Noise News for Week of February 1, 1998

Florida Neighborhood Association Will Sue City Over Airport Noise; City May Pay High Price on Lawsuit

PUBLICATION: The Palm Beach Post
DATE: February 3, 1998
SECTION: Local, Pg. 1B
BYLINE: Rebecca Goldsmith
DATELINE: West Palm Beach, Florida
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Frank Benevento, vice president, Palm Beach Neighborhood Association

The Palm Beach Post reports that the Palm Beach (Florida) Neighborhood Association has threatened to sue Palm Beach County over noise at the Palm Beach International Airport. Today, county commissioners will decide whether to hire Cutler and Stanfield, a Washington, D.C. law firm that charges $205 an hour and specializes in airport noise issues. The article says the lawsuit could be one of the most expensive noise suits in the history of the airport, with costs that could amount to $1.8 million for the city.

According to the article, lawyers for the neighborhood association, whose clients live under the eastbound flight path, wrote to county officials on January 21 to warn that they would sue. The county has 30 days to respond with a settlement offer, but according to County Administrator Bob Weisman, settling is not an option. Gordon Selfridge, chief deputy county attorney, said, "There is nothing we can do for these folks. We can't move the airport, we can't move the flight paths, we can't pay them money." Frank Benevento, the vice president of the neighborhood association, said that he and his neighbors would demand stricter curfews and different flight patterns under any settlement. In addition, he said, the airport would have to abandon expansion plans, including a longer runway that is now being considered.

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Homeowners' Interests Regarding Aircraft Noise Left out of Noise Reduction Plan Sent by Indianapolis Airport Authority to FAA for Approval

PUBLICATION: The Indianapolis Star
DATE: February 7, 1998
SECTION: Business; Pg. C01
BYLINE: Chris O'Malley
DATELINE: Indianapolis, Indiana

The Indianapolis Star reports that homeowners' issues regarding aircraft noise were not included in an aircraft noise reduction plan approved by the Indianapolis Airport Authority board on February 4, 1998. It could take as much as six months for the Federal Aviation Administration to rule on the plan.

Homeowners raised their concerns about declining property values due to aircraft noise at the final public hearing in January. But Authority board members claimed that after several public meetings, studies and hundreds of letters since 1996, not everyone could be pleased. "No matter what you do, no matter where you draw the line, there's always someone living across the street," the article said quoting board member Gene P. Haflich.

Traffic patterns will change to reduce noise but that will also affect aircraft fuel consumption and departure 1 schedules.

A handful of homeowners walked out of the meeting after the final vote. Resident Jimmy Lewis was among them. "The bottom line [for the airport authority]is to get as many aircraft off the ground as soon as possible," the article says, quoting Lewis. Something other than homeowners was deemed important in the end.

Support for the noise plan was not unanomous on the board. According to the article board member David E. Mansfield abstained from voting. Mansfield reportedly lives in a neighborhood west of the airport that qualifies for noise-related purchase. Mansfield said he would have preferred that more neighborhoods qualify for the airport's purchase assurance plan.

The article explains how, under the assurance plan, the airport offers to add sound insulation, or to purchase a home, add sound insulation, and re-sell it.

The article also said the FAA indicated that some neighborhoods that wanted to qualify for the plan wouldn't be sufficiently affected by noise after flight patterns were changed, so they were not included in the plan, according to an airport staff person.

But neighborhoods where the noise issue is most contentious will be eligible, the article claimed, for a component of the noise plan that will pay homeowners 10 percent of the contract sale price of a home, to offset potential loss in property value. Some homeowners reportedly believe that 10 percent isn't enough.

Some residents also doubt whether the change in traffic patterns will provide relief. According to the plan, flights taking off and heading west and south, toward Plainfield and Mooresville will be modified. Planes departing via the north runway must wait until they are 6.5 miles out before turning (5.5 miles from the south runway) between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The original proposal for the north runway called for 5.5 miles, but a compromise was reached after the airport received objections from Plainfield officials.

The article discusses the airport's need to contain run-off of aircraft de-icing fluid. Several options are mentioned in the article to together with their related costs.

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