Noise News for Week of November 2, 1997

Airport Expansion Issue in Mayor's Race in Ontario

PUBLICATION: The Toronto Star
DATE: November 2, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. A6
BYLINE: Mike Funston
DATELINE: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Lawrence Mitoff, president of the Rockwood Ratepayers' Association

According to The Toronto Star, longtime Mississauga, Ontario, mayor, Hazel McCallion, is up for re-election. While she is confident she will serve as Mississauga's mayor well into the millennium, she does face some challengers in the upcoming election. While many disagree about how serious her opposition is, her opponents cite some serious platform issues. One controversial issue is the expansion of Pearson International Airport.

The Toronto Star says Lawrence Mitoff, president of the Rockwood Ratepayers' Association, a group concerned about the effects of aircraft noise on homeowners, is upset with the current mayor and city council over what he says is a lack of support for residents. His group is taking legal action to block opening of a second north-south runway at Pearson Airport. This new runway will put planes over homes, he says. Residents are afraid the noise will be "intolerable" and devalue their properties.

According to the article, Mayor McCallion considers the airport Mississauga's greatest asset and supports expansion, while, at the same time, being opposed to residential development in high-noise zones. She says the federal government, which has jurisdiction over the Greater Toronto Airports Authority assures her that there will be no round-the-clock night flights by big passenger jets.

The article lists Mayor McCallion's opponents as: James Girvin, a policy analyst for the Ontario government; Donald Barber, an environmental activist; and Wyman Parker, 79, a retired carpenter. On the runway expansion issue, Girvin is listed as opposing the expansion.

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New Jersey Readers Respond to Leaf Blower Use

PUBLICATION: The New York Times
DATE: November 2, 1997
SECTION: Section 14Nj; Page 3; Column 5; New Jersey Weekly Desk
DATELINE: New Jersey

In the Chatter section of The New York Times, New Jersey residents responded to the following questions: "Are leaf blowers a welcome labor-saving convenience or a noisy nuisance? Should their use be limited?"

Milton Jaffe of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, wrote: "I hate, hate, hate leaf blowers. Here in the suburbs the decibels they produce is a serious threat to health and mental sanity. They should be limited to parks, golf courses and large estates and taxed as noise polluters."

Dee Hickman of Hillsborough, New Jersey, responded: "I believe a leaf blower is just another gadget. Yes, it makes noise but as long as it is not used on a Saturday morning before 8 A.M. I am fine with it."

Pete Sankowich of Midland Park, New Jersey, said: "Leaf blowing is a lazy approach to an easy job. Creating noise as well as air pollution, leaf blowers do the same job as a rake. The rake: a primitive tool, long forgotten. In a society where pollution is big and weight-watching even bigger, the rake is a pollution-free and calorie-burning way to clear the yard."

Bob Long of Toms River, New Jersey, wrote: "The subject of leaf blowers touches a very sore spot. We live in a lovely section of Toms River. I guess six of our neighbors own leaf blowers, and the five others employ professional gardeners. It's a tossup as to which is worse. I wrote to the mayor, only to find that leaf blowers are permitted seven days a week until 7 P.M. The owners love to practice with them, mostly between 6 and 7 P.M., when we are driven off our back deck by the unbearable racket. On, off; off, on, is the worst part. Yes, there should be a law. The leaf blowers are much worse than lawn mowers. Five o'clock should be the deadline. The sad part of the whole thing is that leaf blowers often just blow the dirt and leaves onto the street, to later blow onto the neighbor's driveway or lawn."

From Kristen Torres of Midland Park, New Jersey: "Leaf blowers may be a noisy nuisance but in my opinion the sound of a metal rake grating against concrete is even worse."

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Community Board Members in Greenwich Village, New York, Propose Selected Motorcycle Ban Due to Noise

PUBLICATION: The New York Times
DATE: November 2, 1997
SECTION: Section 14; Page 9; Column 1; The City Weekly Desk
BYLINE: Jesse McKinley
DATELINE: New York, New York
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Alan Jay Gerson, chair of Community Board 2 in Greenwich Village; Arthur W. Strickler, district manager of Community Board

The New York Times reports that in an effort to improve the quality of life in New York City, the Greenwich Village community board is pressuring the police to strengthen noise laws with reference to loud motorcycles. Their quality-of-life campaign may even try to ban motorcycles from local streets, the article says.

According to the article, Alan Jay Gerson, the chairman of Community Board 2 in Greenwich Village, is leading the efforts to ban motorcycles from 14th Street to Canal Street west of the Bowery but not including the West Side Highway. He is quoted in the article as saying, "The police should view motorcycle noise as a criminal assault." If Mr. Gerson's plan is deemed legal, the board will ask the City Council to pass a law creating a motorcycle-free zone in the Village, says The New York Times.

The article says that board officials consider the proposed crackdown on motorcycles just part of a wider effort to reduce noise in New York City. To the board's district manager, Arthur W. Strickler, elected officials such as the Mayor and the City Council "have caught up with" community members with regards to attempts to reduce the noise problem in the city.

Opposing the effort to ban motorcycles from a section of Greenwich Village, the article reports, is Sean Maher, the legislative affairs specialist for the American Motorcyclists Association. He cites similar efforts to prohibit motorbikes that failed in Chicago and New Orleans. But according to the article, Mr. Strickler sees the board's efforts to establish motorcycle- free zones as attainable. He sees the effort as similar to successful attempts to keep trucks off certain streets. Yet some of the city's motorcycle enthusiasts, including Michael Melis, the president of the Motorcycle Association of New York State and a retired police officer, see the idea of a ban as too extreme.

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"Pink" Noise Will Be Piped In At American Stores Tower In Salt Lake City

PUBLICATION: The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah)
DATE: November 2, 1997
SECTION: Business; Pg. E1
BYLINE: Steven Oberbeck and Lesley Mitchell
DATELINE: Salt Lake City, Utah

An extensive article appears in The Salt Lake Tribune about the impact 1,900 executive employees will make on downtown when they move into the American Stores high-rise tower in Salt Lake City, Utah, in January. Some downtown merchants see this major consolidation of company operations as having a positive impact on the downtown with increased shopping and spending. Business experts see this new conglomerate headquarters designed with its employees in mind as the wave of the future. The Salt Lake Tribune describes in detail the architectural design of the tower that accommodates such a large number of executives. One issue taken into consideration is blocking noise made by employees who work side-by-side in cubicles. "We've tried very hard to design a pleasant place where people want to come to work," American Stores engineer, Pete Bratsos explains.

Employees will work in cubicles, but the company has kept walls low and reserved areas near windows as walkways so the outside view is not blocked for workers farther away, according to the article. American Stores plans to pipe "pink" noise—described as a high-pitched background hissing—to mask the sound of co-workers in other cubicles who are talking on the phone or to each other. Bratsos said of the "pink" noise, "It's more effective at masking background noise than what most people know as white noise. You can't really hear it when it's on."

The Salt Lake Tribune article goes on to outline the history of the Utah-based American Stores Company labeling it as the second-largest U.S. food retailer (behind Cincinnati-based Kroger) and one of the biggest drugstore chains in the country. New leadership has vowed to bring more centralized administration and support to the company's extensive retailing operations.

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Orlando Homeowners Reject Hotel Proposal from Universal Studios on Grounds of Traffic and Noise

PUBLICATION: Chicago Tribune
DATE: November 2, 1997
SECTION: Real Estate; Pg. 6F; Zone: C
BYLINE: Sherri Owens
DATELINE: Orlando, Florida
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Daisy Lynum, member of Municipal Planning Board; Barbara English, resident; Bob Freeman, Orange County Commissioner and resident

The Chicago Tribune reports that a group of Orlando, Florida, homeowners challenged Universal Studios Florida and won. Using increased traffic and noise pollution as issues, the residents persuaded the city's planning board to deny the theme park's application to build a hotel and golf course near their homes.

According to the article, in 1994, Universal Studios planned to build time-share units and an 18-hole golf course in the area a few miles south of the theme park that borders the residential communities. This permit was approved. But last October, citing the need for more hotel rooms in Orlando, Universal changed its application to request approval to build a 600-room hotel and a nine-hole golf course instead.

That recent request was unanimously denied by the Municipal Planning Board. Residents said the plans for the new project were "too intrusive." Hotels, as opposed to time-shares, bring more short-term visitors resulting in more traffic, noise and disruption, the residents said. Daisy Lynum, a member of the city's Municipal Planning Board is quoted in the article as saying, "I don't think Universal has been a good neighbor in this application." A number of neighborhoods, including Spring Lake Villas, Orange Tree, Summerset Shores, and Greenleaf, would be impacted. Resident Mary Borgan of Orange Tree, which is just west of the site, likened Universal's growth to "a new neighbor with a pit bull."

Universal officials can appeal the denial. Otherwise, the denial will be reviewed by the City Council in early November. The article notes that the Council usually upholds board rulings.

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Next week: November 9, 1997



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