Noise News for Week of December 28, 1997

Noise From Farmland Sludge Dumping Upsets Pennsylvania Neighbors

PUBLICATION: The Morning Call
DATE: January 3, 1998
SECTION: Local/Region, Pg. B11
BYLINE: Gail Scudder
DATELINE: Allentown, Pennsylvania

The Morning Call reports that complaints about noise from dumping sewage sludge on farm fields in Upper Mount Bethel Township, Pennsylvania has halted the dumping until further investigation can be done as to the content of the material.

The report says some residents had complained about the noise, prompting township officials to meet Friday with representatives of the company that provides the sludge and the farmer, Paul Smith. Tony Hermann, a sales representative for the company, Hydropress Environmental Services of Phillipsburg, N.J., said afterward that the early-morning dumping will stop. "They won't be working for us if this happens again," Hermann said of the company hired to truck in the sludge. In mid-December, Smith contracted with Hydropress to deliver the processed sludge, half of which is mixed with lime. About 1,200 tons have been delivered to date, he said. "This is one way of using some of the natural things" as fertilizer instead of chemicals on the land, Smith said. "Yes, it's biosolids from human waste, but if it's used properly, I feel it's beneficial to farmers." Smith said there are no harmful heavy metals in the product. "It has nitrogen, phosphorous and potash, the elements that plant life need to grow with," he said.

Nonetheless,the article continues, the township will have the sludge tested for hazardous solids, said sewage enforcement officer Rick Fischer, who along with Stephen Puzio of the state Department of Environmental Protection, attended the meeting. Results are expected within a week, Fischer said. Hydropress will also supply DEP with reports on soil contents of the farms, Hermann said.

According to the article, on Dec. 28, subcontractors for Hydropress unloaded the waste on land owned and leased by Smith. Smith said he farms about 600 acres of his land on Stone Church Drive and other parcels owned by township residents Dorothy Tarr and Grace McWilliams along River Road. Some people who live nearby complained of noise, and wanted to know what was being dumped and why, Fischer said. A complaint was also received by supervisor-elect Robert Brodt, who referred it to supervisor Lewis Donatelli Sr. Mounds of the sludge sat on Smith's property and the leased land, waiting to be spread. "We didn't get to spread it because of the cold weather," Smith said. Once delivered, the material has to be spread within 30 days, Smith said. Hydropress earlier contacted the township about its plans to dump the processed sewage, providing state approvals and a copy of the permit and also preparing the township for any complaints about odors, Fischer said.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Florida Resident Sue Resort Over Traffic Noise

PUBLICATION: The St. Petersberg Times
DATE: January 3, 1998
BYLINE: Ian James
DATELINE: St. Petersberg, Florida
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Richard Jones, resident; Steve Emery, resident.

The St. Petersberg Times reports that homeowners at the Saddlebrook Resort are suing the resort for the years of noise and inconvenience from traffic.

The article says in the lawsuit, which was filed recently in Circuit Court, Richard Jones and Steve Emery said they never anticipated such traffic when they bought property along Fox Hunt Drive. The suit alleges that during the past several years, "the Saddlebrook community has been converted from a private residential community to a grand commercial resort which is openly marketed to the general public." "By virtue of the intense marketing," the suit continues, "an increasingly large number of tourists and commercial vehicles and uninvited, visibly intoxicated guests continuously pass and repass" along residential roads. As a result, the suit says, mailboxes have been destroyed, pedestrians and bicyclists have been run off the road, and traffic noise has pestered residents at all hours. Despite many requests to redirect traffic to other routes, the lawsuit says, the resort has failed to act, causing traffic along Saddlebrook Way and Fox Hunt Drive to become "increasingly intolerable." The suit, which also alleges that the resort has failed to build additional roads as planned, asks the court to issue an injunction forcing the resort to redirect traffic and comply with development plans. Jones and Emery are seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory damages, plus interest and court costs.

In a similar case in 1993, the Saddlebrook Golf and Country Club Property Owners Association had made plans to install speed bumps along Fox Hunt Drive, but the resort sued and obtained an injunction against the bumps. In 1996, the association sued the resort, seeking to divert traffic to a maintenance road. But Circuit Judge Maynard Swanson dismissed the suit. And Jones, who was president of the association's board of directors, was voted out of office in December 1996 after some residents complained the board was wrong to spend its money on a lawsuit concerning Fox Hunt Drive, along which all five board members lived.

According to the report, the resort's owner, Tom Dempsey, said Friday in a typed statement that Circuit Court has already established in 1994 that the resort has the right to use the road "free from obstructing interference." Dempsey said the resort paid for paving most of Fox Hunt Drive, and traffic has not increased markedly since Jones and Emery bought their homes - around 1989 and 1994, respectively. Dempsey also said the resort never promised to build a particular planned road mentioned in the lawsuit and could not have built it "due to environmental impacts." The portion of Fox Hunt Drive where Jones and Emery live is in the homeowners association's area, Dempsey said, and the resort is not a member of the association. He also wrote that the association's new board and members "have made it very clear to the resort" that the association does not agree with Jones' and Emery's lawsuit, which was filed Dec. 23. Presidents of the community's five associations now "work together to solve common concerns or complaints," Dempsey wrote. And, he said, a traffic program established by the presidents' council now deals with issues involving traffic safety, among other things.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Grand Canyon Park Service To Unveil Quiet Technology Helicopter

DATE: January 2, 1998
SECTION: Assignment Desk, Environment Writer
DATELINE: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

U.S. Newswire issued the following press release concerning the dedication of quiet technology helicopters at the Grand Canyon National Park:

News Advisory: Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt will join Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz.) on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona to dedicate the first "quiet technology" helicopter ever acquired by the National Park Service.

"This is another important milestone on the path toward natural quiet," Babbitt said. "We are in the process of implementing President Clinton's 1996 directive to work with the Department of Transportation on innovative solutions to the noise and traffic congestion in some of America's most popular national parks. It happens that, at the Grand Canyon, some of the noise and congestion comes not from the ground but from over our heads. The FAA and the National Park Service are working on new regulations and flight patterns regarding overflights of this magnificent landscape, and Sen. McCain has been an invaluable friend in making sure that the Park Service's vital helicopter operations could be part of the solution instead of part of the problem."

Babbitt and McCain, joined by Superintendent Robert Arnberger, will dedicate the new MD-900 Explorer helicopter (Boeing/McDonnell Douglas twin- engine, no tail rotor) at 2 p.m. at the Papillion Grand Canyon Helicopters at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Tusayan, Ariz. At 2:30 p.m., there will be a flyover and demonstration of the new "quiet technology" involved, followed by a media availability.

Any cancellation due to inclement weather will be noticed by 3 p.m. MST on Monday, Jan. 5.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Resident And Businesses In New Orleans' French Quarter Fight Over Noise

PUBLICATION: The Times-Picayune
DATE: January 2, 1998
SECTION: Metro; Pg. B6
DATELINE: New Orleans, Louisiana

The Times-Picayune reports that noise levels in New Orleans' French Quarter are sparking a sharply divided debate that may end up the subject of a federal lawsuit.

The article describes how on the one hand, street musicians and bar owners have a valid point: Music is an integral part of New Orleans and especially the French Quarter. Silencing that voice would kill part of what makes the city unique and wonderful - and attractive also to tourists. But another important part of what keeps the Quarter alive - and prevents it from turning into just a tourist-commercial district - is its residents. The music is so loud that it sometimes drowns out services at St. Louis Cathedral and makes conversation impossible in people's homes. Some residents are giving up and moving out, a trend that threatens an essential part of the Quarter. Finding harmony here won't be easy. The report says the two sides are further apart than ever, and city officials seem more preoccupied with a federal lawsuit stemming from the dispute than with solving the underlying - admittedly tricky - issues.

According to the article, the first order of business should be recognizing that the old noise ordinance, written in the 1980s, isn't working and must be redone. Sections of the ordinance are vague and difficult to enforce, particularly the provision that sparked the street musicians' lawsuit: Police can ticket anyone making noise that is "plainly audible" at 50 feet. It is critical that the city involve all parties in formulating a new law. City Councilman Troy Carter tried that approach when he set up a committee to resolve noise problems years ago, but it broke down. The city needs to try again and exhort all parties to make a genuine effort.

The articles suggests some small, common-sense solutions that could arise from a real dialogue - things like posting church service hours in Jackson Square so musicians know when to keep away. Or closing bar doors when the music is blaring. The administration and City Council also need to consult audiology experts to make sure that the city's noise ordinance adequately protects health and safety. Hearing loss, for example, can begin at the 90-decibel level. Looking at what other cities have done would be a good move, too. The report explains how any new city master plan should have a tourism management plan - including noise control - as a basic component. Starting the conversation on this now with business owners, residential groups and others is a necessary first step.

Unfortunately, the report says city officials seem to be reacting to the lawsuit instead of taking the longer view. In September, the City Council, at the request of the Morial administration, infuriated residents by hiking French Quarter decibel levels from 70 to 80 decibels in residential areas and from 75 to 80 in commercial sections. A typical factory cranks out 70 to 80 decibels. Enforcement rules have changed, too. Police can cite only musicians who exceed 80 decibels at a distance of 50 feet. The Morial administration, citing the pending litigation, won't talk about their rationale for changes beyond the desire to settle the suit. But by refusing to talk about it, the mayor and his staff are only generating more suspicion and hostility. That doesn't help the climate for compromise.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Kentucky Resident Complains About Noise From Trucks

PUBLICATION: The Courier-Journal
DATE: January 1, 1998
SECTION: Neighborhoods Pg.06n
BYLINE: Bill Pike
DATELINE: Louisville, Kentucky

The Courier-Journal describes one Kentucky residents struggle to stop noise from a truck terminal behind his home.

The article describes how Fred Powell vowed to do something last summer about the noise coming from the growing American Freightways truck terminal behind his home. Powell - along with some neighbors on Youngland Avenue - complained to the company, Shively and the Jefferson County Air Pollution Control District. They said trucks and tractors at the terminal, on Ralph Avenue, were so loud that they couldn't sleep at night or hear their televisions. They also complained about odors from exhaust. After talking with Shively and pollution-control officials, the company agreed to install a fence to reduce noise and odors. The company also asked drivers to try to reduce engine noise, especially at night.

The article says Powell fears that any reduction in noise will be lost when the company, which operates 66 loading docks, begins using 30 more docks in February. "It's a big operation, and it will get bigger," Powell said. "The noise is bound to get worse." While he led neighbors' earlier efforts to fight the company, Powell said he's through complaining. "What else can I do? There's nothing left. "We'll have to resign ourselves to it. I'm 71 years old. We can't sell this place and move now."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Kentucky Residents Halt Airport Relocation Plan

PUBLICATION: The Courier-Journal
DATE: January 1, 1998
SECTION: News Pg.01a
BYLINE: Rick Mcdonough and Tom Loftus
DATELINE: Louisville, Kentucky

The Courier-Journal reports that an expected $20 million from the state to relocate neighbors of Louisville International Airport to the Cedar Creek area in southern Jefferson County is in jeopardy.

According to the article, the county's legislative delegation has decided to withhold support for the appropriation, which could kill it, because Cedar Creek residents complained that they don't want modestly priced houses in their neighborhood. Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Louisville Democrat and chairwoman of the delegation, said it decided "to hold off on recommending" the appropriation for inclusion in Gov. Paul Patton's budget until the Regional Airport Authority can assure lawmakers that the proposal for a 450-home subdivision is acceptable to Cedar Creek residents. She said the delegation will discuss the issue in Frankfort next week.

The report says state Rep. Larry Clark, an Okolona Democrat who is House speaker pro tem, said the proposed subdivision, which would be east of McNeely Park, would clash with what the area currently has - pricier homes in a rural setting. "We've got some $200,000 and $300,000 homes out there," Clark said. "If they build these $60,000 or $70,000 homes, it creates all kinds of problems. The residents of the Cedar Creek area are not too happy about it," Marzian said. "We've gotten loads of letters on it."

The article says Gov. Patton had indicated he would put the money in the budget he will propose to the General Assembly this month. Crit Luallen, his Cabinet secretary, said Patton "will look to the Jefferson County legislative delegation for a sign of support and consensus behind this initiative" before he wraps up work on his budget late next week. State Sen. Tim Shaughnessy, D Jeffersontown, said legislators agree that about 1,600 families who suffer from noise in neighborhoods south and east of the airport need to be moved. But there's no consensus on the Cedar Creek plan, he said. "There's an infrastructure issue with that space, an urban-sprawl issue." The airport's proposal has mobilized Cedar Creek residents. "Our No. 1 concern is to stop this type of development, with this type of density," said Joel Senninger, president of the 3-week-old Neighborhood Association for Cedar Creek Preservation. "These people moved out in this area to get away from city life," Senninger said. And he said he doesn't see a quick way to resolve the conflict. "It's going to take a lot to convince the people out here that this is what we want."

The article says Jefferson County Judge-Executive Dave Armstrong said he wasn't aware there was a snag involving the $20 million. But he expressed confidence that a recently named citizens relocation committee, of which Senninger is a member, will be able to solve any problems related to the Cedar Creek property. The committee will hold its first meeting Tuesday. Like Armstrong, representatives of the airport authority and the Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce said they had not heard that Jefferson County legislators were reconsidering their support for the $20 million. "I'm sure the chamber will be contacting legislators to see what we can do to get this back on track," said chamber spokesman Mike Bosc. The airport relocation money was the top legislative priority in a ranking compiled by the chamber with the input of local government and community leaders.

The article describes how the money would be used to speed up the relocation of residents from the Minor Lane Heights area south of the airport. That area would then be redeveloped for airport-related industries. Airport project spokesman Doug Stern said the airport authority will accept whatever conditions the governor and the legislature place on the $20 million. "If addressing the Cedar Creek residents' concern is a condition, we'll accept that," he said. Stern said there's no direct connection between the $20 million state money and the Cedar Creek project. The airport authority obtained a $10 million federal grant, which will be matched by $10 million in airport fee revenue, to pay for building 300 homes in the first phase of the Cedar Creek project. The subdivision would be built on 287 acres off Cedar Creek Road, and the homes would be worth about $75, 000 each. The airport authority proposed building a new subdivision because it has had trouble finding homes in the $75,000 price range, which is comparable to those owned by relocated homeowners. The new subdivision plan dovetailed with a long-discussed plan to move the entire city of Minor Lane Heights, which has about 500 homes. But Stern said there's no guarantee that homeowners relocated to Cedar Creek would all be from Minor Lane Heights.

The report says state Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, whose district includes the airport and Minor Lane Heights, said he hopes local legislators will find a way to address their concerns about the new subdivision without killing the $20 million for relocating airport neighbors suffering from noise. "That's pitting two groups against each other," Wayne said. "The reality is that people are living next to the airport in really horrible conditions and they need to be bought out as soon as possible." But Wayne said he's not going to defend the Cedar Creek project. "I understand a lot of people have questions about that specific location."

Staff writer Sheldon S. Shafer contributed to this story.

MAP: CEDAR CREEK BY STEVE DURBIN, THE C-J ( SEE LIBRARY MICROFILM) CORRECTION: Because of an editor's error, this headline and story incorrectly described how a proposed $20 million state allocation for the Louisville- Jefferson County Regional Airport Authority would be used. The state money would not be part of a separate $20 million plan to build a subdivision in the Cedae Creek area of southern Jefferson County for displaced residents.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

New Jersey Residents Await Highway Sound Barrier

DATE: January 1, 1998
SECTION: News; Pg. L01
BYLINE: Monsy Alvarado
DATELINE: Paterson, New Jersey
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Peter Pascale, resident; Kathleen McNeece, resident; John Pombo, resident; Licia Gibutosa, resident.

The Record reports that a project to build concrete sound barriers along Route 80 in Paterson and West Paterson is on schedule, but a recent phase, which removed trees and shrubs that buffered some homes from the busy interstate, has left residents eager for the job to be completed.

According to the article, Peter Pascale said that living along the highway has been "brutal," and that the barriers will bring relief from the smells and deafening noise of the highway. "When we moved in, the highway wasn't there and it was nice," said Pascale, who moved to the area in 1961. "Now, we smell fumes and smell rubber from the trucks and cars. I hope the walls will make a difference."

The article explains how the state Department of Transportation spokesman, John Dourgarian, said the $3.7 million state-funded project, which began in May, will be completed by mid-June. He said the barriers will be placed along an "extremely busy" area of the highway, where an average of 125,000 vehicles travel during a 24-hour period. Dourgarian said preliminary work has been completed for the three walls that will extend a mile and be 14 to 24 feet high. "All foundations are done," Dourgarian said. "The next step will be done in early January, weather permitting, which will be the placing of the concrete posts, and then the next step is to insert the concrete panels between the posts which creates the wall."

The article describes how brown- and rust-colored walls will be erected along the eastbound side of Route 80 in West Paterson, east of the Morris Canal near Riverview Drive, to Squirrelwood Road, then west of Madison Avenue in Paterson to Lakeview Avenue. On the westbound side, the barrier will run from Mary Avenue to the Passaic River in West Paterson. To make it more attractive, the barrier will be chiseled in spots to depict the Great Falls, the bridge above it, and the electrical generator at its base. Officials estimate that the walls will muffle noise by about 10 decibels. For residents immediately adjacent to the highway, they said, noise will be cut in half; for those about two blocks away, it will be reduced by about a quarter.

The report says Paterson resident Kathleen McNeece said she is glad the walls will be going up, because she is tired of the noise and dust that come from living so close to Route 80. "My house faces the highway,"said McNeece, of Kentucky Avenue. "You get used to it after a while, but it's very dusty, especially in the summer, when you have the windows open." John Pombo, whose back yard overlooks Route 80, said the walls are long overdue. "We've been waiting for the sound barriers for many years,"said Pombo, of Maple Avenue."We never use our back yard because it's too noisy back there."

According to the report, residents said the noise has gotten worse since trees along the highway were chopped down to make room for the barriers. Dourgarian said he did not know the number of trees cut, but said taking the trees down was necessary. "We do have to cut down some trees to make way for the foundations," said Dourgarian. "We don't like to do that, but we have to do that to ensure the wall is properly installed." Licia Gibutosa of Maple Avenue said she can deal with the inconvenience of not having trees by her back yard, if it means that the noise will be eliminated. "I don't like the idea of looking out the window and seeing the traffic and trucks," she said. "But I'm hoping that by springtime, the barriers will be up and we won't have to deal with it anymore."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Rerouted Flight Plans Postponed At New Jersey Airport

PUBLICATION: Asbury Park Press
DATE: December 31, 1997
BYLINE: Joseph Picard
DATELINE: Newark, New Jersey
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: New Jersey Citizens Against Aircraft Noise

The Asbury Park Press reports that the Federal Aviation Administration announced it is indefinitely postponing implementation of its controversial rerouting plan for flights out of Newark International Airport.

According to the article, activist groups and bipartisan officials have been working for months to stop or postpone a proposed flight pattern. The new flight pattern would have rerouted 25 percent of westbound Newark departures for at least a six-month trial period to low-level flight paths over southern Union and northern Middlesex counties. The departing aircraft will continue to fly further south before turning westward. The FAA agreed to work with officials and citizen groups to develop alternatives to the postponed flight pattern. Officials and residents in affected areas of Middlesex and Union counties hailed the FAA decisions.

The report says FAA officials could not be reached for comment yesterday. But Jane Garvey, newly appointed FAA administrator, said days earlier in a letter to Franks that the agency is "eager to examine new proposals which may reduce aircraft noise in the metropolitan New York area." Franks said the FAA has agreed to make available all its tapes over the past several years of data on all flights in and out of Newark to the citizens group, New Jersey Citizens Against Aircraft Noise. "With this data, NJCAAN can make use of new software that, when fed the FAA information, can give readouts and provide graphics showing the exact impact of aircraft noise on communities," Franks said.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Resident Take City To Task On Noise Violations

DATE: December 31, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 51
BYLINE: Alex Michelini
DATELINE: New York, New York

The Daily News reports that New York residents of Queens Blvd. are suing the city for violations of local noise pollution control laws.

According to the article, the members of the Lane Tenants Association at 107-40 Queens Blvd. have repeatedly complained about the 300,000 BTU cooler that rumbles up to 12 hours a day. Residents such as D'Antonio's husband, Daniel, a Transit Authority subway motorman who works an early morning shift, say they can't sleep because of the din. "It affects our nerves," Julia D'Antonio said. "It's hard to carry on our normal daily lives." Julia D'Antonio is leading a battle to muffle an air conditioner on the roof of an Off-Track Betting Corp. parlor next door, said the city's decision to issue a summons to itself without fines is "ludicrous." She and other residents called the city's vow to lower the volume on noise "a joke."

The article says D'Antonio believes city agencies are allowed to break noise laws without penalty, adding to the din of sound pollution exasperating New Yorkers. The cooling unit was installed four years ago without a permit. City buildings officials have it set on the roof of a next-door parking garage, to cool OTB customers on the ground floor. The city issued summonses to OTB a city agency for exceeding allowable noise levels, but an administrative law judge ordered no fine because of an Environmental Control Board policy against penalizing city agencies.

The article says the residents voiced their frustrations after the Daily News reported that the city's recently increased fines for noise violations may be meaningless because of lax enforcement. "The city says it wants to catch violators who break the noise law," said D'Antonio, who is pressing a suit in Queens Supreme Court against the city. "The joke is they're breaking the law themselves." Police have also said they will not tag noisy city vehicles, including sanitation trucks, a leading cause of disturbing noise.

According to the article, Councilwoman Kathryn Freed (D-Manhattan), who sits on the Environmental Protection Committee, said the policy should be changed because the public has "no confidence" in city enforcement. "You need something that insures the city won't violate their own noise code," she said. But Charles Sturcken, chief of staff of the Department of Environmental Protection, defended the no-fine policy. "The city is one big pot," he said. "You're taking from Peter to pay Paul. It's the city penalizing the city. It doesn't mean it shouldn't be remediated. We constantly send letters to agencies [telling them to stop violations]."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Nevada Community Considers Plans To Reduce Highway Noise

PUBLICATION: Las Vegas Review-Journal
DATE: December 31, 1997
SECTION: Aa; Pg. 6Aa
BYLINE: Sean Defrank
DATELINE: Henderson, Nevada

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that a recent agreement passed in Henderson, Nevada will reduce highway noise.

According to the article the Henderson City Council unanimously approved the city's Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with the Nevada Department of Transportation, which will provide $2.83 million in noise-relief augmentation to adjacent homeowners. Four different methods will be used to decrease the noise levels. The first way is the construction of barrier-rail extensions, which would increase the height of the dividing wall from 2 feet 8 inches to 6 feet and cut 5 decibels from the noise level. An example of the proposed wall was recently built along U.S. 95 between Eastern Avenue and Charleston Boulevard. Proposed areas for this device are adjacent to homes between Wagon Wheel Drive and Arrowhead Trail, from College Drive to just west of Greenway Road and the freeway stretch heading north between Country Club Drive and Viewmont Drive.

The report describes other types of barriers under consideration. A second type of barrier be 6-foot masonry walls built on top of either newly built or existing 6-foot earthen berms. The proposed plan recommends the construction of the barriers, designed to cut noise levels by 5-to-7 decibels, along the highway's south side, east of Arrowhead Trail, and heading north from Kimberly Drive to Country Club Drive. The third sound barrier will be a 6-foot-tall masonry wall built at grade with the land. It will tentatively stretch from Kimberly Drive south to Tamarack Drive, except for the depressed stretch of highway south of Horizon Drive. Project engineers determined the slope in the sunken area provides enough of a sound deterrent. Also included in the plan is a 6-foot-high barrier rail which would be constructed adjacent to Manor Shores Drive to the south and Heather Drive to the north. The addition was originally considered optional, but was adopted as part of the agreement on the advice of Robert Murnane, Henderson project engineer, and Councilwoman Amanda Cyphers.

The article explains how through the agreement, NDOT will provide $2 million in state funds for the design and construction of the project. Although it is the city's responsibility to pay for the remaining $830,000, the council can oppose any future cost increases in the project. Murnane said the agreement provides the most noise relief for the greatest number of people at the best price. "It's been effective," Murnane said. "It's very effective for the noise -mitigation value that you get, 4-to-7 decibels, in cost per foot. It's very effective, but it doesn't mitigate all the noise."

According to the report the measure couldn't seem to come soon enough for resident David O'Dell. O'Dell, who bought his house five years ago, said he was told his house would be built 300 feet from the freeway. Instead, he said it sits about 110 feet from the speeding traffic. O'Dell said the noise levels near his home have already exceeded the city's projected totals for the year 2002. Although cars haven't been a noise problem for O'Dell, larger tractor trailers have been a nuisance. O'Dell said his back yard remains unused and said adding a second glazing to his rear windows hasn't smothered the noise.

The report says about three months of design time is still needed on the project before it goes forth. According to Murnane, construction of the sound walls and berms, which is the responsibility of NDOT, could begin as early as this summer and should be completed in six months.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

The Federal Aviation Administration Rethinks Plan To Reroute New Jersey Flights

PUBLICATION: The New York Times
DATE: December 31, 1997
SECTION: Section B; Page 1; Column 1; Metropolitan Desk
BYLINE: Ronald Smothers
DATELINE: Newark, New Jersey
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Michael Schatzki, Director, New Jersey Citizens for Environmental Research; The New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise.

The New York Times reports that New Jersey noise pollution activists won a minor skirmish today in a 10-year-long battle with the Federal Aviation Administration over airplane noise when the agency agreed to suspend an experiment to reroute some planes leaving Newark International Airport.

The proposed change, say critics like Michael Schatzki, amounted to "tinkering that moves the noise from one set of New Jersey towns to another set of New Jersey towns." Mr. Schatzki is director of New Jersey Citizens for Environmental Research, one of a number of groups that are part of the New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise. "We are looking," Mr. Schatzki said, "for some real relief from the noise and want to stop playing this game of moving the noise around. We consider it a positive development that they have postponed this experiment and hope it is a sign that they will change the way they plan." He said that safety and efficiency considerations rather than noise concerns have long dominated the F.A.A.'s planning process. That view was partly echoed by the coalition's technical consultant, Glenn Bales, a former F.A.A. airspace manager who was at the center of creating the routing system for the region that has been in place since 1987.

According to the report, resident groups, lawmakers and the Governor's office hope the decision means that the Aviation Administration will make noise complaints more of a priority. They also said they were encouraged that the agency would conduct a more thorough review of aircraft routes for all three airports in the New Jersey-New York region that would be more sensitive to communities beneath the flight paths.

The report says agency officials said that they did indeed plan an intensive review of the routes affecting Newark, Kennedy International and La Guardia airports, beginning in February, but that the review had been planned well before today's decision to scrap the Newark experiment. The experiment, which had been scheduled to start on Thursday, was intended to reduce noise in areas around Carteret, Scotch Plains and parts of Woodbridge and Rahway by shifting the departure routes closer to South Plainfield.

According to the article, the review comes as the region's airspace has become the most congested in the world, according to a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Newark, La Guardia and Kennedy airports. Projections suggest that there will be more than 1.169 million takeoffs and landings at the three airports by the end of 1997, an increase of nearly 20,000 over last year, said the spokesman, Bill Cahill. Newark accounted for more than half of that increase.

The article says the experiment proposed for Newark would have rerouted about 25 percent of the airport's daily flights. The plan would have shifted flights from the current route, in which planes climb slowly to the southwest along the Arthur Kill to Carteret before turning west, to a more sharply westward turn well to the north, near Linden, which would have enabled them to gain altitude more quickly.

The report says Glenn Bales and Mr. Hatfield, who succeeded him as the region's airspace manager, said their main concerns in planning the routes were safety considerations, like creating separation between planes in the most efficient way and using a host of land-based navigational aids for pilots. It was a defensible approach, Mr. Hatfield said, because the agency's mission was to develop a safe and secure air travel system, not to abate noise. Noise and whether the air routes affected communities beneath them came much later as a concern.

According to the article, four years ago, Mr. Bales, working for the New Jersey groups, devised an alternative routing system that took most of the Newark departures out over New York Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, where planes could rise to 16,000 feet before turning west, south and north over land. It eliminates much of the noise problem, he said, but officials of the aviation agency feared that such a change would affect flight patterns along the Eastern Seaboard and elsewhere, and airlines feared additional fuel costs and flight delays. Mr. Hatfield said the routes devised by Mr. Bales would be considered along with other alternatives.

The article says the decision by the agency to suspend the experiment came after meetings with residents' groups over the last two days organized by Senator Robert G. Torricelli, Representatives Robert D. Franks and Rodney P. Frelinghuysen and Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Mr. Hatfield said the Aviation Administration still believed that the experimental routes would reduce noise because they pass over industrial areas, not residential ones. He said the agency had agreed to suspend the plan so community groups could evaluate it further. As part of that evaluation, the agency agreed for the first time to turn over to Mr. Bales data on the number of flights, their altitudes and speeds as they pass over central New Jersey. Such data are critical in modeling alternatives that reduce noise while maintaining safety, Mr. Schatzki said .

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Runway Expansion At Florida Airport Worries Neighbors

PUBLICATION: The Palm Beach Post
DATE: December 31, 1997
SECTION: Opinion, Pg. 12A
DATELINE: Palm Beach, Florida

The Palm Beach Post reports that Palm Beach residents are skeptical about a proposal to extend the runway at Palm Beach International Airport(PBIA). Officials say the extended runway will reduce noise. Residents disagree.

According to the article, jets take off from an 8,000-foot runway at PBIA. The 10,000-foot runway, if it's approved by the county commission, will allow the planes to take off farther from residential areas to the east. That means the planes will be higher off the ground when they pass over those houses, and the noise level on the ground will be lower. Airports Director Bruce Pelly says the science behind the claim is solid. "Everything we've gotten from our noise consultants says it makes things quieter." Unless opponents of the longer runway can show some flaw in the projections that show reduced noise, the county commission should approve the longer runway.

The article says residents are concerned as to the genuine purpose of a longer runway. They believe the main purpose of the longer runway is to attract the bigger, heavier jets that fly international routes. Those planes make more noise on takeoff. If the longer runway attracts a whole lot of those flights, the extra noise could offset the benefits of the longer runway. Mr. Pelly says marketing projections show PBIA will not draw enough new international flights to create a problem. Many residents do not believe that line. Their suspicions are increased by Mr. Pelly's refusal to offer any guarantees. If it turns out he's wrong, and, despite all the projections, there's more noise on the ground, Mr. Pelly says federal rules won't allow the airport to compensate by restricting flights.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

New Jersey Residents Complain About Noise From Parkway Expansion Project

PUBLICATION: The Asbury Park Press
DATE: December 30, 1997
BYLINE: Gina G. Scala
DATELINE: Barnegat Township, New Jersey

The Asbury Park Press reports that expansion work at the Garden State Parkway toll plaza is under way, despite concerns raised by residents living nearby about noise pollution.

According to the article, residents of the township's nearby Pine Ridge development have voiced angry opposition to the work going on at the parkway toll plaza, saying the expansion infringes on their privacy and detracts from their quality of life. They also have objected to the increase in noise coming from the state highway.

The article says crews from Agate Construction, Oceanville, recently began to expand the toll plaza just north of exit 67, here, said Dennis Ingoglia, spokesman for the New Jersey Highway Authority, which operates the parkway. Three lanes are being added to make room for three new toll booths, bringing the total number of booths to 14, he said. The project should be completed by the end of next year, he said. The expansion project was needed to handle increases in traffic volume, especially during the summer, Ingoglia said.

The report says a sound barrier at the site was not recommended by Sharon Carpenter, a consultant hired by the authority to conducted a noise study in the area. Federal guidelines do not call for a sound wall unless the noise level exceeds 67 decibels, she said. The highest noise level detected in the study was 65.1 decibels, Carpenter said. The study was conducted during a 24-hour period on March 12 and 13, she said. But the authority is considering whether to cover the pavement near the toll plaza with a special overlay designed to dampen tire noise heard by residents who live nearby, said Charles McManus, the authority's chief engineer. The overlay could reduce noise by 50 percent, he said.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Noise Expert Cries Out For Stronger Noise Pollution Control In New York City

DATE: December 30, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 5
BYLINE: Alex Michelini
DATELINE: New York, New York
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Arline Bronzaft, Noise Chair, Mayor's Council on the Environment.

The Daily News reports that a top environmental expert yesterday called for appointment of a city czar to coordinate a crackdown on the noise explosion tormenting New Yorkers.

According to the article, Arline Bronzaft, a former City College psychology professor and noise chairwoman of the mayor's Council on the Environment, said there is a critical need for a single agency to oversee enforcement of noise pollution laws. "We have a noise code, [but] it's been changed piecemeal," Bronzaft said. "The whole code should be looked at. We don't have a handle on the problem." Bronzaft made her proposal after a Daily News investigation revealed noise is the No. 1 quality-of-life concern of New Yorkers but enforcement of anti- noise laws is lax.

The article says the Police Department, the Department of Environmental Protection and community dispute resolution centers share responsibility for dealing with noise complaints. Police officials said they believe many noise complaints are not police matters. In the past fiscal year, police issued an average of only four noise summonses a day, DEP officials said. The investigation also found that the Police Department has only 50 sound-level meters for use in its 76 precincts, even though many of the noise code violations require decibel measurements. And some provisions covering car alarms and horn-honking are difficult to enforce because cops must be present during the violations. Councilman John Sabini (D-Queens) said he was among a number of lawmakers pushing for more sound-level meters for cops. "Upping penalties is great, but you've got to get the enforcement," said Sabini, referring to the recent enactment of stiffer noise fines.

According tot he article, Bronzaft, who has written about noise and studied its effects on New Yorkers for nearly a quarter century said the racket from LaGuardia Airport planes affects more people than does noise from any other airport in the country. Add rail noise, traffic noise, helicopter noise, bar noise and boom boxes among other loud sounds and the result is a potential health problem of wide proportions, she said. "Noise is robbing people of a happy, healthy quality of life and in the long run may be robbing people of extra years of life," said Bronzaft, who serves as an adviser on the effects of noise to numerous group in the U.S. and abroad. "When people begin to fight with neighbors or can't watch TV or listen to the radio . . . when people can't converse with each other then they are not living a happy life." She said one of the first assignments of a noise czar would be to oversee a comprehensive review of the 1973 noise code to update the rules and implement others that never have been enforced.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Community In England Launches Attack On Gang Noise

PUBLICATION: The Evening Post
DATE: December 30, 1997
SECTION: News; National; Pg. 1
BYLINE: Lidia Zatorski
DATELINE: Wellington, England

The Evening Post reports that Wellington City Council has launched a crackdown on Satan Slaves' noisy Berhampore headquarters.

According to the report, the Wellington City Council sent a pre-Christmas letter to about 50 neighbours warning it was carrying out "surveillance over the Christmas period" and if necessary would call in the police to seize any stereos or equipment making noise. The letter said noise from the gang's premises was "again causing annoyance and sleep interference to surrounding residents".

The report describes how two years ago the Planning Tribunal issued an interim enforcement order against 16 gang members and associates banning the use of the premises in Luxford St as a clubhouse and loud music or noise at night. It aimed to protect residents from increased party activities over the holiday period. The noise from the gang headquarters has been a problem for residents for years.

Council environmental health officer John Sule has advised residents to phone an after-hours noise service to register complaints. So far only one complaint has been received. enforcement order allows the city council to prosecute the gang for excessive noise. Penalties include a maximum $200,000 fine or imprisonment.Tony Mole, of the council's environmental health unit, said it had taken the council a long time to resolve the noise problem with the gang. But it had decided after a complaint to Mayor Mark Blumsky recently to let residents know "we are on your side and interested in taking action". Mr Mole was not aware of any complaints of excessive noise by the gang. The letter outlines procedures for residents to register complaints anonymously. Luxford and Waripori streets and Cowan Pl have been gridded on a map into zones so residents can report the area they live in.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Virginia Neighbors Consider Effects Of New Highway Proposal

PUBLICATION: The Richmond Times Dispatch
DATE: December 30, 1997
SECTION: Area/State, Pg. A-4
BYLINE: Wynne W. Wasson
DATELINE: Richmond, Virginia

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that Powhatan County residents are considering the changes living near the anticipated path of state Route 288 will bring about.

According to the article, Helen Louise Bonaparte Carter has lived her entire life in the tidy white clapboard house that sits on 3 acres. The land was purchased by her great-great-grandfather when the Civil War ended. "He paid $12," said Carter. Her great-great-grandfather, John Campbell, was a slave and belonged to a family that lived on Manakintown Ferry Road. After the war, the family allowed former slaves to buy some of the family's land along the property's edge, Carter said. Her modest house is in a small community of fewer than a dozen houses off Old Confederate Cemetery Road on the south side of Route 711. Carter believes she's far enough away from the 288 corridor that she doesn't expect her life to be changed when the road opens. She said she doesn't mind that it will be nearby but does worry that it won't be as quiet. Carter said she has seen much change in her lifetime and has learned not to get worked up about progress. Regardless of a new highway, she plans to stay on the land she was born to.

The article also describes Duane Hamilton who lives on about 40 acres that have been in his family for four generations. The house he's living in fronts on Route 711. He said he will benefit from 288. "I think it's a good idea. I don't really like going through Midlothian any more, because there's so much traffic." It takes him 20 minutes to drive down 711. The same drive used to take 15 minutes, he said. "People are paying for my time. The longer it takes me, the less money I take home," said Hamilton, who owns Hamilton Plumbing and Heating. Hamilton said he's looking forward to the road because it will make his life easier, especially when he is called for emergencies in bad weather. "When it snows, you can't get past" on 711, he said.

The report says Richard Rose attended public hearings on Route 288 and asked a lot of questions. "They said they'll have to condemn someone," Rose said. VDOT can buy property without owners' permission by invoking eminent domain, which is the authority to buy property from an owner unwilling to sell. Why not condemn small properties with inexpensive homes on them, Rose asked representatives of VDOT. The state could pay a decent price and provide enough money for those families to buy new homes in a nice neighborhood. Rose's home for the past 30 years, Malvern, was built in 1710. It's brick with double fireplaces on the first floor. The house overlooks the James River. "I don't want to move," Rose said. Standing on his front porch, he pointed to his left. "It's going to be where that third cedar is," Rose said of a small cluster of trees about three city blocks away. Rose could continue to live there, he said, but it would be different to look out the kitchen window and have a driver looking back at you. One suggestion Rose made was to build 288 along Venita Road beginning at the James River and crossing state Route 711. A house once stood near the river there, but it burned to the ground several years ago, Rose said. "Why couldn't it go there? There's nothing there." Rose's driveway off Route 711 doubles as an airplane landing strip. Route 288 will chop off part of the landing strip, he said Venita Road is less than a quarter-mile from the proposed route. Rose said it shouldn't be difficult for the planners to move the road. "You wouldn't hurt a soul if you did that."

According to the article, Ed Phillips says "The road is going to come regardless." Phillips home is between Rose's and the Chesterfield County line. "I wish it wouldn't." Phillips said he moved to Powhatan in 1971 from Chesterfield. "I really wanted to be in the country." He is bracing for the road and anticipates living with lots of noise. "We can hear the trains across the river," Phillips said of the railroad tracks along the James River. " Noise does travel."

The report says The Virginia Department of Transportation is expected to hold a public hearing this spring on the exact path and design features of 288 north of Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield County.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Across The Nation, Jet Skis Are Making Waves

PUBLICATION: The San Francisco Chronicle
DATE: December 30, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. A1
BYLINE: Susan Sward and Jim Doyle
DATELINE: San Francisco, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Mark Desmeules, Director, Maine's Natural Resources Division; Irwin Jacobs, Genmar Holdings; David Johnson, California Department of Boating and Waterways; Kevin Collins, National Parks Conservation Association; Russell Long, Earth Island Institute; Randy Dill, Boating Administrator for Connecticut;

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the increase in boating accidents involving jet skis are yet another cause for their regulation. Noise and other environmental damage are causing some states to regulate the use of jet skis.

The article describes a recent fatal accident involving a thirteen year old boy at Lake Tahoe last summer. As his father watched from the shore, the boy crossed into the path of a slow- moving motorboat off El Dorado Beach. The two crafts collided, and the boy's head struck the boat's bow. He died within the hour of massive head injuries. He was one of seven people killed in jet ski accidents this year in California.

The report explains how this death is part of a disturbing pattern: In California last year, 45 percent of all boating accidents and 55 percent of injuries involved jet skis, even though the crafts make up just 16 percent of recreational boats. Last year, 57 people died on jet skis nationwide. From the ponds of Maine to islands off the coast of Washington, the $1.2 billion jet ski industry is under attack for its high accident rate and environmental damage. In the months to come, battles in the courts and state legislatures may shape the industry's future. While the number of jet skis in America shot up to nearly 1 million in the past decade, policymakers have imposed few safety and environmental controls. Slowly, lawmakers are waking up to the need for tougher regulation. Jet skis "are the Ninja bikes of the water," said Mark Desmeules, director of Maine's Natural Resources Division. "That's why there is such a public outcry -- the ability of just one of them to degrade the quality of the natural experience for so many people."

According to the article, conservationists say jet skis contaminate lakes and rivers, pollute the air, endanger wildlife and destroy the tranquillity of the outdoors. Safety advocates are incensed that some states have no minimum age requirement to pilot a jet ski. Federal investigators are also looking at jet skis' diminished steering when a driver releases the throttle. Last month, nearly 100 conservation groups signed a letter supporting a National Park Service proposal permitting the country's 375 park superintendents to ban or limit jet skis. Jet skis claim "too high a price in the form of degraded wilderness and increased conflict with other recreation users; toxic water pollution; noise disturbances; harassed and injured wildlife; and increased boating accidents," the letter said.

The report says industry spokesmen counter that jet skis, which now account for one-third of all U.S. boat sales, are being unfairly targeted by environmental foes who rely on poor scientific data. They also strongly defend the safety record of the vessels. "If you look at the rate of growth of the industry, and the amount of time spent on the water, personal watercraft are the safest boat out there," said Joe Hice, a spokesman for Bombardier, which makes Sea-Doo personal watercraft.

The report says critics of jet skis recently gained a powerful ally within the boat industry -- Irwin Jacobs of Genmar Holdings, the world's largest independent boat builder. Jacobs has accused the jet ski industry of not policing itself and underscored his criticism by withdrawing his companies from the boat industry's main lobbying group. "If there isn't what I would call extreme regulation -- how many (jet skis), what speeds, how close they can come to other vessels -- take them off the water totally," Jacobs said.

The article explains how until the mid-1980s, only a few thousand jet skis could be found on the nation's waterways. Today, personal watercraft -- most often called "jet skis" after a top-selling model -- are found at popular recreation spots from coast to coast. It is the speed the crafts can reach that makes them so alluring -- and dangerous. Industry ads rely on speed to sell their product. "Almost every year the industry rachets up the maximum speed that personal watercraft can travel -- with top models going up to about 65 miles per hour now," said David Johnson of the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

According to the article, Kevin Collins of the National Parks Conservation Association said: "The way the industry promotes these things is in terms of horsepower, speed, pounds of thrust, and that encourages people to drive at full speed. With the slightest miscalculation, someone gets killed or injured for life." Nationwide, jet ski accidents resulted in 1,831 injuries in 1996. "It is really the high number of injuries that is the most serious issue here," said Bill Gossard, co- manager of a National Transportation Safety Board study being conducted on jet skis. The safety board is also looking at the design of jet skis, which lose much of their steering ability when operators release the throttle. That steering problem has been a factor in many accidents, regulators say. The board is expected to issue a report early next year recommending regulations for the minimum age of operators, training requirements and mandatory life jackets. "Injuries are climbing at a faster rate than the rate of personal watercraft registrations," said Amy Rigby, a senior department analyst with the boating and waterways department.

The report says operator inexperience and excessive speed are two leading causes of jet ski accidents. Age is also a primary factor. Seven states have no minimum age for jet ski operators, and close to half allow 12-year-olds to operate jet skis. About 30 states, including California, allow anyone who meets the age minimum to rent a jet ski without taking a boat safety course. The article explains how under a new law that takes effect in January, California is raising the minimum operator age from 12 to 16 years of age, but the state remains one of seven that do not require jet ski operators to wear a life jacket.

According to the report, manufacturers argue that jet skis' accident rate is comparable to other craft -- especially given their high frequency of use. "This is just a recreational activity -- it's fun," said John Donaldson, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Personal Watercraft Industry Association. "It's not a firearm. It's not a proven health risk like cigarettes." Jet skis are "as safe as the driver," said Pat Hartman of Polaris Industries, a major jet ski manufacturer. "It's like a loaded gun. If it's in the wrong hands, it's not safe."

The article explains how the call to restrict or ban jet skis has been sounded across the country. In Florida, jet skis have been banned in the Everglades National Park. Last year, Washington's San Juan County, which includes 172 islands, approved a two-year moratorium, although the industry is fighting it in the courts. Next year, the Maine Legislature will consider a bill making about one-third of the state off-limits to jet skis. Last summer, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency adopted a ban on two-stroke engines, which propel most outboard motorboats and jet skis. The board approved the ban, which takes effect in June 1999, after determining two-stroke engines dump an estimated 775 gallons of unburnt fuel into the lake and air every day. "In lakes that retain water for a long time, it is virtually impossible to ever get these toxic chemicals fully removed," said Russell Long of the Earth Island Institute.

The article says jet ski noise is another problem. "When jet skis jump waves, that creates an incredibly aggravating noise," Long said. Conservationists say new studies, including one by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and another by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, show that jet skis disrupt wildlife more than other vessels because of their loud noise and ability to travel in shallow waters. Citing those studies, conservationists have pressed for bans at two Northern California sites in addition to Tahoe. Since 1992, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which stretches from Central California to north of Muir Beach, has restricted jet skis to four harbor areas: Monterey, Moss Landing, Santa Cruz, and Half Moon Bay. Environmentalists have also petitioned the federal government to ban jet skis in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary north of San Francisco. They say the crafts frighten wildlife and prompt birds to fly away from their nests much more readily than traditional motorboats. They also say the crafts' oil pollution could damage Tomales Bay's thriving oyster and mussel beds.

The report says industry officials dispute environmentalists' claims. "I have not read a study that personal watercraft are particularly annoying to wildlife," said Mark Speaks of Yamaha Motors, one of the major manufacturers of personal watercraft. "I don't know why they would be more annoying to wildlife than any other boat."

The report says to protect its share of the market, the industry has gone to court -- challenging the two-year moratorium in the San Juan Islands and the ban on two-stroke engines on Lake Tahoe. "I can line up experts saying that the impact on water quality by recreational boating is imperceptible," said Donaldson of the industry association. The industry's 1995 bid to overturn restrictions in the Monterey sanctuary failed when a federal appeals court upheld the ban, citing jet skis' potential environmental harm. But manufacturers have won other court fights, including one involving the Sacramento River as it runs through Redding. The industry follows key states' legislation affecting jet skis and lobbies against bills it views as too stringent. A provision requiring mandatory education for jet ski and motorboat operators was defeated after opposition from boat dealers and rental firms. "The California Legislature could have led the nation in developing stronger jet ski legislation but was unable to do that because of high-paid industry lobbyists' pressure," said Long of the Earth Island Institute.

According to the article, this fall, the California Legislature adopted a new law raising the minimum age for solo jet ski operators from 12 to 16. That statute may help prevent accidents such as the one that claimed the life of Justin Rauh when he was driving a Sea-Doo craft last summer at Lake Tahoe. The new law, which takes effect in January, also forbids practices such as spraying bystanders with sharp turns and wake jumping within 100 feet of another vessel. Jet ski manufacturers say they have endorsed model statutes establishing a minimum operator age of 16, mandatory wearing of life jackets and mandatory education for operators. "If the customers are not using the product safely, that would not be good for business long term," said Yamaha's Speaks. He and other industry officials acknowledge a two-year dip in jet ski sales, but they expect the industry to thrive.

The article says in the late 1980s, the industry created a jet ski donation program that this year lent nearly 2,000 jet skis worth almost $12 million to government agencies. Jet skis are now being used by game wardens, firefighters, police and sheriff's deputies and search-and-rescue teams. Some critics view the donation program as a cynical public relations ploy. "What they are doing is very, very ironic -- producing a machine that needs to be highly regulated because of the way it is built and the power involved in it," said Mary Ann Anderson, who has fought jet skis in the San Juan Islands. "Then they give this product to law enforcement, which is supposed to be policing them. It's ridiculous."

The article describes how for the most part, government regulators have been reluctant to impose strict new rules on jet skis. On the federal level, the Coast Guard has left regulation largely to the states. "We want to make boating safer, but we don't want to make boating so safety-proof that people can't have fun," said Carl Perry of the Coast Guard's Office of Recreational Boating Safety. "The appeal of personal watercraft is somewhat diminished by regulation." The Coast Guard's approach has drawn some criticism. "We've had to nudge the Coast Guard to look at personal watercraft accidents and the problem of off-throttle steering," said Randy Dill, the boating administrator for Connecticut, which has one of the nation's toughest jet ski laws. "Boating safety doesn't seem to be a priority for them."

The report describes how in August, the Environmental Protection Agency issued rules to cut all recreational boat emissions by 75 percent by the year 2006. The rules take effect for outboard motors sold in 1998 and jet skis sold in 1999. But the EPA was swiftly attacked in court by the Earth Island Institute, which argues the regulations are too weak.

The article says early next year, the National Park Service is expected to adopt a rule giving its 375 park superintendents the power to limit or ban jet skis in their parks. More than 30 national park areas, including Lake Mead and Glen Canyon, currently permit jet skis. "There are parks where it certainly will be appropriate (to have jet skis) and also there are parks where it won't be appropriate," said Dennis Burnett, a top Park Service official.Bit by bit, policymakers are beginning to fix a stern regulatory eye on jet skis. "Personal watercraft have driven some states to look at more boating education requirements, regulation and control," said Ron Sarver of the National Association of Boating Law Administrators. "It used to be that boating was the last frontier and legislators just didn't want to infringe on people's use of the waterways. But increasingly, legislators are hearing from constituents who demand action."

The article included the following Jet Ski Facts:

STEERING PROBLEMS: When inexperienced jet ski riders encounter an obstacle, they may instinctively release the throttle -- only to find they have lost much of their ability to steer the smooth-bottomed craft.

DANGEROUS SPEEDS: Jet skis accelerate much like a car. The fastest models can go from 0 to 50 mph in about five seconds and reach a top speed of 62 mph. Excessive speed is a major cause of accidents.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Popular 2-stroke motors, commonly used by jet skis and motorboats, spew about 25 percent of their unburnt fuel into the air and water. New studies show jet skis disturb wildlife. And many people say they are too noisy.

CHART (1): STATE ACCIDENTS INVOLVING JET SKIS Age and number of operators involved in jet ski accidents for 1996 . 0-10, 7; 11-20, 177; 21-30, 199; 31-40, 106; 41-50, 31; 51-60, 7; 61-70, 1. Age unknown: 51; No operator: 6; Total operators: 579. (x) - "No operator" refers to accidents involving docked or moored vessels where there was no operator present at time of accident. Some accident reports submitted did not include operator age information. Source: California Department of Boating and Waterways Chronicle Graphic EC: BC: CHART (2).

U.S. jet ski sales, 1996 Sales: 191,000 In use: 900,000. U.S. jet ski mishaps, 1996: Deaths, 57; Injuries, 1,831; Accidents, 4,091. In California, jet skis are involved more than half of all boating injuries -- but are only a small portion of registered boats. Percent of registered boats 11% 13% 13% 18% Percent of all accidents 34% 38% 42% 45% Percent of all injuries 41% 46% 46% 55% . Source: California Department of Boating and Waterways; U.S. Coast Guard Tahoe Regional Planning Agency; Chronicle research Chronicle Graphic EC:

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

New Yorkers Number 1 Quality Of Life Complaint Is Noise

DATE: December 29, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 7
BYLINE: Alex Michelini
DATELINE: New York City, New York
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Tony Giordano, anti-noise activist; Arline Bronzaft, noise expert; Maurice Miller, audiological consultant; Cari Furiel, George Washington High School student; Charles Cole, resident; Elba Fuguen, resident; Gifford Miller, Manhattan City Councilman; Robert Martinez, resident; Carol Wilkins, resident; Angelo Rosario, staff member, Brooklyn's Lutheran Medical Center;

The Daily News reports that New York City is doing little to reduce noise pollution even though noise is New Yorkers' No.1 quality of life issue.

A Daily News investigation has found that the Police Department issues an average of just four noise summonses each day compared with 4,100 for moving violations even though noise is New Yorkers' No. 1 quality-of-life complaint. The department, which is supposed to enforce newly enacted, stiffer noise -violation penalties, doesn't even have enough sound-level meters for every precinct. And cops ignore some of the most ear-pounding sounds like garbage trucks. Nothing in the spectrum of complaints to the city's toll-free, 24-hour Quality of Life Hotline, created by the Giuliani administration in September 1996, comes close to beefs about noise. They outnumber those about graffiti and panhandling by more than 100 to 1.

The article describes how in order to find out how serious the noise problem is, The News visited nearly 20 locations based on police noise reports and complaints compiled by community boards and anti- noise groups to record decibel levels with a hand-held sound-level meter. The News' team, including anti-noise activist Tony Giordano, a teacher who is also president of Sunset Park Restoration, found that the din at many of the sites exceeded the legal limits. City law mandates fines for "unreasonable" noise and sounds that exceed "allowable levels." Broadly defined, "unreasonable" noise is any sound that offends "a reasonable person of normal sensitivities." Some provisions of the code, however, set specific decibel limits for violations: above 45 decibels for air conditioners and 95 decibels for jackhammers, for example.

According to the article, Anne Bronzaft, a city noise expert and a member of the mayor's Council on the Environment, says noise levels have reached a point where they are robbing citizens of good mental and physical health. From September 1996 to last October, police received 6,894 noise complaints and that doesn't include hundreds more related to noise that showed up under the categories of "animals" (barking dogs and other noisy animals), "car alarm" and "construction" (the roar of jackhammers and trucks).

The report goes on to explain how the 34th Precinct in Washington Heights and Inwood tops the noise complaint list, followed by the 46th Precinct in the Bronx, including University Heights, Morris Heights and parts of Fordham. Leading Brooklyn is the 75th Precinct East New York, New Lots and Starrett City; the 114th in Queens, covering Astoria and Long Island City, and the 120th Precinct in Staten Island, covering the northern third of the borough.

The article goes on to explain how noise is more than a nuisance. Experts say continual unprotected exposure to sound levels of more than 85 decibels roughly equivalent to a lawn mower or truck traffic can damage hearing. The city Health Department's chief audiological consultant, New York University Prof. Maurice Miller, said the lack of enforcement has put New Yorkers at risk. "We have to give violations of noise regulations very high priority, because if they're on the books and not enforced, they're meaningless," Miller said. Noise is blamed for a third of the 33 million cases nationwide of significant hearing loss.

According to the article, in the city's noisiest neighborhood in Washington Heights-Inwood, Cari Furiel, a George Washington High School senior, could barely sleep because of street construction at W. 190th St. and Wadsworth Ave. that hit 107.2 decibels. That's noisier than standing over a chainsaw. "We couldn't sleep at night, sometimes I sleep in the classroom," Furiel said. Retired Brooklyn shirt salesman Charles Cole, who endures the cacophony created by horn-honking cabs on Clinton St. and Atlantic Ave., uses earplugs to keep his sanity amid decibel levels that reach 109 when mixed in with a screeching fire engine. "Cabs on the way to [Manhattan] all night long, they keep going and going, and God forbid they don't move when the light changes, they all honk," he said. The No. 7 elevated train, on Roosevelt Ave. near 53rd St. in Queens, thundered to 108 decibels. No wonder it gives fits to Elba Fuguen, a manicurist-pedicurist at the Papillion beauty salon under the tracks. "I get headaches," she said. "Every two minutes I have to stop. I can't concentrate. When I'm on the phone and the train passes by, the customer on the line gets upset and they hang up. So I lose customers."

The report says City Councilman Gifford Miller (R-Manhattan), who wrote the bill for stiffer noise penalties, urged cops to be more aggressive in nailing violators. "We have to make it a higher priority," he said. The Daily News found that fewer than half of the Police Department's 50 sound-measuring meters are assigned to precincts. The rest are kept in special units or borough commands. Deputy Police Commissioner for Operations Edward Norris, who oversees quality-of-life enforcement, said it's not necessary to add meters or have one in each precinct because some violations do not require meters. He also said it's easy for patrol cops to obtain a meter when they really need one. "I mean, these are not life-threatening situations," he said. "This is a noise complaint." Norris said enforcing the horn-honking prohibition is "very, very difficult, but it's not impossible" because cops target areas such as the Queensboro Bridge entrances, Canal St., the Holland Tunnel area and the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge. What the NYPD won't do is tag sanitation trucks or other city vehicles. "It just doesn't sound like a police issue," Norris said. He said most noise complaints are not "within the purview of the police" and would be better handled by the city Department of Environmental Protection. DEP chief of staff Charles Sturcken said his agency has reduced the number of noisy bars and other "persistent violators." But, he conceded, the agency reacts to complaints. It does not act independently to locate and ticket offenders.

The article describes how that doesn't help Robert Martinez, who says noise shakes his house alongside the Gowanus Expressway at 56th St. and Third Ave. in Brooklyn, where The News' sound reader hit 106.1 decibels as cars and trucks rumbled past. "You hear it all night," said Martinez, a bodega worker. "The noise is very loud, especially when there's construction work." At the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City, Queens, Carol Wilkins' mornings are filled with the sounds of a city sanitation truck picking up recycling bins at 93.5 decibels. "The noise is so loud that I can hear it from my window, even if I'm not at the window," she said. "The first time I heard it, it shocked me. I said, 'What on earth is that?'" And the din outside Brooklyn's Lutheran Medical Center, which reached up to 100.3 decibels, "unnerves" departing patients, said hospital staffer Angelo Rosario. "There's a lot of traffic here and some of the [patients and visitors] get irritated. It unnerves them," he said.

The article explains excessive noise can be dangerous to your health. Experts say that prolonged exposure to noise can elevate blood pressure, diminish the ability to concentrate and to learn, affect the cardiovascular system, interfere with sleep and worsen emotional problems. Not to mention just plain old get on your nerves. Excessive noise exposure is a leading cause of hearing loss for 28 million Americans, said Elizabeth Davis, audiologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. "We see a lot of people that have hearing loss with no other association other than living in a noisy city," she said. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires a hearing test for workers exposed to an average of 85 decibels or more of noise during an eight-hour work shift.

According to the article the most effective hearing protection devices are earplugs that fit into the outer ear canal and earmuffs that fit over the entire outer ear, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. They can reduce noise 15 to 30 decibels. Listening to music or the radio with headphones can be harmful, said Maurice Miller, audiology professor at New York University and consultant to the city Health Department. To reduce the risk, set the volume control at 4 on the scale of 1 to 10. "Anything higher and you're in danger of hearing loss," Miller said.

The report examines just how loud decibels are: 0 decibels: Faintest sound heard by human ear. 30 decibels: Sound equivalent to a whisper or a quiet library. 45 decibels: This is the desirable noise level for a living room or a private office. 60 decibels: Normal conversation, sewing machine, typewriter. 90 decibels: Equivalent to a lawnmower, shop tools or truck traffic. More than 8 hours of exposure per day is dangerous. 100 decibels: Chainsaw, pneumatic drill or a snow mobile. More than 2 hours of exposure per day is dangerous. 115 decibels: A loud rock concert, sandblasting, car horn, 15 minutes per day is the maximum exposure. 140 decibels: Gun muzzle blast, jet engine. This noise causes pain and even brief exposure injures unprotected ears.

Source: American Academy of Otolaryngology, representing ear, nose and throat doctors.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

After A Decade Of Debate, California Will Decide In 98 The Future Of El Toro Air Base

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: December 29, 1997
SECTION: Part A; Page 3; Metro Desk
BYLINE: Shelby Grad and Lorenza Munoz
DATELINE: El Toro, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Paul Eckles, executive director, El Toro Reuse Planning Authority.

The Los Angeles Times reports that in 1998, plans to use the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station for non-military purposes will become clearer, and the debate over the details will likely intensify.

The article notes that the two main camps -- those who want a commercial airport and those who don't -- will finally be able to present detailed plans when the 4,700-acre military base closes in about 1.5 years.

According to the report two seats on the Orange County Board of Supervisors will be filled next year, and the results could influence the Board's stance on the issue, which currently stands at 3-2 in support of the airport plan. Early next year the Board will vote on a master plan which will outline the airport proposal in detail, including layout and use of the land. Non-aviation proposals will be considered for the master plan, but two county votes revealed resident support of the airport plan.

The article says that the Supervisor elections will be colored by the airport question. Two candidates running in north-county districts -- regions which generally support the airport -- are against the airport. Also, one airport supporter will run against an incumbent airport opponent in a typically anti-airport, south-county district.

The report goes on to say that four airport plans will be presented, detailing different configuration of runways, corresponding noise impact, and neighboring land-use. One supervisor said "I think this will address many of the concerns over noise, traffic patterns and other matters not put out in the earlier studies. Another goal is to show people all the mitigation steps that are being taken to protect South County residents."

The article says that after the plans are presented, a final environmental review will be undertaken. Already, the 'non-aviation' plan will have been considered; this would included office space, homes, and other development in place of an airport. Also, a decision will be made on whether to let air cargo companies begin using the existing airport before the final decisions for long-term use are completed.

The report says that the non-aviation plan will be presented in case the airport plans have a 'fatal flaw' that make them unfeasible. The plan will include "a university campus, parklands and a high density business development." The group that is developing and pushing for this plan is the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority. The plan is considered a backup, but one official said "If it's superior and the county's plan is flawed, it could be chosen."

According to the article, the master plan will be considered in April, the Supervisor elections will take place in June, and an environmental review will then be undertaken. The review will be voted on in 1999. Airport supporters also hope to allow air cargo flights before the planning decisions are made, and maybe even before the military leaves the base. The military believes that is not feasible, and federal law prohibits "regular commercial flights" before the Marines leave.

The article says that airport opponents' ideal scenario would be the annexation of the airport into the city of Irvine. This would give them planning control. The City Council is considering pursuit of such a plan, but the Local Agency Formation Commission would have to approve it first. They, in turn, would require a jointly-created agreement on tax issues between the city and the county. This would likely never happen since the county does not want annexation.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Pennsylvania Speedway Seeks Zoning Variance

PUBLICATION: The Morning Call
DATE: December 29, 1997
SECTION: Local/Region, Pg. B3
BYLINE: Wendy E. Solomon
DATELINE: Allentown, Pennsylvania

The Morning Call reports that Mahoning Valley Speedway in Pennsylvania, which six years ago lost its battle to allow cars to run practice laps on weeknights, is hoping to get the checkered flag this time.

The describes how the speedway, an asphalt track along Route 443 in Mahoning Township that features stock car racing, is permitted by township ordinance to hold races Saturdays and Sundays. Its owners are scheduled to appear before the township zoning board Jan. 6 to ask permission to hold three weeknight races in July and in "future years."

According to the article, Charles Pollack, one of the raceway's four shareholders, sent a letter Dec. 11 to Zoning Hearing Board solicitor Thomas S. Nanovic, asking for permission to operate "a few summer midweek shows." Grace Abrachinsky, co-owner of the land on which the speedway is a tenant, said she was aware of no opposition to the speedway's request. "It would be pretty stupid" to oppose it, Abrachinsky said. The speedway "generates a quite a bit of cash for the township." Mahoning, one of the most popular quarter-mile tracks in the region, draws 80 to 100 drivers and crowds of up to 2,000 for its races. The track has operated on the site since 1952, although it closed for a couple of years.

The report says this is the first public request by the race track since May 1991, when Carbon County Judge John P. Lavelle ruled that previous track owners had to stop weekday practices. Lavelle upheld a township ruling that the practices disturbed the rural setting of the township. The township zoning board had served speedway owners with a cease-and-desist order to stop the practices after receiving noise complaints, including one from a tennis instructor at Maple Tree Inn Tennis Club who said students could not hear above the roar of the racetrack. The township also tried to stop the weekday practices in an 1988 action before District Justice Edward Lewis. But Lewis dismissed five charges the township brought against the track owners because the township zoning officer hadn't actually seen the practices, just heard them.

According to the article, the proposed shows are tentatively scheduled for three Wednesdays: July 1, 15 and 29. The pits would open at 5 p.m., racing would start at 7:30 p.m. and all events would be over by 10 p.m., Pollack's letter said. The hope is to make the event "become a summer series with other area tracks involved," Pollock wrote. The speedway also plans to work with the Mahoning Valley Fire Company to hold fund-raising events on those nights for a new truck, he wrote.

The report says hearing board members Elinore Michalik, Blaine Fruendt and a soon-to-be appointed member will have 45 days to make a decision. Speedway owners will have to prove five conditions, as stipulated under Pennsylvania municipality planning code, to qualify for a variance, Nanovic said. The applicant must prove it has unique physical circumstances or conditions; it won't alter the essential character of the neighborhood; its circumstances or conditions prevent it from being used in accordance with the zoning ordinance; it did not create the hardship; and the variance is the minimum required to give it relief. "Personally, I don't have any objections" to the variance, said Bruce Keiper, chairman of the township Board Supervisors. "But I wouldn't want it every Wednesday." Keiper said sometimes the noise from the track "is very loud." He lives so close to the track that, "depending on which way the wind blows, I can't have a conversation outside during the summertime," he said.

The report says hearing board last granted a variance to the speedway in 1987, when former owner Ward Crozier asked for permission to increase the cars' engine size, to install lights for night racing and to allow the track to operate from 1 p.m. to midnight Saturdays and from 1 to 11 p.m. Sundays. Mahoning Valley Speedway Inc. now consists of four shareholders: Pollock, president; Michael Garfield, a lawyer in Albrightsville; Doug Hoffman, a professional racer; and Lancaster Motor Sports Inc., of New York. The Abrachinskys, of A&B Enterprises Inc., also own the adjacent Mahoning Farmers Market.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Officials Prepare New Flight Plan For New Jersey's Newark Airport

PUBLICATION: The New York Times
DATE: December 29, 1997
SECTION: Section B; Page 4; Column 6; Metropolitan Desk
DATELINE: Newark, New Jersey

The New York Times reports that Federal and local officials plan to meet today to discuss the latest flight plan for the Newark International Airport.

The report says the new flight route, which goes into effect on Thursday, was created by the Federal Aviation Administration to limit noise by plotting a path over a largely industrial area southwest of the airport, said Thomas Bock, manager of the administration's air space branch. But the plan has already upset some residents in the Carteret and Rahway areas who worry it will mean more noise for them, said Sue Harvey, a spokeswoman for United States Senator Robert G. Torricelli.

According to the article, today Aviation Administration representatives will meet in Newark with Senator Torricelli and local elected officials to hear their concerns, Ms. Harvey said. The new plan will be in effect for at least six months, F.A.A. officials said, during which time the administration will periodically consult with residents in the affected areas and measure noise levels in their communities. Last May, complaints from residents to the south and west of the airport prompted officials to change the flight path of departing jets, but that route was scrapped in August when some Newark flights apparently ventured too close to flights bound for La Guardia Airport. Mr. Bock said on Friday that while the administration respects the concerns of residents, safety remained the top priority. "We're limited in what we can do," he said.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Missouri Continues Plans For Airport Expansion At Lambert Field

PUBLICATION: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
DATE: December 29, 1997
SECTION: Editorial, Pg. B6
DATELINE: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that opponents of Lambert Field's airport expansion vow to fight on, but it looks like their battle will be lost.

According to the report nothing in the final environmental impact statement released last week is likely to derail approval by the Federal Aviation Administration. Leonard L. Griggs Jr., Lambert's veteran director and a former FAA official, says he has never heard of a final FAA ruling that was overturned by a federal judge. Bridgeton asserts that its zoning authority takes precedence over the airport authority's right to expand, but the FAA says that claim is questionable under state and federal laws dealing with aviation safety and aircraft operation.

It makes sense now to focus on ensuring that the airport lives up to its obligations and that civic and business leaders help make the expansion as painless as possible for those in its path.

The article says the airport estimates that it will spend $280 million to relocate 2,324 households, 75 businesses, six schools, six churches and one nursing home. The money will come out of airport fees and the airport's revenues from concessions. The relocation program will begin as soon as the FAA gives its final approval, expected by March, and will unfold over three years. Federal and state relocation guidelines require an independent appraisal of a property's value compared to similar property. The airport pays for the appraisal; it also will consider another appraisal if a homeowner chooses to pay for one. In addition to buying the property, the airport will pay for incidental costs relating to the owner's purchase of a new home, reasonable relocation expenses, a $1,000 miscellaneous payment and the difference between mortgage rates if current rates are higher. Renters also get relocation expenses. If a renter can't find a comparable home or apartment at the same rent, the airport will pay the difference in rent for 42 months. Or a renter can take a one-time payment of $5,250, which could be used toward buying a home.

According to the article, over the past 15 years, the airport says, it has handled around 3,000 re location buyouts for expansion or noise relief. Col. Griggs says less than 1 percent of the transactions led to complaints. The airport has begun conversations with the Pattonville School District and the Catholic schools about relocating schools. It also should work with St. Charles to reduce the noise impact on that city. Meanwhile, the Greater St. Louis Economic Development Council, the Regional Commerce & Growth Association and the state are planning to study how Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Denver and other cities have strengthened development in neighborhoods around expanding airports.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Previous week: December 21, 1997
Next week: January 4, 1998



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