe and 37 in Phoenix were given upgraded windows and doors, plus more insulation and other improvements to try to block out the noise of jets flying over the homes near Sky Harbor International Airport.

The article says currently Stantech Consulting will focus on about 100 homes near the airport in the program's second phase. Seventy-five homes in Phoenix and 25 in Tempe will be improved, in an area bounded roughly by 19th Avenue and Price Road, Broadway Road and Washington Street.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

New York Police Impound ATVs In Response To Noise Complaints

DATE: December 22, 1997
SECTION: News; Page A26
BYLINE: Errol A. Cockfield Jr.
DATELINE: Suffolk County New York

Newsday reports that reacting to noise complaints from residents and civic groups, police in Suffolk County New York took to the woods of Shoreham Saturday and impounded 10 all-terrain vehicles.

According to the article, police issued summonses to eight people for operating ATVs on private property without authorization in violation of a Brookhaven Town ordinance. Two minors, who accompanied their father, were not issued summonses. The summonses may result in fines of $100 to $500. In addition, it will cost the owners $120 to recover the vehicles. The ATVs, which usually have three or four wheels and are more commonly known as quads, have become popular in recent years. But at the same time, riders complain there are no public areas on Long Island where they can legally ride. Rising interest and limited recreational space have led to confrontations between riders, neighbors, police and municipal officials.

The article says one rider says he will sell his all terrain vehicle. "That's why I'm never riding again. I'm selling it," said Scott Marchasin, who was issued a summons Saturday, and only began riding a month ago. "I was having a real good time until the end of the day." Marchasin said he is planning to sell his ATV, which he purchased recently for $6,500. The summons he received was his second in as many weeks, he said.

According to the article, on Saturday, the Sixth Precinct's Community Oriented Police Enforcement unit conducted a sweep in the area near the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant. The vehicles were taken to a Brookhaven Town impound yard. Marchasin, 27, of Port Jefferson, Ralph Vilonna, 46, of Valley Stream, Thomas Friscia, 27, of Coram, Kevin Thumudo, 32, of Centereach, and George Buttuor, 27, of Dix Hills were all issued summonses. Three Deer Park men, William Mott, 20, Scott Hagemo, 20, and Steven Castellano, 20, were also issued summonses. All are scheduled for a court hearing on Jan. 15. Vilonna, who had traveled to Shoreham to ride with his two sons, said he also plans to give up the hobby after Saturday's incident. He said authorities are being too harsh and singling out ATV riders. They wouldn't impound a bicycle, he said. "They're being very prejudiced against us," Vilonna said, adding that the cost to get three ATVs out of the impound yard before the holidays will hit his pocket hard. "It leaves a very bad taste in my mouth."

The report says in Brookhaven, riders also have taken to public land, including the environmentally sensitive pine barrens. In 1994, the town impounded 74 ATVs. In 1995, that figure nearly doubled to 126. Last year, the town impounded 123 ATVs. Town officials could not be reached for 1997 figures.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Washington Metal Shredder Proposal Concerns Residents

PUBLICATION: The Columbian
DATE: December 21, 1997
SECTION: B Section; Pg. 1
BYLINE: Thomas Ryll
DATELINE: Vancouver, Washington
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Lee McCallister, chair, Fruit Valley Neighborhood Association; Dennis Dykes.

The Columbian reports that several neighborhood activists are airing concerns about a metal shredding plant proposed for the site of the former Fort Vancouver Plywood cooperative in Vancouver, Washington.

According to the report, the old plywood mill buildings have been razed to prepare about eight acres, or half the Port of Vancouver site, for equipment and buildings that would be erected by Pacific Coast Shredding. Several permits must be obtained for the work. A public hearing on the site plan and shoreline permit is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 13 before the Vancouver Planning Commission. A 30-day comment period on Pacific Coasts application to the city for the shoreline permit expires Dec. 26. The project must also go through an environmental review by the city.

The article says Pat Stryker, the Port of Vancouvers director of property and development, said she expects that the project will be found to have effects, but that it will possible to mitigate, or reduce, them. Meanwhile several activists say the project could be a noisy, polluting eyesore. "There are 9,000 different things we could say about opposition to the project," said Lee McCallister, chairman of the Fruit Valley Neighborhood Association. "Who needs a junkyard at the beginning of a port industrial area?" he said. "If you could promise me that there would be no transients and no chance of pollution, I say, go for it."

The article explains that Pacific Coast is a consortium of three area scrap buyers: Vancouver-based Cliff Koppe Metals Inc. and two Portland businesses, Metro Metals Inc. and Mount Hood Metals Inc. Mike Vail, Pacific Coasts general manager, said the project will be absolutely the state of the art equipment costing $3 million to $4 million. Design work thus far has even included hiring of an arborist for tree-planting consultation, said Vail. The site for years has been essentially devoid of plants; adding trees is almost an irony, given that most recent occupant was an operation committed to turning trees into sheets of glued veneer. The Port of Vancouver will lease the site to Pacific Coast if permits can be obtained. If the plant is built, it would only be the third such facility in the region. The other two, in Portland and Tacoma, are owned by Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc., the Portland-based scrap-dealing giant.

The report says the company's shoreline permit application says the plant would handle automobiles, appliances and light metals between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. They would be hauled to the site, on the Columbia River near the United Grain Corp. terminal, at the rate of 85 trucks a day, primarily between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Although the project has been described as an automobile-shredding facility, Vail said vehicles will represent a small percentage of the volume of processed metal.

The article describes how other plants have about 80 percent cars to 20 percent industrial scrap, and ours will be the reverse of that, he said. The metal for the shredder will primarily come from the Pacific Shredding partners, who now are shipping to the Schnitzer shredders. Vehicles would not be accepted from the public at the Port of Vancouver site, but Vail said the public would be able to deliver other scrap there. The site is about a quarter-mile from the nearest homes, but is separated from them in some cases by a dozen or more sets of railroad tracks. A cement plant is also nearby.

According to the article, almost all of the site will be paved so stormwater can be collected. Some will be allowed to flow into the river after oil and sediment are removed. Rain that falls around the shredder itself will be mixed with a detergent and sprayed on the scrap vehicles during shredding, cooling the metal to reduce the risk of fire. Thom McConathy, chairman of the Clark County Water Resource Council, said he disputes the permit-application claim that the facility will have no significant downstream impact to the Columbia River. Perhaps theyre playing with words, he said. If you believe the solution to pollution is dilution. He questions whether the proposed oil separation-sedimentation treatment will be adequate for stormwater, and whether chemicals will contaminate the detergent spray and volatilize into the air.

The article says Dennis Dykes, another activist who has followed the project, claims Pacific Coast added the barge dock to its plans only after hearing that the shoreline permit process requires the development to be dependent on a waterfront location. Not true, said Stryker. One of our earliest discussions with the applicant was about their need for a barge facility. Another possible port site was considered but was too far from the river. The site is immediately west of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad bridge, which swings open for river traffic. The bridge location and movement makes it impossible for the Pacific Coast site to accommodate anything larger than barges so the port is not wasting a potential freighter-sized area, Stryker said.

According to the article, Dykes also complains about the potential for noise. Stryker said the plant must meet a city standard for noise measured at the edge of the site. She also pointed out the other industrial uses in the area. It would have to be an extremely noisy project to be heard over the railroad, she said. Dykes described a shredding operation as a noisy, messy affair with a risk of explosion from unemptied fuel tanks and gas cylinders. "These machines cost millions of dollars, and the last thing in the world that the owners want is to get casual with their equipment and let those things through," said Stryker. Overall, she said, We spent a long time looking at all the risks and decided that they can be managed.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

California Car Wash Under Construction Despite Angry Neighbors

DATE: December 21, 1997
SECTION: Real Estate, Pg. F1, Real Estate
BYLINE: Tracy Correa
DATELINE: Fresno, California

The Fresno Bee reports that a commercial project that ignited protests from Woodward Park area residents in Fresno, California last year and sparked two lawsuits is under construction.

According to the article, Don Burgess, developer of the $7 million Parkwood Plaza says "we think it will be a project that will serve the area well,". The 9 1/2-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Cedar and Nees avenues will house a Chevron gas station and minimart, an Old Doc's liquor store, DiCicco's restaurant, a Jack In the Box restaurant and retail shops. The site eventually may include a health club, possibly a George Brown's Fitness Centers, and several other full-service restaurants. In all, the completed project will total approximately 80,000 square-feet of development.

The article says though developers are forging ahead, homeowners haven't given up their fight. Debate continues on whether or not the gas station at Parkwood Plaza will also contain a car wash -- an issue slated to go before the Fresno City Planning Commission again on Jan. 7. The commission visited the issue in December but did not make a decision, instead requesting more information from a noise study before next month's meeting. Some residents in the area who do not want a car wash tried to kill the entire commercial project last year citing traffic, noise and flooding concerns.

According to the article, it all began when the project first was approved by the Fresno City Planning Commission more than a year ago. Angry residents took their protest to the Fresno City Council, which in a 5-2 vote approved the project with the exception of the gas station/minimart and car wash plans. The developer and residents each filed lawsuits against the city, the developer seeking his right to build on the commercially-zoned piece of land; residents challenging whether the project fit building requirements for the largely residential area. Specifically, they challenge whether it adhered to a required 300-feet setback from the nearest home. When a judge pulled the parties together, the city settled by allowing the gas station and minimart as part of the earlier approved project. To appease residents and allow more time to study the impact of the proposed car wash, the city imposed a one-year moratorium on a car wash at Cedar and Nees. Otherwise the agreement permitted construction to move ahead.

The article says Gary Chester, who is building the Chevron station at the site, expects to open the station within the next week. He and Burgess, the commercial project developer, are sticking by their original plans. Chester, who owns five service stations in the Fresno-Clovis area, said the car wash is an important service missing in the Woodward Park area. He said it's also a good draw for business. "When the customer is traveling home they want convenience. I think people just want a one-stop shop in a gas station, including a car wash," Chester said. Chester points out that he waited out the required year to apply for the permits allowing the car wash. Now he awaits the planning commission ruling. In the meantime, he is putting in an island with high-powered vacuum cleaners. "My intent is to put the vacuums in with or without the car wash," Chester said.

According to the report that too isn't sitting well with homeowners who contend that the vacuums are part of the still-unapproved car wash. "Vacuums are not a part of a gas station but they are part of a car wash," said Anna Herrera, a Woodward Park area homeowner who has been against the entire project from the beginning. "Any citizen ought to question, do car washes have vacuums? 'Yes or no?' Clearly the answer is yes," she said.

The article describes how the army of opposition has angered Chester, who claims that residents and the city are interfering with a perfectly legal project. He said the city and residents are attempting to hold him up to a higher standard. Chester said the city is allowing a gas station project to proceed with little interruption at Shepherd and Cedar avenues. That project is also in the Woodward Park area. "All I want (the city) to do is to treat people fairly, say 'here are the rules,' and stick by them," he said. Chester said he finds it frustrating that after a project has been approved residents would continue to challenge it and that the city would let it happen. He also says he cannot understand why residents would be offended by vacuums, which he claims have a low noise level. It's an issue that has put the city in a peculiar situation, said City Planning Manager Nick Yovino. "Currently the code doesn't preclude vacuums" from a gas station, said Yovino.

According to the article, whatever decision the planning commission arrives at will set a precedent. It will affect the increasing number of new gas stations being developed at major intersections throughout the city, Yovino said. "What is happening in this whole area of convenience is you are seeing more and more of them being developed. Our definitions of car washes are outdated," he said. Although residents still continue to challenge the setback issue, the city has maintained that, with the exception of the outstanding car wash definition, the project fits the required conditions.

The report says that's good news to Burgess and Pearson Commercial as they try to fill out the rest of the planned development. Walter Smith, the Pearson Commercial broker handling leasing for the project, said he believes the area will receive a first-rate "community center." "The majority of our businesses have been in business for more than 20 years," he said, citing family-owned DiCicco's, locally-based Lamoure's Cleaners and Old Doc's liquor store. Smith said the center is designed to primarily draw from nearby residents. "You've got over 50,000 people in the Woodward Park area," he said.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Area Residents Offer Suggestions About El Toro Airport Proposal

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: December 21, 1997
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 6; Metro Desk
BYLINE: Raymond E. Shwartz, Paul Wagner, H.H. Minick, R. Olsen.
DATELINE: Newport Beach, California

The Los Angeles Times published the following letters to the editor regarding the El Toro Airport proposal:

* Close Camp Pendleton. Preserve the vast majority of the camp, especially the coastline and mountains, as open space. Use the existing infrastructure of the camp--i.e. housing, dining halls, warehouses, fuel stations, maintenance yards, offices--to serve as a base for the construction of the major, modern, international airport the region needs. Workers and project engineers could live on site during the project's growth, which will surely take up to 10 years to complete. Such a rare and wonderful possibility!

During that same span, new freeways can be carved out of the hills and mountain passes from San Clemente, Oceanside, Vista/Escondido and Temecula/Fallbrook. By 2003, the new toll road connecting Rancho Santa Margarita to Basilone Road should be complete.

The new airport would serve most of South Orange County, North San Diego County and Western Riverside County very well. At the same time, such a well-conceived alternative will cut down dramatically on the crush at LAX and Lindbergh Field. And the associated roadway improvements would serve to take much needed pressure off the dangerously overused Ortega Highway and the Escondido Freeway.


Newport Beach

What I propose is a compromise that may meet the needs of both sides. South County residents do not want a commercial airport at El Toro, fearing noise, traffic congestion and a host of other concerns. Newport Beach residents fear an expansion of the existing John Wayne Airport in 2006, following the expiration of the 1985 settlement between Newport Beach and the county.

One thing both sides can agree on is that the present and future growth is taking place almost exclusively in the southern areas of the county. Individuals who purchase or rent newly built properties pay an extra tax for roads, schools and other infrastructure improvements. These are commonly called Mello-Roos taxes.

I propose that this concept be extended to include a surcharge on tickets out of John Wayne by those living in South County. It could be considered an additional infrastructure tax.

The goal of the tax is to get those living in South County to consider the use of alternative airports to John Wayne. Opponents of a commercial airfield at El Toro have noted that a number of alternative airports are within easy driving distance of Orange County. They have mentioned LAX, Ontario and the March Air Force Base as alternatives. This plan would provide incentive for El Toro airport opponents to put up or shut up.


Costa Mesa

Your Dec. 10 story states, "City officials and most city residents" favor a commercial airport at El Toro, "believing it will relieve pressure to expand John Wayne Airport."

No doubt, their main objective is to end noise pollution by large aircraft flying over their city. And no one can blame them for doing their utmost to lay the problem on someone else. Perhaps they should direct their energies elsewhere, like having John Wayne Airport install a complaint hot line similar to the one at Van Nuys.

And what of the three plans submitted by the South County planning group for alternative uses of the vacated space at El Toro?

Apparently, the proposals recently submitted for consideration did not generate excitement. As has been suggested before, a Branson, Mo.-type theater and show district, with supporting hotels, restaurants and associated businesses, would bring in big bucks, make plenty of employment and certainly should generate excitement.

Let Newport Beach keep the problems they hope to dump on South County.


Costa Mesa

Therefore, I absolutely shudder when South County residents want to dismantle El Toro air base and use it for anything other than an airport.

We value that land given as a gift to our county by the federal government, but there could be a day when we realize its full benefit. Should our nation again be attacked, or perhaps our county experience a natural disaster, those four long and thick concrete runways could be worth their weight in gold.

Our recent storm that caused massive flooding is a good example of the need to be prepared. Apparently, the storm that hit us came from the north, but there was also one coming up from the south. The two came very close to uniting; if that had happened, it would have caused double the amount of rain and incredible destruction.

Of course, we who live in Orange County realize it is not a matter of if we will have a big earthquake but only when. We are cautioned to be prepared. Those runways at El Toro could save many lives during such emergencies. Whatever else we might want to see at El Toro could not be as important as an airport that could help ensure safety and security in time of need.



NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Virginia Airport Expansion Approved Despite Findings Of Greater Potential Noise

PUBLICATION: The Richmond Times Dispatch
DATE: December 21, 1997
SECTION: Editorial, Pg. F-6
BYLINE: Glenn Bolick.
DATELINE: Mechanicsville, Virginia

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that the Federal Aviation Administration environmental impact study of the proposed Hanover airport expansion do not measure up to community requirements for low noise, though the plan has been approved based on the study.

The article reports that on December 17 the Hanover Board of Supervisors rubber-stamped its approval on the extension of the runway at Hanover County Airport. While the major impact of this action will fall on the residents near the airport, all Hanover residents should be advised of the way in which this was accomplished. The county accepted a matching grant from the Virginia Department of Aviation to be used to print airport-information brochures to convince citizens that such improvements are needed. The information stressed lower noise, improved safety, and only normal increases in air traffic as benefits of the expansion.

However, the report describes how the Federal Aviation Administration report, "Finding of No Significant Impact," provides a different picture: "[Expansion would] enhance the ability of Hanover to provide alternative general aviation facilities from those at Richmond International Airport"; "The runway improvements would serve to attract airport-related businesses that use corporate jets"; "This will probably result in more transient activities at Hanover" and; "More and more of the larger and potentially louder general aviation business aircraft can be expected to use the airport in the future." These quotes certainly refute the less noise, greater safer, and no-expected-increase lines that the county has promulgated at meetings and in literature. Hanover citizens should be very interested in this issue, not solely as an issue of runway extension, but for the lack of truth coming from our county government.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Previous week: December 14, 1997
Next week: December 28, 1997



Aircraft Noise
Amplified Noise
Effects on Wildlife/Animals
Construction Noise
Firing Ranges
Health Effects
Home Equipment and Appliances
International News
Environmental Justice
Land Use and Noise
Civil Liberty Issues
Miscellaneous Noise Stories
Noise Ordinances
Noise Organizations Mentioned
Outdoor Events
Noise in Our National Parks/Natural Areas
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