Noise News for Week of September 21, 1997

New England Patriots' Coach Uses Leaf Blower to Prepare Team for Game in Noisy Stadium

PUBLICATION: The Boston Herald
DATE: September 27, 1997
SECTION: Sports; Pg. 045
BYLINE: Kevin Mannix
DATELINE: Foxboro, Massachusetts

The Boston Herald reports that the New England Patriots' coach, Pete Carroll, began training the team for an October 6 game against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium by turning on an industrial strength leaf blower during practices. The Mile High Stadium is known for its loud crowd noise, which is a significant disadvantage for any visiting team, the article says. Coach Carroll wanted the team to practice running plays in an atmosphere where hearing signals is virtually impossible.

According to the article, Carroll said he couldn't import enough fans to make noise during the practices, and the practice field doesn't have a sound system that would simulate a lot of noise, so he thought of a leaf blower. According to wide receiver Shawn Jefferson, the leaf blower was effective. Jefferson has played at the stadium in Denver, and said, "They love their football. It's going to be a wild atmosphere. You know how it was here when we played the Jets? It's going to be even louder there. Their fans are close to the field and it will be hard to hear anything. We'll have to communicate by hand signals." Carroll added, "Domes are obviously noisier. But as far as outdoor stadiums, Denver's is as tough and as loud as it gets, particularly at the closed end of the stadium. It's difficult to do things the way you usually do. We're just making some contingency plans so we're not surprised when situations develop."

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Cleveland Police Say Noise Ordinance Will be Enforced at Freeway Construction Site

PUBLICATION: The Plain Dealer
DATE: September 27, 1997
SECTION: Metro; Pg. 1B
BYLINE: Michael O'Malley
DATELINE: Cleveland, Ohio
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: David Courey, Mark Straffen, residents

The Plain Dealer reports that Cleveland (Ohio) police say they will begin to crack down on nighttime construction workers at the new Jennings Freeway site because of noise complaints from nearby residents. Police were to begin monitoring the site last night and issuing citations for violating the city noise ordinance if necessary. Police had previously told residents there was nothing they could do about the nighttime noise because the construction company had a 24-hour work permit.

According to the article, angry residents near Schaaf Rd. and W. 11th St. had begun circulating petitions calling for an end to the construction noise, especially the cutting of expansion joints into pavement with loud power saws up until 3 a.m. Residents said they had complained about noise to police, but were told that the city's noise ordinance could not be enforced because the construction company had a 24-hour work permit. Resident David Courey said it was unfortunate that neighbors had to circulate petitions "to get the police to enforce an ordinance they're supposed to enforce." Resident Mark Straffen, who lives about 75 feet from the project, was happy about the decision to crack down on the noise violators. "At least it's something more than what we've had, which was nothing," he said. "We'll see if they go after 11 o'clock. One time it was 3 a.m."

The article reports that according to Safety Director William Denihan, "We're going to enforce the law, and if we find unnecessary noise levels, we will ticket. Yes, they have a permit to work, but they don't have a permit to violate the noise ordinance of the city of Cleveland." Denihan added that he has warned the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), which is funding the project, and the Great Lakes Construction Co., which is pouring and cutting the concrete, about the impending crackdown.

However, ODOT officials said the nighttime work must continue, even if contractors are fined, the article says. According to ODOT spokesperson Barb Gibbons, "The road has to be built. And we're trying to do the best possible for the city of Cleveland to give them a new road." Gibbons said the cutting of expansion joints already was scheduled for last night and Monday night, and the work will go forward. She said yesterday, "We will be cutting tonight and yes, we are aware [of the warning], but we've been pouring since daybreak. We cannot sacrifice the integrity of the roadway. If it [ticketing] happens, we'll deal with it." The article says Gibbons explained that the expansion joints must be cut at just the right time, or else the road could crack or crumble. Last night, the article reports, Gibbons circulated letters throughout the neighborhood explaining the work process and asking residents to be patient. She said in the letter, "Once this section of roadway is finished, construction crews will start working farther away from your residences."

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Military Jets Will Make Life Noisier in Virginia City, Columnist Argues

PUBLICATION: The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA)
DATE: September 27, 1997
SECTION: Local, Pg. B9
BYLINE: Kerry Doughtery
DATELINE: Virginia Beach, Virginia

The Virginian-Pilot printed an editorial in which the writer argues that although there will be substantial economic benefits if the Navy moves all of its F/A 18s to Virginia Beach, Virginia from the Cecil Field in Florida, life in the city will be noisier for all.

The editorial writer says that six years ago she and her husband decided to sell their home, both because they'd outgrown it and because they had tired of the location, which was under the flight path of the Oceana air base. The jet noise by 1991 from the base was deafening, the writer says. But now, she finds that the jet noise is about to follow her to her new neighborhood where she has become accustomed to the peace and quiet. New maps that illustrate where the expanded noise and crash zones would be if the military jets are relocated to Virginia Beach show that takeoffs and landings seem to pass right over her roof.

The writer goes on to say that she agrees the arrival of the jets will be a boon to the local economy. The relatively high salaries that will accompany the 5,600 new workers will put an estimated $226 million each year into the community. The increase of 12,500 new residents will be good for the newspaper at which she works, the writer says, and good for her husband, who is a lawyer.

But, the editorial writer points out, the trade-off is going to be lots of noise, and many more Virginia Beach residents will be bothered by it. She says in a meeting earlier this week between local civic leaders and politicians who all agree that the Navy jets are a fantastic thing, the mayor implied that jet noise doesn't bother those who have lived here a long time. The editorial writer says she disagrees. Some types of noise you grow used to, she says, such as Muzak and the roar of the ocean, but other noises always irritate -- barking dogs, blaring music, whining children, fingernails scraping a blackboard, and jets that suddenly blast out of the sky.

State officials understand that it's stressful to live in a noisy environment and that noise adversely affects real estate values, the writer points out. That's why they are spending millions of dollars to erect "noise abatement shields" along the busiest interstates.

In addition, she says, more jet noise doesn't jive with the vision of retirement communities and golf courses that city leaders have been crafting for Virginia Beach. She notes that nothing will mess up a putt like an F/A 18 Hornet roaring out of the clouds.

The writer concludes that city officials want the newspaper to support the expansion of the Navy air base, and the newspaper is supportive. But, she says, the politicians who banned booming car stereos will have to admit that military jets make a lot more noise the car stereos. Pharmacies should begin to stock up on earplugs, she advises.

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Australia Introduces Bill to Limit Flights at Sydney Airport

DATE: September 26, 1997
SECTION: Nationwide General News; Australian General News
BYLINE: Blair Speedy
DATELINE: Sydney, Australia
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Michael Ronaldson, parliament transport secretary; Barry Cotter, Marrickville Mayor; Kristine Cruden, Leichhardt Mayor; Anthony Albanese, Member of Parlaiment (Labor)

AAP Newsfeed reports that Australia's federal government introduced the Sydney Airport Demand Management Bill 1997 yesterday that would limit the number of planes landing and taking off at Sydney Airport to 80 an hour and would limit the number of movements within five-minute periods. The bill was introduced by parliamentary transport secretary Michael Ronaldson, the article says. However, the bill has met with widespread criticism, both from a tourism lobbying group and from local officials whose towns are affected by jet noise.

According to the article, officials from the Tourism Task Force, a lobbying group, said the move was short-sighted and a slap in the face for the Australian business community. Legislating a cap on flights is a "knee-jerk and simplistic reaction to a complex aviation issue," according to Chris Brown, chief executive of the Tourism Task Force. He said in a statement, "We have no decision in sight on Sydney's second airport and have our main gateway operating with a silly curfew and ridiculous cap. Australia could become an international joke, with a nine-to-five airport, letting only every second plane land.

Meanwhile, the article reports, noise activists also criticized the bill, saying the cap would not effectively control jet noise. Marrickville Mayor Barry Cotter said the cap would not control noise in Marrickville, which is a heavy air traffic zone. "I think it's a good thing because there is no doubt the airport is capable of much higher capacity, but what worries me with the lack of decision that is going on at the moment is that the cap will become the norm rather than the limit" he said. The only solution to noise in the inner city suburbs, Cotter said, is to build another airport. "At the moment people know the 80 per hour can just be achieved, but if Sydney Airport is expanded the 80 an hour will become every hour and that would be a disaster for the local people," he said. Kristine Cruden, mayor of Leichhardt, agreed with Cotter, saying, "It's good that something's finally happening, but it won't make a difference very much at the moment in a day-to day way, to the aircraft noise that local residents are currently suffering. It won't guarantee that [the noise will] get better, but it will guarantee that [it] won't get a lot worse."

The article goes on to say that Anthony Albanese, an inner-west federal Labor Member of Parlaiment, criticized the government for delaying the legislation. In November 1996, Albanese introduced a bill calling for a legislative cap on aircraft movements, but the bill was tabled after its second reading. Albanese said the Labor Members of Parlaiment would closely examine the new bill to ensure that the government keeps its election promise to cap aircraft movements, the article concludes.

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Dutch Transport Minister Expresses Concerns About Future of Amsterdam Airport

PUBLICATION: ANP English News Bulletin
DATE: September 26, 1997
DATELINE: The Hague, Netherlands

The ANP English News Bulletin reports that Dutch Transport Minister Annemarie Jorritsma Thursday told Members of Parlaiment that the economic development of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport could be in danger as a result of recently imposed measures to curb noise pollution.

According to the article, the government wants Schiphol to be developed into a European "mainport," a major entry point for passenger and freight travel to or from Europe. However, the government has also committed to ensuring the quality of life for those living under flight paths by controlling jet noise. Jorritsma said, "This double objective is under threat. I see risks for the mainport. It appears that until the construction of the fifth runway in the year 2003, Schiphol will be allowed to grow by 0%. I will not take responsibility if the mainport idea collapses." Jorritsma added that she had received indications that the US probably would reconsider the open skies treaty with the Netherlands if Schiphol cannot expand further.

The article goes on to explain that Schiphol officials recently announced they wanted to place restrictions on daytime flights, allowing only two of its four runways to be used at some peak times, in order to stay within government noise limits. However, the article notes, a government advisory committee rejected the plan.

Officials from the country's Central Planning Bureau (CPB) earlier said that Schiphol can grow while meeting ambitious targets for improving the quality of life for those living in the area. According to CPB assistant manager P. van den Berg, a strong pricing policy and the redevelopment of the residential area around the airport would allow Schiphol to handle substantially more passengers than the current legal limit. Van den Berg also warned that 15,000 jobs would be lost if Schiphol is not allowed to grow, the article concludes.

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Church Sues Chicago for Soundproofing Money to Reduce Aircraft Noise in Schools

PUBLICATION: Chicago Sun-Times
DATE: September 26, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 14
BYLINE: Brenda Warner Rotzoll
DATELINE: Elmhurst, Illinois
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Reverend Gerald Riva, pastor, Immaculate Conception parish

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Immaculate Conception parish in Elmhurst (Illinois) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago Thursday, seeking $7.6 million for soundproofing to reduce aircraft noise from O'Hare International Airport. The lawsuit alleges that the jet noise disrupts classes at the parish high school and elementary school and that city officials reneged on a promise to fully soundproof the schools.

According to the article, Reverend Gerald Riva, pastor of Immaculate Conception, said in a previous case, the City of Chicago was forced to pay for comprehensive soundproofing of St. Charles Borromeo school in Bensenville. Chicago officials offered 38 cents on the dollar for a much reduced soundproofing system, saying that some areas would not be used for educational purposes and that the city didn't have to pay for fire protection upgrades, Riva said. But he added that more money was needed to muffle noise from a new heating and air-conditioning system that is part of the planned soundproofing, and because of heavy wiring for the system.

Meanwhile, Mary Rose Loney, the Chicago Aviation Commissioner, said the city can fund $4 million in soundproofing, but the rest of the items are not eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Aviation Administration. However, Riva maintains that Chicago's soundproofing obligation exists independently of federal subsidies, the article concludes.

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Hearing on Soundproofing and Purchase Program for Homes Near Indianapolis Airport is Postponed

PUBLICATION: The Indianapolis Star
DATE: September 26, 1997
SECTION: Business; Pg. D06
BYLINE: Mary Francis
DATELINE: Plainfield, Indiana

The Indianapolis Star reports that a public hearing on the Indianapolis (Indiana) Airport Authority's plans to alleviate noise problems for surrounding homeowners has been postponed until November after a request from the Plainfield Town Council for a 15-day extension. The hearing was supposed to be held Monday, but now will be held on November 12, the article says.

According to the article, Dennis Rosebrough, spokesperson for the airport authority, said airport officials postponed the hearing so all groups involved have enough time to study the airport's proposed plan. Under the new schedule, Rosebrough said, the airport authority board will consider the final noise study in December, and then will submit the plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval, which could take up to 180 days.

The plan includes three programs for noise mitigation, the article says. Two of the programs involve the soundproofing or purchase of about 359 homes, mostly in southeastern Hendricks County. Those homeowners can choose to sell their homes to the airport or have their homes soundproofed. Residents who choose soundproofing can live in their home for a trial period after the soundproofing, and still decide to sell to the airport, the article explains.

The third program will offer sales assistance to about 959 homeowners in Decatur Township and Hendricks County who can't sell their homes at the appraised value, the article reports. Airport authority officials are considering making changes to this program, after discussions with local officials and neighbors. According to Rosebrough, the authority initially proposed paying homeowners up to 5% of the home's appraised value if it sells for less than the appraised value. But now officials are considering changing that figure to 8% of the sales price, because the sales price is viewed as a fairer assessment than the appraisal, Rosebrough said.

The Plainfield Town Council has hired a consultant to assess the airport's proposed noise plan, the article reports. The town council has not developed a list of recommended changes to the plan yet, according to Mel Daniel, Plainfield's attorney. He said, "What the town is obviously concerned about is the noise and what can reasonably be done." Meanwhile, some residents have complained that they are affected by jet noise, but their homes don't fall within the airport's designated areas.

The article notes that the new hearing will be held November 12 at 5 p.m. in the auditorium at Decatur Central High School, 5251 Kentucky Ave. Residents who pre-registered to speak at the previously scheduled hearing will be assigned the same speaking time, and others who wish to speak should pre-register by November 7 by calling 317-487-5189 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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British Medical Association Recommends Curbs on Motor Traffic, Emissions, and Noise

PUBLICATION: Press Association Newsfile
DATE: September 25, 1997
SECTION: Home News
BYLINE: Rachel Ellis
DATELINE: Great Britain

The Press Association Newsfile reports that a report has been released by the British Medical Association arguing that high levels of motor traffic and pollution are producing adverse effects on people's health. The study, called Transport and Health, was undertaken by the Association's Board of Science in response to the British government's green paper on transport and the environment. The report calls on the government to set national targets to reduce motor traffic, diesel emissions, and vehicle noise, the article says.

According to the article, the report finds that death rates from heart and lung disease are up to 37% higher in cities with high levels of traffic pollution. In addition, the report reveals that the risk to children aged 10 to 14 of being killed on the roads has doubled since 1995. Traffic noise is another health problem, disturbing people's sleep and adversely affecting people's mental health and well-being, the study says. In addition to setting national targets, the report also advises that strategies be adopted to reduce traffic danger, promote safe routes to schools, and set boost cycling and walking.

In all, the study makes more than 60 recommendations on improving the impact of transport on human health, the article says. By reducing reliance on motor transport and adopting a more integrated approach to transport, the study concludes, inequalities in people's health would be reduced, and years would be added to people's lives. Dr. Vivienne Nathanson, the head of health at the British Medical Association, said, "People will only end their love affair with the car when there are safe, affordable practical alternatives. I hope this report will raise awareness of the many ways in which transport policy affects our physical and mental health and will contribute to the momentum for change."

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Colorado Airport Gets Federal Funding for Noise Study

PUBLICATION: The Denver Post
DATE: September 24, 1997
SECTION: Denver & The West; Pg. B-03
BYLINE: Angela Cortez
DATELINE: Arapahoe County, Colorado
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: U.S. Representative Joel Hefley, (R-Colorado Springs); Clark Upton, Greenwood Village Councillor; Joseph Ryan, president, United Citizens of Arapahoe Neighborhoods

The Denver Post reports that the Federal Aviation Administration has approved a $400,000 grant for a two-year noise study at Centennial Airport in Arapahoe County, Colorado. The study will be used as a standard for noise mitigation efforts once it is completed, the article says.

According to the article, U.S. Representative Joel Hefley (R-Colorado Springs), who worked to get the funding approved, said the study will be recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration, and will provide a basis for implementing noise reduction measures. Clark Upton, a Greenwood Village Councillor whose constituents often complain about noise from the airport, said, "It [the study] will mean we will be able to define where the noise is and the intensity of the noise. It will also set the stage for the possible closing of the airport at night for noisier airplanes, or altogether. The noise at night can be rated 10 times greater than during the day, so if we can get the noise measured accurately and scientifically, maybe we can see if the airport could be partially closed at night. If so, we would be much better off." Meanwhile, Joseph Ryan, president of United Citizens of Arapahoe Neighborhoods, said the new study will not solve the problem, but will provide sound data on which to start finding solutions.

The article reports that airport noise has caused many disputes in the area. In one controversy, developers want to build 500 homes on 85 acres of land southwest of Peoria Street and Orchard Road, and have asked Greenwood Village officials to annex the land for that purpose. The land is in an airport noise zone, according to airport officials and Arapahoe County Commissioners, and Greenwood Village residents will vote in November on whether to annex the land. In another dispute, a resident is suing a developer who built his home, claiming that the developer did not disclose that the resident would be living in an area considered a jet noise zone. According to Upton, the new noise study will help resolve some of these issues because currently there is no noise study recognized by the FAA, the article says.

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Louisiana City Police Start Fining Owners of Car Alarms That Go Off Unnecessarily

PUBLICATION: The Times-Picayune
DATE: September 24, 1997
SECTION: Metro; Pg. B1
BYLINE: Vicki Hyman
DATELINE: Kenner, Louisiana

The Times-Picayune reports that Kenner (Louisiana) Police Chief Nick Congemi this week started using the city's noise ordinance to curb the number of false car alarms his officers investigate. Officers now will give summons to any vehicle owner whose alarm has sounded for more than 15 minutes, unless criminal activity is suspected, the article says. The summons carries a maximum fine of $500, 60 days in jail, or both. Congemi's crackdown on car alarms comes after he proposed a bylaw to the City Council that would have fined vehicle owners $25 for false or faulty car alarms, but councillors didn't even discuss the proposal.

According to the article, Congemi said he realized recently that having police officers respond to car alarms when there's no crime taking place is a terrible waste of services and resources. He said, "I have to work with the tools I'm given. If you have an alarm, you have to have the civility to realize that the alarm is meant for you to respond to, not everyone else. It's not supposed to offend other people and that's what they're doing." Congemi added that most of the nuisance alarms occur in shopping center or business parking lots, but it is a problem in neighborhoods as well.

Under Congemi's new policy, officers will not be dispatched to calls related to vehicle alarms unless there is "possible, suspected, or confirmed criminal activity," or unless the dispatcher can't tell whether there is criminal activity. Congemi said, "Generally people look at them and can obviously see that it's not a burglary or a crime taking place. But some people, when they hear the alarm going off, they will call us and we have to go out and baby-sit the automobile."

Congemi went on to say that about 17% of the 65,000 calls for police service each year are for burglar alarms, the article reports. Most of these are alarms from homes and businesses, and more than 99% of those are false alarms, according to Congemi. A similar policy for home burglar alarms also was instituted by Congemi about two years ago, the article says, but officers so far have cited only a handful of violators.

According to the article, other cities in the New Orleans area recently have passed bylaws that try to curb the number of nuisance alarms. In New Orleans and Mandeville, bylaws require homeowners and car owners to pay $25 for each false alarm above five per year. In addition, police won't respond to violators who have produced more than 20 false alarms per year, unless the violators pay a $100 fine and take a training class on reducing false alarms. Both cities have alarm boards that hear appeals, consisting of police officers, members of the alarm industry, and alarm-owning residents. The boards consider weather, power outages, or vandalism as possible excuses for false alarms, the article says. Marie Nicolich, the regional vice president of Louisiana Burglary and Fire Alarm Association, has helped develop laws for nuisance alarms in homes and businesses. She said companies that install alarms should educate their customers, but she believes laws should hold alarm owners responsible because most false alarms result from user error.

Meanwhile, Jack Fredine, chair of the Kenner Civic Association President's Group, along with several other civic association presidents said vehicle alarms aren't high on the list of complaints from residents. Fredine said, "I know it does happen and it certainly can be an annoyance. There needs to be a means of making the owner aware of the problem. They're out of earshot but everyone around the car knows what's happening." Ann Purnell-Collom, president of the Driftwood Civic Association, said she hasn't heard any complaints about vehicle alarms, and believes that crime and traffic are bigger problems in Kenner than false alarms.

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Aircraft Noise Becomes an Issue in South Australian Election Campaign

DATE: September 23, 1997
SECTION: Nationwide General News; Australian General News
DATELINE: Adelaide, Australia

The AAP Newsfeed reports that aircraft noise became an issue in the South Australian election campaign today, when the ALP (Labor party) called for the nighttime curfew at Adelaide Airport to become federal law.

According to the article, Mike Rann, the Opposition Leader, said a Labor government would place the 11 pm to 6 am curfew at the airport in federal legislation, so that the curfew hours could not be relaxed. The party also released what it claimed were leaked cabinet papers outlining a government plan to relax the curfew and allow air freight jets to land at 4:20 am. Rann said his idea was part of an overall plan for Adelaide's western suburbs, a region in which the party is likely to pick up seats at the October 11 poll, the article reports.

Rann pointed out that Prime Minister John Howard was willing to pass similar legislation for the Sydney Airport to protect his constituents, but wasn't willing to support such legislation for the Adelaide Airport, the article says. Rann added, "What we're saying is there's been a curfew for years and we believe it should be honored. People have accepted the airport in their midst, but what they're saying is they'd like to get some sleep at night."

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Homeowner Near Colorado Airport Sues Developer Over Jet Noise

PUBLICATION: The Denver Post
DATE: September 23, 1997
SECTION: Denver & The West; Pg. B-02
BYLINE: Angela Cortez
DATELINE: Arapahoe County, Colorado

The Denver Post reports that Arapahoe County, Colorado resident Kevin Evans is suing Esprit Homes over jet noise from Centennial Airport, the second busiest general aviation airport in the country. Evans purchased a $325,000 home from Esprit Homes, and argues that the representatives from the company did not disclose the home would be impacted by jet noise. Evans is asking for $900,000 in damages, the article notes.

According to the article, Evans is an attorney who visited the area twice to shop for a home before moving with his family from Chicago. He said, "My feeling is that the law says that the builder or anyone selling a home has to disclose material facts that would influence your decision to buy or not buy. We did not have a great deal of time to find a home. I think they took advantage of us." Evans' house is about one mile north of the main runway at Centennial in the Hills at Cherry Creek Vista subdivision, the article says. The home is in an area where aircraft noise exceeds standards recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration for residential property.

However, Al Blum, a principal of Esprit Homes, said the Evans' contract and title policy did disclose information about aircraft overflights. Blum said Evans is "grasping at straws," and the company will defend the lawsuit vigorously.

The article goes on to say that according to Evans, the contract did disclose an overflight easement, which covers a substantial portion of the area near Centennial Airport. But Evans argues that the 30-year-old easement is not enough warning for a buyer of a newly built home inside a noise zone, the article reports. "The FAA says it's incompatible for residential use," Evans said. "They didn't disclose that, and it's not in the easement."

But Blum believes the disclosures are appropriate, the article reports. He also said that he doesn't expect other lawsuits from Evans' neighbors because they all received notice of the potential problems of living near an airport. Meanwhile, one of the company's directors, Mike Cooper, wants to build more homes in the area, and is hoping Greenwood Village voters will approve the annexation of a piece of Arapahoe County land for that purpose.

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Canadian Native People Disturbed by Noise From Military Jets

PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: September 23, 1997
SECTION: News; Letters; Pg. A16
BYLINE: Mike Boychyn, Scarborough resident
DATELINE: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Ottawa Citizen printed the following letter-to-the-editor from Mike Boychyn, a Scarborough, Ontario resident, regarding the nuisance of military flights to the native Innu people:

Canada's new Chief of Defense, Gen. Maurice Baril, has pledged a new era of openness after a long drawn-out hearing on the Somalia affair ("Change of command," Sept. 18). It is reported that Gen. Baril has earned a reputation for being a straight-talking reformer who is not afraid to admit to the military's problems.

Our Canadian native people the Innu have for many years been crying for attention in the Canadian North against unrelenting and incessant overhead flights by our national defense military jets. We all know how pernicious repetitive noises of any type becomes, so much so that we in the inhabited south readily have legislated bylaws against noise and pollution. The roar and thunder of low-flying jets must certainly become unbearable to the natives, their children and their feeding and nursing animals. Trauma and death may not be as dramatic as the Somalia affair, but it certainly is just as final.

If our Canadian military tribunals can rightly show such concern for far-off countries and far-off inhabitants, does it not follow that similar concerns be shown to our country-folk, the Canadian Innu? Would it be appropriate to send such flights over Premier Lucien Bouchard's territory, or perhaps over Bay Street?

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Massachusetts Airport Noise Opponents Are Disappointed at Officials' Response to Their Noise Recommendations

PUBLICATION: The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA)
DATE: September 23, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 13C
BYLINE: John Madden
DATELINE: Boston, Massachusetts area
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Claudia Clifford, Milton resident and member of Massport's citizens advisory group; Richard Neely, Milton Selectman; Joseph Hubbard, Braintree resident and member of Massport's citizens advisory group

The Patriot Ledger reports that residents and local officials in the Boston, Massachusetts area who are seeking a reduction of aircraft noise from Boston's Logan International Airport are disappointed at state and federal officials' response to noise mitigation recommendations they made earlier this year. Residents of Milton, Braintree, and Dorchester presented a list of recommendations to Massport and Federal Aviation Administration officials in July, and the agencies issued a five-page response to the recommendations this month.

According to the article, the residents' recommendations included hiring an independent aviation consultant to develop alternative runway approaches for the airport, and enforcing a new flight path designed to prevent planes from flying over South Shore communities during off-peak hours. Thomas Kinton, Massport's director of aviation, and William Peacock, an FAA air traffic manager, issued a response that said a new runway approach study is not warranted because a study was undertaken in 1992. In addition, the agency officials said the FAA currently is educating pilots and airlines about the new flight path, and that more monitoring will occur.

But mostly, the article says, the agencies' letter describes the potential benefits of the proposed $18 million expansion of the airport, a plan that calls for construction of a 5,000-foot runway. The article notes that Massport has been trying to build support among South Shore communities for the project. The letter says, "We agree that there are steps to that can be taken to achieve some relief today. However, it must be pointed out that there are no actions which can be implemented today, outside of physical improvements to the airfield, to provide the level of relief that you desire." The letter goes on to say that building the new runway would be the best way to achieve noise mitigation for the South Shore towns.

Residents and officials expressed disappointment at the letter, the article says. Claudia Clifford, a Milton resident and member of Massport's citizens advisory group, said the response "was pretty disappointing" but "not at all surprising. They just copped out." Richard Neely, a Milton Selectman, said the letter sounded like "more of a promo" for a new runway than anything. He added that the agency officials also didn't address the issue of why planes fly over Milton on Sundays when there's no wind. According to Clifford, pilots are supposed to turn two miles after takeoff and fly over Franklin Park under the new flight plan, but they are not turning at the right time, which takes them over Milton and other towns.

The article explains that officials in Milton and other towns have been trying to get the FAA to address noise complaints for years, with little success. However, now that Massport wants to expand the airport, residents and officials are hopeful that the situation will change. Joseph Hubbard, a Braintree resident and member of Massport's citizens advisory group, said the proposed runway would reduce air traffic over the South Shore region, and that officials and residents should force the agencies to uphold the new noise mitigation rules and procedures in exchange for supporting the runway plan. Hubbard said, "You're simply asking them to live by the rules they set."

Meanwhile, the residents group will continue its efforts and will draft a response to Massport's letter, the article reports. The group also wants to arrange a meeting with FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, who formerly directed the Logan Airport. Milton selectmen earlier sent a letter to Garvey expressing concern about aircraft noise, and Garvey responded with a letter saying that their concerns would "receive full attention."

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Massachusetts Town Passes Noise Control Ordinance With Stiff Fines

PUBLICATION: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
DATE: September 23, 1997
SECTION: Local News; Pg. B3
BYLINE: Bob Datz; Telegram & Gazette Staff
DATELINE: Southbridge, Massachusetts

The Telegram & Gazette reports that the Southbridge (Massachusetts) Town Council passed on a 9-2 vote a noise-control bylaw that sets fines for unreasonable noise levels. The fine for first-time offenders is double that of most other town infractions, the article says.

According to the article, several types of noise are prohibited under the bylaw, including loud music and squawking pet birds. Certain activities, such as construction, are allowed during the daytime, but are prohibited between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. if they create a nuisance. Although the council debated whether to create a different set of restrictions for weekend activity, in the end the bylaw was put into effect on all seven days.

The fines under the ordinance are $50 for a first offense, $75 for a second, and $100 the third time in a calendar year. Fines of other town bylaws are $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second, and $100 for the third in a calendar year, the article notes. Councillor Spiro Thomo, who proposed the higher fines, said they "would show that we're serious about this."

The article explains that the bylaw passed in its final version on a 9-2 vote with Councillors Edgar McCann and William Ryan dissenting. McCann and Ryan criticized the higher fines during the 1 1/2-hour debate, and said there would be a potential for overzealous enforcement. But Police Chief Michael Stevens said the bylaw would give police and residents a tool to fight noise problems without court trials. The bylaw is much more specific and updated than the state's disturbing-the-peace law, Stevens said, which dates from English common law.

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New Hampshire Residents Organize to Protest Aircraft Noise

PUBLICATION: The Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
DATE: September 22, 1997
SECTION: Section A Pg. 4
BYLINE: Matt McDonald
DATELINE: Litchfield, New Hampshire
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: John Mango, resident; Jean Serino, founder, Save Our Skies

The Union Leader reports that the group Save Our Skies has organized a meeting tomorrow night for residents disturbed by jet noise from the Manchester (New Hampshire) Airport. Organizers intend to discuss the nighttime jet noise problem and strategies to deal with the problem. Officials at the Manchester Airport, meanwhile, say there is little they can do to mitigate the problem.

According to the article, Litchfield resident John Mango said he doesn't care about the jet noise during the day, but "you've got to get to sleep at nighttime." He added he's thinking about installing air conditioning before next summer, so he can close his windows at night. Jean Serino, a Hudson resident and founder of Save Our Skies who lives about five miles from the end of a runway, said several residents have called her recently with complaints about aircraft noise.

Serino went on to say that she was very happy when UPS was on strike because the jet noise was reduced, the article says. That's because the loudest aircraft tend to be cargo jets, the article explains. Most commercial jets are quieter "Stage 3" planes, according to airport officials, while most cargo jets are noisier "Stage 2" planes such as 727s and DC-9s. Fred Testa, Manchester Airport's director, said some months, as many as 90% of the airplanes at the airport are Stage 3 types, although this month, about 50% are. He added, "The difference between Stage 2 and Stage 3 is immense. It's not just a slight decrease in noise, it's the annoyance level. The Stage 3 aircraft produce a more neutral sort of hum." Testa pointed out that by December 1999, no Stage 2 planes will be allowed to fly in the U.S. He went on to say that the airport can't regulate most flights due to the federal Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, the article reports. At Logan International Airport in Boston, only Stage 3 planes are allowed to fly between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., but that rule was grandfathered in by the federal Act, Testa said.

Testa also said that noise complaints have been dropping in recent years, the article reports. Complaints for the past several years are as follows, according to Testa: 1991: 389; 1992: 335; 1993: 167; 1994: 191; 1995: 156; 1996: 112; and 1997 through July: 66. Complaints are dropping, Testa believes, because Stage 2 planes are gradually being replaced with Stage 3 jets, and because mitigation efforts such as changed flight patterns have been implemented. He also pointed out that residents living close to the airport have become eligible for soundproofing measures such as new windows and insulation, the article says. "Everything we can possibly do we are doing," Testa said. "I think there will always be those individuals who probably will not be satisfied and I'm sorry. I apologize to them, but I think there's really nothing more that we can do."

Meanwhile Rick Miller, a Federal Aviation Administration air traffic manager at the airport, said there are rarely flights after midnight in Manchester. He said the last scheduled flight, a Federal Express 727, takes off before midnight, although if flights are delayed, they may leave in the middle of the night. Miller also said that residents living south of the airport are likely to hear airplanes in the summer months, both because of more open windows and because of prevailing winds, the article says. Airplanes land and take off into the wind, he said, and summer winds tend to come from the south or southwest.

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Motorcycle Noise in Vancouver Inspires Resident to Take Action

PUBLICATION: The Vancouver Sun
DATE: September 22, 1997
SECTION: News; Traffic Jam; Pg. B2
DATELINE: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Vancouver Sun printed a column that discusses the response of one Vancouver (Canada) resident, Russell King, to noisy motorcycles on his street. King said he wants the noise laws enforced more stringently, and is going to start working with neighborhood groups to address this growing noise problem.

According to the column, King said motorcycle riders on Harley-Davidsons accelerate along Cornwall Avenue by Kitsilano Beach so fast that they rattle windows in his apartment two blocks off Cornwall. The loudest motorcycles set off car alarms in the neighborhood, which go on for several minutes after the motorcyclists are gone, King said. "I'm not against motorcycles," King said. "But some of these bikes are so noisy they take your breath away. The residual effect of this 30-second peel is that you have three or four minutes of car alarms."

The column goes on to say that King wants officers to enforce the noise bylaws more stringently. He will work with neighborhood groups to organize at the local level to combat this growing problem, Kind said. "It affects the peace and enjoyment of everyone who lives here," he said. "Something has to be done about it. Some action has to be taken."

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Rhode Island Airport Officials Consider Voluntary Noise Reduction Controls

PUBLICATION: Providence Journal-Bulletin
DATE: September 21, 1997
SECTION: Business, Pg. 1F
BYLINE: Tony DePaul
DATELINE: Warwick, Rhode Island
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: SONIC (Stop Overhead Noise In Cowesett); POWER-ON (People Of Warwick Encourage Reduction Of Noise)

The Providence Journal-Bulletin reports that officials at the R.I. Airport Corporation are considering establishing voluntary flight rules at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, in order to address the recent backlash against increased noise after the airport's new terminal that opened one year ago. Flight rules being considered involve the amount of power pilots should apply on takeoff, how quickly they should climb, and whether they should turn once they gain sufficient altitude. The article notes that officials are considering these measures after they have already spent $35 million on other noise control schemes, including buying out neighbors, soundproofing houses, and building noise barriers on the airfield. The article goes on to detail the long history of the jet noise fight in Warwick, and the success of other airports around the country in establishing voluntary flight rules to mitigate noise.

According to the article, airport noise has been a problem at T.F. Green Airport since the commercial jet age began in the 1950s. For more than a generation now, the article says, residents have been asking airport officials to set a "noise limit" on jet noise and install permanent noise monitors around the city. But the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, which managed the airport until early 1993, didn't accommodate residents' requests. In 1993, the newly created Airport Corporation took over management of the airport.

The article reports that in the past several weeks, new citizens' anti-noise groups have been forming in the area, including SONIC (Stop Overhead Noise In Cowesett) and POWER-ON (People Of Warwick Encourage Reduction Of Noise.) Those groups will continue the work of the groups Give Us A Break in the 1970s, and SANE (Stop Airport Noise and Expansion) in the 1980s. SANE lost a major battle in 1988, when it failed to defeat a state transportation bond referendum that included $29.5 for the renovation of the air terminal. That project later grew over the next eight years into a new terminal and a $223 million airport expansion, the article says. On top of that, SANE also fought and lost smaller battles, including the establishment of a noise limit and permanent noise monitors.

Because of SANE's failures, the airport missed its chance to establish mandatory noise controls and enforce the controls with real penalties, the article reports. That's because the federal Airport Noise and Capacity Act, adopted by Congress in 1990, prohibits local governments from establishing mandatory jet noise controls without going through a process called "Part 161," which can severely damage a community's chance of getting federal airport funding.

The article explains that the Airport Noise and Capacity Act also required airlines to retire their noisier "Stage 2" jets by December 1999. Thus, the new anti-noise movement in Warwick is getting underway just as the airport's noisiest jets are being retired or retrofitted with "hush kits" that make them quieter. The article says this development suggests that residents are not annoyed just by the noise of Stage 2 jets, but by the frequency of all kinds of air traffic. That issue, the article points out, won't go away when all the Stage 2 jets are retired in 2000.

In spite of the fact that Green cannot now establish mandatory noise controls, the article explains, airports are free to establish voluntary rules. But residents are wondering whether the Airport Corporation has any intention of doing so. One year ago, Airport Corporation officials signed a "memorandum of agreement" with Republican Mayor Lincoln Chafee, pledging to make its "best efforts" on noise control. The enforcement of this agreement seems to be gathering momentum as an election issue in the 1998 campaign, the article says. Chafee's likely opponent, Democrat George Zainyeh, said last week, "The city signs off on a memorandum of agreement, but what have they actually accomplished? [Noise control] is not a priority for the city or the Airport Corporation. That seems apparent. They think winter's coming and people's windows are going to be shut and the issue is going to go away." Meanwhile, Airport Corporation officials say they are concerned about lawmakers trying to impose their own ideas of noise control on the airport, which could build false public expectations, the article says.

Meanwhile, Wayne Schuster, the Airport Corporation's director of planning and development for Green and the outlying airports, has been attending the anti-noise meetings to tell residents that Airport Corporation officials believe the recent attendance at anti-noise meetings illustrates that there is a serious problem with noise. In August, the article notes, about 400 people turned out at a SONIC organizational meeting and petition signing. Schuster said recently, "[The Corporation] is absolutely sensitive to the fact that the representatives and councilmen and people in the city administration are being asked some very tough questions by their constituents, [but] there is not a city administration solution or a state legislature solution. The people that can provide the benefit are the ones flying the aircraft." He added, "[Executive Director] Elaine Roberts and I -- and others [at the Corporation] -- are trying to go forward in a cooperative effort with the airlines to achieve short-term and permanent noise reduction." Schuster said the Corporation and airlines were talking about measures that would ask pilots to fly a steeper departure to gain altitude more quickly. Noise monitors are under consideration too, he said, even though they were soundly rejected when the Department of Transportation managed the airport. "The answer at that time," Schuster said, "was that it would cost $275,000 to $400,000 to install monitors, with no indication of the benefits they might provide."

The article goes on to describe the failures and successes other airports have had with voluntary noise control measures. The Westchester County Airport, on the Connecticut-New York line, set a 96-decibel noise limit in 1985 and installed 14 remote noise-monitoring stations. The airport's noise limit is voluntary, but pilots who violate it get a letter from the airport, the article says. In addition, the airport has five full-time workers to monitor whether pilots are making unnecessary noise. Airport officials also distribute written rules for pilots, which ask them to climb at reduced power until reaching 3,500 feet, "avoid high RPM settings" at all times, "make power setting changes slowly," use minimum flap settings when landing, wait until final descent before deploying the landing gear, and use the full length of the runway when landing. But, the article says, Westchester's voluntary noise controls don't solve all the problems. On a typical night, four jets violate the ban on overnight flights over White Plains, New York. In August, there were 20 violations of the 96-decibel noise limit, the article says. According to Noise Officer Shelly LaRose, she uses persuasion rather than regulation. "We work with [the pilots] to modify their arrival and departure techniques, all of which must be approved by the FAA and the aircraft manufacturer," she said. "We can't do anything unusual with the aircraft that might be unsafe."

Other airports also have instituted voluntary noise controls, the article says. Pease International Tradeport, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, instructs pilots to follow "noise abatement flight tracks," which result in distributing the noise over a larger area. The Palo Alto, California airport has a "Good Neighbor Policy," which requires pilots to "reduce from take-off to climb power as soon as safe and practical," and to maintain a minimum altitude of 1,500 feet while over residential areas, the article reports. At the Santa Monica, California Airport, there is a mandatory noise limit of 95 decibels, and aircraft "shall be permanently barred from operating [at Santa Monica] after one violation." Meanwhile, the article says, T.F. Green allows its pilots to "rocket off" at any speed and rate of climb the control tower will approve.

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New Noise Regulations at Amsterdam Airport Would Restrict Growth, Officials Say

DATE: September 23, 1997
SECTION: Vol. 14, No. 38; Pg. 383
DATELINE: Amsterdam, Netherlands

The publication Airports reports that new noise regulations proposed by officials at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands would permit only limited air traffic growth in 1998, according to an airport official. The article says that according to the Dutch business daily Financieele Dagblad, Schiphol Manager Hans Smits said demand will increase by 8% to 10% next year, but capacity will increase by only 1% until 2003, when the airport's fifth runway becomes operational.

The article reports that under noise regulations recently passed by the Dutch government, a maximum of 15,100 homes near Schiphol may be affected by aircraft noise. Airport officials recently announced they would revise their runway utilization plan in an attempt to meet this limit in 1997. As a result of the changes, "in most cases, the availability of runways during peak times will be limited to one takeoff runway and one landing runway," according to a Schiphol statement. The article explains that airport officials also said they will increase landing charges 50% for noisier, Chapter 2 aircraft.

Meanwhile, officials from the air transport industry said the new measures will have negative impacts on the economy, the article reports. Officials from ATAN, the Netherlands' air transport association, said the new rules will lead to "economic suicide." Officials from the airline KLM said that the new plan will strand an average of 6,000 passengers per day, and will diminish its own attractiveness as an airline partner, since Schiphol is its home base.

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St. Paul Planning Commission Continues Suspension of New Metal Shredders

PUBLICATION: Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
DATE: September 25, 1997
SECTION: News; Pg. 8B
BYLINE: Mary Lynn Smith
DATELINE: St. Paul, Minnesota
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Anne Geisser, chairperson of ad hoc Planning Commission committee

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Minnesota, reports that members of the St. Paul City Council voted on Wednesday to extend a temporary moratorium on new metal shredders in St. Paul as the city neared a decision on whether to make the ban permanent. Those in favor of the ban object not to recycling but to the noise and other types of pollution caused by operation. They say the industry should find a more appropriate site.

According to the article, the yearlong moratorium and a study on permanent regulations was ordered after Alter Trading Corp. announced plans to build an auto and metal shredder along the Mississippi River on the city's West Side. A recommendation to prohibit new metal shredders from locating anywhere in the city is scheduled for a vote Friday by the city Planning Commission. If the proposed ban passes the Planning Commission, City Council members are expected to consider it next month. Potentially, the ban could go into effect before the end of the year. The temporary moratorium will continue until the council makes a final decision. An ad hoc Planning Commission committee assigned to study metal shredders voted 8 to 2 in favor of the permanent ban earlier this month, but some commission members favor stringent regulation rather than an outright ban. The ban wouldn't affect the city's only metal shredding operation, run by North Star Steel.

The article reports that Anne Geisser, who chaired the committee, objected to the amount of traffic, pollution and noise created by massive metal shredders that smash cars and other metal wastes. She said it's too much to be located in urban areas. "I understand why these things are needed. I recycle myself," she said. "But you have to find an appropriate place for it. And I think we can find it . . . . We just shouldn't put this type of industry near people." Geisser also argued that it doesn't make sense to put a metal shredder on the Mississippi when the city is investing time and money to renovate the river front, or to allow a metal shredder to move into other industrial areas when the city has spent money to clean up polluted land to make way for various economic development projects.

The article reports Planning Commission member Steve Gordon maintains that metal shredders could be regulated so they are not problems to the community. For example, Gordon said, companies could be required to contain the metal shredder in a building to contain the noise and dust. "I'm not satisfied an outright ban is an appropriate approach," Gordon said. The article went on to detail other council business.

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