Noise News for Week of April 11, 1999

With Noise Ordinance Vote, Arkansas Town Remains Quiet

PUBLICATION: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
DATE: April 17, 1999
SECTION: News; Pg. B4
DATELINE: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports residents of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, sent a message loud and clear Tuesday that they want a quiet little town.

Acccording to the article, voters upheld the city's noise ordinance by a vote of 74-60. Fewer than half the people who signed a petition to get the issue on the ballot showed up to repeal the ordinance. James DeVito, who helped craft the ordinance, said, "I thought [the opposition] was better organized than that. I'm not surprised at our turnout, but I'm very surprised at theirs." DeVito runs an upscale Italian restaurant, and patrons often ask for seating in his back dining room, which hangs 65 feet over the street below. He likes to open the glass panels in the dining room in the summer to let in the evening air, but music from an outdoor deck of Eureka Live, a nearby nightclub, made that impossible last summer, he said.

The article reports DeVito and others crafted an ordinance that would limit outdoor music to a level lower than the allowed 85 decibels. The law was passed by the City Council in October after the tourist season was over. The ordinance requires restaurants with outdoor seating in commercial districts to restrict amplified music to 10 decibels above background sound level in the area, to a maximum of 65 decibels. Music may be played only from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and any restaurateur who wants to play music must buy a yearly permit from the city. It also bans shops from putting speakers outside. Opponents of the ordinance said it will kill outdoor amplified music in the mountain tourist town of 1,900. However, DeVito said, "The vote sends a message that this is a small town and that people want to keep it that way."

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Encroaching Development, Along with Noise and Safety Issues, Could Close Additional Arizona Air Bases

PUBLICATION: The Associated Press State & Local Wire
DATE: April 17, 1999
SECTION: State And Regional
BYLINE: Michelle Rushlo
DATELINE: Glendale, Arizona

The Associated Press reports as development and a growing number of people move to areas around Luke Air Force Base and Arizona's other military airports, the danger may be increasing for both residents and military bases alike.

According to the article, so far in the last six months, five Luke-based F-16s have crashed - four of them because of engine trouble. None has caused any serious injury. Terry Hansen, assistant air space manager at Luke, said the jets pose no significant danger to area residents. He said he's lived directly north of the base for 13 years and has never worried about his safety. "We're still training pilots safely," said Cris Brownlow, Luke's community planner. "But the more people you get out here, the more exposure you have." When Luke was built in 1941, the base was an island in the middle of a patch of undeveloped land. The site was selected because it was 25 miles from town and largely uninhabited, Brownlow said. There was one bridge in and out of Luke and one in and out of the now-closed Williams Air Force Base in Mesa. Even through the 1970s, few people but farmers and migrant workers lived in the open areas surrounding Luke, the world's largest F-16 training base, origination point of more than 100,000 sorties a year.

The article states the situation has changed. Rows of homes stand within miles of the base now, and a steady stream of development is expected to keep moving west from the Phoenix area. It threatens to create a situation similar to the one at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. There, a housing development sits right on the base's northwest side, directly under the flight path. Geno Patriarcha, chief community planner at Davis-Monthan, said aircraft must fly over dense development shortly after takeoff. Over the years, a number of airplane parts have dropped over developed areas, but no serious accidents have occurred.

The article reports even if the encroachment doesn't endanger residents, the burgeoning population in this area could pose a danger to the base. While no one here is exactly sure what all the criteria are for determining which military bases are targeted for closure, most military officials acknowledge that community support, or lack of it, plays a part in a base's future. Many attribute Williams Air Force Base's September 1993 closure in part to encroachment and noise complaints. Although even though noise maps, zoning recommendations and military airport disclosure forms are designed to minimize incompatible construction near military bases, residents moving into nearby neighborhoods are not always fully aware of what kind of noise they'll face. "You pick out a house on Saturday and Sunday. You look at the tile on Saturday, move out there on a weekend, maybe a long weekend. But those are usually federal holidays, so we're off. And guess what? On Monday, when you're out having a barbecue, you have 200 jets going over head," Hansen said.

According to the article, the number of complaints at Luke have been fairly steady over the last couple of years. The base received about 120 complaints last year. Hansen said that oftentimes the calls are just residents wondering why they heard a certain noise. "We just have that 10 percent who don't care about the $1 billion we put into the economy," he said.

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Texas Residents Feel Betrayed by Reduction of Sound Wall

PUBLICATION: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
DATE: April 17, 1999
SECTION: Metro; Pg. 1
BYLINE: Steve Stein
DATELINE: Trophy Club, Texas

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the Texas Department of Transportation's decision this week to reduce a sound barrier wall between Trophy Club and the Texas 114 bypass by 420 feet is a betrayal of an agreement reached 10 years ago, residents and officials said yesterday.

According to the article, since the agency announced last fall that a portion of the sound barrier wall would be eliminated at the request of the owner of a private wedding chapel and a group of property owners planning a commercial development, the wall has been a contentious issue in the town of 6,000 residents. "I feel like this is something that TxDOT knew they were going to do all along and they baited us all along," resident Tammy Wood said. Wood and dozens of other Trophy Club residents who live east of the Roanoke boundary on Durango, Monterey and Sonora drives have been opposed to reducing the sound wall's length. The residents say they are worried about the safety of their children and a decrease in property values because the bypass is so close. However, the primary purpose of the sound wall is to reduce noise from the bypass, not to act as a safety barrier for Trophy Club residents, said Mark Ball, a spokesman for Transportation Department.

The article reports Trophy Club Mayor Pro Tem Marshall Engelbeck said yesterday that the town was operating with the understanding that in 1989, the Transportation Department agreed to build the entire 2,220-foot sound wall after negotiations on the location of the bypass, which is scheduled for completion early next year. "To say I'm disappointed is an understatement," Engelbeck said. Several area officials and state Sen. Jane Nelson and state Rep. Mary Denny said they believed that they were making progress with the Transportation Department, which still plans to build 1,800 feet of the sound wall between the bypass and the Trophy Club neighborhood. But Jay R. Nelson, the Transportation Department's Dallas District engineer, said in a letter to Jane Nelson this week that, "This situation is not unprecedented. Based on previous noise abatement projects statewide, a number of proposed noise barriers have either been reduced in length or eliminated entirely due to the desires of business as well as residential property owners. " Jane Nelson said in a letter to Engelbeck this week that the Transportation Department's "response will undoubtedly be disappointing and upsetting to the homeowners in the area. I welcome your thoughts on alternatives we might present to the department. "

The article states Denton County Pct. 4 Commissioner Jim Carter said the town has alternatives. "I think our strategy ought to be to talk to the Transportation Department en masse and say, 'Listen, we had an agreement before, and now you've reneged because of a technicality. '" Lawsuits against the Transportation Department could be filed as well. Trophy Club officials also have considered building a 420-foot wall on the Trophy Club side of the boundary, leaving an opening to the wedding chapel, which is accessible only through Trophy Club.

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NC Residents Seek Relief from Noise and Artificial Light

PUBLICATION: Morning Star (Wilmington, NC)
DATE: April 17, 1999
SECTION: Local/State; Pg. 6B
BYLINE: Morgan Lee
DATELINE: Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Paul Yancey, resident; Dr. Kendall Suh, town commissioner

The Morning Star reports the Ocean Isle Beach Planning Board will meet later this month to craft ordinances that regulate noise and outdoor lighting as neighborhoods expand on the North Carolina barrier island.

According to the article, when Easter revelers gathered on the beach at dawn to celebrate, the amplified sermon prompted phone calls to town hall to complain about the noise. Commissioner Kendall Suh heard complaints after the Sunday sunrise services April 4, including one from a doctor who had worked the late shift on the previous night. "It startled him out of bed," Dr. Suh said. As open space gets scarcer and neighborhoods expand on this barrier island, town planners may start regulating conflicts between neighbors over loud noise and bright outdoor light. In preparation for a board meeting later this month, the Ocean Isle Beach Planning Board's staff is collecting examples of light and noise ordinances from other towns.

The article reports sound ordinances would be new to the island, whose year-round population of about 700 increases dramatically in the summer. Restrictions on outdoor lighting, however, already exist. The laws are designed to protect sea turtles, which navigate by moonlight. But the law does not prevent residents on the inland shore of the island from using bright outside electric lights. One such light is causing consternation among homeowners on the mainland who live within town limits. Paul Yancey who owns a house on the Intracoastal Waterway, has proposed restricting outdoor light to 1,600 lumens, about the intensity of a standard 100-watt bulb. A mercury vapor light posted on private property on Concord St. emits more than 7,000 lumens, Mr. Yancey said. The light shines on Mr. Yancey's house. Magnified by the reflection off the water, it can turn night into day: "If we awaken at night we think it's morning," he said. Electrical engineer Jerry Lewis said he checked with the town building inspector and put the light up outside his house 10 years ago after his home and others in the neighborhood were burglarized. Mr. Lewis said he shielded the light from direct view by houses on his block. He said other neighbors want the light left in place to discourage visits from criminals. "Nuisance levels are different between different people," Mr. Lewis said. Mr. Yancey is appealing for help to the Board of Commissioners. "I'd like to see some type of ordinance," Mr. Yancey said. "If you had a light like that out on the strand, you couldn't do it because of turtle ordinances. We'd sort of like to see the same peace and quiet."

Confronting the problem may require diplomacy. The commissioners asked their town manager to call the owner of the light on Concord Street. Buy "Sometimes a call from town hall isn't considered neighborly," said Town Manager Greg Taylor. Yet the problem is real, he said. "This is not the only situation we have that people find objectionable." Dr. Suh asked if an ordinance could tone down glare at the airfield and the brilliantly lit Waves Surf & Sport outlet on Causeway Drive. Emerging from dark rural roads at the bright intersection is "a little bit of a hazard," Dr. Suh said.

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Letter: Noise from Stuart Airport Robs Residents of Peace and Quiet in Former Florida Paradise

PUBLICATION: The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News
DATE: April 17, 1999
SECTION: Letters To The Editor; Pg. A10
DATELINE: Stuart, Florida

The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News published a letter from Dorothy Coutant of Stuart, Florida. Ms. Coutant contends increased noise at the nearby airport is robbing residents of peace and quiet. She writes:

"Editor: Why do people leave beautiful, tropical Miami and Fort Lauderdale for the supposed peace and quiet of Stuart, and then show no understanding when we protest our airport turning into a busy, noisy facility? We now have the tremendous noise of private jets taking off - isn't that what Southern Florida residents are trying to escape when they move up here? Instead, they are bringing their problems of traffic and noise pollution to us and insisting this is the way to go. Progress!

"I am beginning to see red when johnny-come-latelys lecture on the history of Stuart. My home and most of the big riverfront homes in Port Sewall were established when the airport was only a gleam in the eye of Bert Krueger. He used a grassy field for his small plane and there wasn't really much flying going on. These people are saying that it was our choice to live by a noisy airport. It is amazing how people who know little about the history of Stuart will talk about it with great authority.

"And these rude people who write "if you don't like the noise go back up North" - why don't they go north and stop interfering with the citizens who have lived here before the airport and would like to return to a little of the former peace and quiet that made these beautiful rivers such a paradise?

"What do we get in return for the high taxes paid on waterfront property? Noise! Noise so loud that you have to hold the phone when a big plane goes over. All conversation ceases in the living room while we wait - and try sleeping when an early morning plane takes off. (The only time we have gone to the airport to complain is when Attorney Gary's plane took off at 5 or 5:30 a.m. At that time he had the biggest plane at the airport, evidently feeling he needs a status symbol. We all know he is a highly successful lawyer.)

"We were pleased to receive a notice about a meeting of the Airport Watch Committee on Monday evening, April 19, from 6-8 p.m. in the Armstrong Room of the Blake Library. We all need to work together to keep our airport from becoming a big octopus swallowing our quality of life. Come and join.

"To quote John Decker, who wrote a very fine letter to this paper (published April 14, 'Martin voters must act to solve airfield problems'), 'No one is against the airport as it once was, but what it has become.'"

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NH Business Loses 1st Round to Block Runway Plan; Will Return to Court to Collect Noise Damages

PUBLICATION: The Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
DATE: April 17, 1999
SECTION: Section A Pg. 5
BYLINE: Nancy Meersman
DATELINE: Manchester, New Hampshire

The Union Leader reports a New Hampshire Superior Court judge yesterday refused to block a runway expansion at Manchester Airport, but the plaintiff will return to court to seek damages from noise.

According to the article, the city of Manchester got the go-ahead to close off a section of Harvey Road to accommodate an airport runway expansion. The owner of Triangle Mall, Spiros G. Athanas, had claimed the re-routing of Harvey Road would diminish the value of his property. Judge William J. Groff found that a public need for the runway has already been established, and the mall cannot try to use road discontinuance proceedings to attack the runway extension. The mall is on two levels, and second-floor tenants are at street level on Harvey Road. The city intends to close a section of Harvey Road and build a connector at Perimeter Road linking Harvey to South Willow. During the trial, Triangle asked the court to either stop the road closure or order the city to compensate the owner for the alleged diminished property value resulting from loss of frontage on Harvey Road. The mall's expert said the value of the property would fall by $300,000 to $350,000 due to lower rents. In his ruling, Judge Groff said he was not convinced the mall would suffer financial harm from the loss of frontage. The court "finds that there is occasion and necessity to discontinue that portion of Harvey Road, and the petitioner will suffer no damage due to the discontinuance," Groff said.

The article reports Triangle's lawyers say they will be back in court in a few months seeking compensation for a drop in value they say the mini-mall will suffer when the east-west runway at Manchester Airport is extended 1,500 feet. At the trial this month only the road closure question was addressed. A separate trial focusing on alleged damages to the commercial property due to the runway extension itself is scheduled for Oct. 4. Attorney John G. Cronin said the longer runway will create intolerable noise levels and imperil Triangle's tenants if any remain once 325,000-pound jets start taking off and landing 300 feet from the Triangle building. Saying the second phase of the case is more critical, Cronin said there are questions of whether the Triangle Mall is in the runway protection zone and would have to be condemned in the interest of public safety. "If it isn't in the protection zone, it's too close" to the pathway of huge jets, Cronin said, "so the city should take it." He said noise levels of 100 decibels would have the building "rocking and rolling."

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Noise Expert Calls Plans for Illinois Power Plant 'Fatally Flawed'

PUBLICATION: Chicago Tribune
DATE: April 17, 1999
SECTION: News; Pg. 5; Zone: NW
BYLINE: Mark R. Madler
DATELINE: Woodstock, Illinois
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Gregory Zak, noise advisor for Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; Create Awareness for Responsible Planning Group

The Chicago Tribune reports a noise expert testified Friday that an electrical generating plant near Woodstock, Illinois, may create enough noise to be considered a nuisance for neighbors.

According to the article, Gregory Zak, an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency noise adviser, testified Friday during the sixth day of hearings on the proposed facility. Zak contradicted a report prepared by consultants for Indeck Energy Services, the company that wants to build the generator. Zak said the consultants' report was flawed because it did not follow Illinois EPA standards. "Another fatal flaw is that it goes without saying that with this type of proposal a detailed engineering breakdown of what noise abatement fixtures will be used would be given," Zak said. "And that was not done." Zak testified before the McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals concerning the conditional use permit application of Indeck to construct a $90 million electric generating facility on a 22-acre parcel north of Illinois Highway 176. Two natural gas-driven turbines would generate 300 megawatts, operating only during peak demand times between May and September. Two consultants for Indeck testified in March that noise generated by the facility would fall below Illinois EPA standards, the equivalent of 51 decibels at night and 55 decibels during the day, and would not pose a problem for nearby residents.

The article reports Zak was not so certain of potential noise impact, saying it would depend on how well the facility is designed to reduce noise. "Unless the most stringent noise controls are used, there definitely will be a jump in the amount of noise, " Zak said. "When the plant goes on-line there is a good likelihood the nearest neighbors would hear it." The Create Awareness for Responsible Planning group, which opposes the proposed plant, called Zak as a witness. The zoning board hearings are scheduled to resume on May 4.

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U.S. Offers to Negotiate with EU to Avert Hush Kit Ban

DATE: April 16, 1999
SECTION: Business, Pg. B5
DATELINE: Washington, DC

Reuters reports the United States said yesterday it had proposed a multilateral solution to prevent a retaliatory trade war over European Union plans to ban aircraft fitted with noise mufflers known as hush kits.

According to the article, Commerce Undersecretary for International Trade David Aaron said a letter offering to negotiate a deal through the International Civil Aviation Organization had been sent to the European Union. "We are proposing that we have a multilateral solution," Aaron said. While refusing to give details of the proposal , Aaron said that the goal was to achieve an agreement on noise reduction by the end of this year. Aaron said he would meet with transportation ministers of Germany, France and Britain next week as well as senior EU officials.

The article reports at the end of this month, the EU is scheduled to ban older aircraft equipped with hush kits. The decision will affect older U.S. jets built by The Boeing Co. fitted with the kits to make them meet global standards on aircraft noise. "It's interesting to note the ruling would only affect U.S. products," Aaron said. "I will continue to make clear that we continue to oppose this unilateral action." Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Commerce Secretary William Daley, U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater signed the letter. Meanwhile, Congress is moving forward with legislation to ban U.S. flights by the Concorde in retaliation to the proposed EU ban on hush kits.

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MN Lawmakers Vote to Address Airport Noise Before Building New Runway

PUBLICATION: The Associated Press
DATE: April 16, 1999
SECTION: State And Regional
BYLINE: Ashley H. Grant
DATELINE: St. Paul, Minnesota

The Associated Press reports noise and pollution issues should be addressed before any more construction happens at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, a Minnesota House panel decided.

According to the article, Rep. Mark Gleason, DFL-Richfield, sponsored the proposal that would temporarily suspend most of the airport's planned construction. It was endorsed Thursday by the House State Government Finance Committee to be included in its omnibus bill. "What I want them to do is get their priorities in order," Gleason said of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. Approximately 1,200 families in Richfield will be displaced by a runway that is being built, he said. A bill has died in the House that would have allocated $30 million to help those who live near the runway. "We have to take care of those people," Gleason said. "I think that needs to be taken care of before we build a runway."

The article reports Gleason's proposal would halt several construction, including a new runway, an expansion of three concourses, de-icing pads, runway improvements and water detention basins. The Legislature in 1996 directed the MAC to expand the existing airport instead of building a new one. "There would be significant disruption to the traveling public and the community if the projects such as the runway construction, the new parking ramp and road construction were stopped," MAC spokeswoman Wendy Burt said. She said the MAC completed a nine-year federal and state review of the expansion's effect on the environment and nearby homes. "MAC reached an agreement in December with the city of Richfield in which we committed to conduct a low-frequency noise study concurrent with the work on the new runway," she said. Gleason already filed a lawsuit against the MAC and the state Environmental Quality Board in December in hopes of forcing them to redo the environmental impact statement on the runway. That case is still pending in Hennepin County District Court and is expected to be heard before July. Unless opponents prevail, the 8,000-foot, $450 million runway along Richfield's eastern border is expected to be operating by 2003.

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US May Ban Concorde Landings in Retaliation for EU Hush Kit Restrictions

PUBLICATION: Financial Times (London)
DATE: April 16, 1999
SECTION: World Trade; Pg. 08
DATELINE: Washington, DC

The Financial Times reports the United States plans to ban landings of the Concorde airliner in the US if the European Commission restricts hush-kited aircraft in Europe.

According to the article, Senator John McCain, the chairman of the US Senate commerce and transportation committee, yesterday said there would be "a concerted and successful effort" to ban landings of the supersonic Concorde airliner in the US and possibly other retaliation if the European Commission voted on April 29 to restrict the use in Europe of aircraft fitted out with "hush kits" to reduce noise. The EU claims hush kits do not adequately reduce noise. The US disagrees, and fears any curbs will unduly affect American aircraft. McCain said in a letter to EU commissioners that implementation would have "a discriminatory and costly impact on US aviation" without reducing noise. "Adoption of this rule by the EU would effectively result in a breach of a 50-year regime of global environmental rules in aviation," he said. McCain, a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said that while he questioned banning Concorde flights as an appropriate response, his feelings were not shared by most of his colleagues. This raises the possibility of a new trade war.

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Foes Insist Airport at California's El Toro Won't be 'Quiet and Friendly'

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: April 16, 1999
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 1; Metro Desk
BYLINE: Jean O. Pasco
DATELINE: Los Angeles, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Susan Withrow, councilwoman and chairwoman of the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority; Meg Waters, a spokeswoman for ETRPA

The Los Angeles Times reports despite a flawed study, opponents of an airport at El Toro insist noise from departing aircraft would disturb 250,000 California residents.

According to the article, trying to show that jet noise would have a major impact on residents, foes of the proposed airport at El Toro released details of an engineering study Thursday, then conceded that it was an unscientific report based on an earlier telephone survey. Still, the airport opponents insisted that noise from departing aircraft would disrupt the daily lives of 250,000 South County residents around the El Toro site. The study by Robert Bein, William Frost & Associates is aimed at discrediting assurances by county planners that El Toro would be a "quiet" and "community-friendly" airport. "For the county to say that noise is not a factor at El Toro is misleading at best and deceptive at the worst," said Mission Viejo Councilwoman Susan Withrow, who chairs the anti-airport, seven-city El Toro Reuse Planning Authority that commissioned the study.

The article reports county airport planners immediately dismissed the group's study as irrelevant. They pointed out that the noise analysis was based on a departure plan revised more than a year ago and on complaints taken from a small number of residents near John Wayne Airport. "The most alarming thing is their contention that the county says there will be no noise from El Toro and that no one is going to be annoyed. I've never said that," said acoustic engineer Vince Mestre of Newport Beach, who conducts airport noise analyses for the county. "In San Francisco, they get noise complaints from 50 miles away," he said. "There is a segment of the population who will be highly annoyed no matter where they live. A zero-annoyance airport doesn't exist."

The article states previous county studies have shown that no homes or schools would be located within an area of the highest jet noise anticipated from El Toro. State law requires that soundproofing be installed in any residences and schools near airports where noise averages 65 decibels over a 24-hour period. County planners have used that information to assure South County residents that the noise impacts from El Toro would be negligible, particularly because the base is surrounded by 18,000 acres of undeveloped land. But anti-airport activists led by ETRPA insist that the high- noise zone protections mean little when considering the disruption caused by planes that are expected to land or depart on an average of every five minutes each day. Their survey asked 481 residents in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa how much they were impacted by John Wayne Airport noise. All live outside the high- noise zone. The survey found that 12.5% of the residents were upset by noise even as far as three miles away. However, 61.1% of the residents said they weren't bothered by airport noise and 26.4% said their lives were only somewhat disrupted. Using those responses, the engineering firm overlaid a similar noise-sensitivity area around El Toro. It determined that 247,000 residents lived in that area. A second part of the study calculated how many homes would be affected by loud takeoffs from large Boeing 747 and 767 jets, both of which are expected to be used at the new airport. At a sound level of 85 decibels, which is loud enough to interrupt sleep, the study found that about 2,000 homes to the north would be affected by takeoffs of 747 jets. No homes to the north were affected by 767s. Airport planners said the number of homes was based on a plan abandoned a year ago. Under that plan, planes departed to the north and then hooked west over Orange. A subsequent analysis based on Federal Aviation Administration standards found that planes could take off safely heading straight north, thus affecting fewer homes, Mestre said.

According to the article, Steven R. Bein, who worked on the study for the South County cities, said his analysis used information taken from an earlier county environmental report. It was the only information available from the county on how much noise individual aircraft would make on takeoff, said Meg Waters, a spokeswoman for ETRPA. Besides, she said, the straight-north departure path is being challenged by the Air Line Pilots Assn. as unsafe because planes have to clear Loma Ridge. "The county keeps changing its plans every two months, and when we question things, they call us liars and malcontents," Waters said. "I'd put ETRPA's record of being right against the county's record of being wrong any time." County Supervisors Todd Spitzer and Thomas W. Wilson, the anti-airport minority on the five-member county board, attended the public hearing Thursday where the South County studies were released. Both complained Thursday that they continually must play detective in dealing with El Toro issues because the pro-airport majority tries to minimize their effectiveness by failing to give them enough information.

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Compromise Proposed over Noisy Fans at Wisconsin School

PUBLICATION: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
DATE: April 16, 1999
SECTION: Ozaukee Washington Pg. 1
BYLINE: Anne Davis
DATELINE: West Bend, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports a plan that should reduce the noise from rooftop ventilating units at the high school was endorsed Thursday by the West Bend, Wisconsin, school board.

According to the article, school officials have been researching ways to reduce the noise in response to complaints from neighbors. The fans run almost non-stop to circulate air through the building. The neighbors claimed the noise interfered with their sleep and was so loud that it could be heard even when their windows were closed.

The article states during a meeting of the board's finance and facilities committees, members agreed informally to buy units that would allow the speed of the fans to be adjusted. Warren Schmidt, the district 's director of facilities and operations, said he had determined that running the fans at 55% of their full speed will eliminate the noise. Schmidt estimated the cost of units for the two other fans at about $25,000. Other solutions would be much more costly, Schmidt determined.

The article reports although this means the fans will still make noise part of the time, board members were happy with the solution. "This is going to have to be an issue that has to be compromised on," said board president Andy Gonring. "This is a good compromise." Once the units are installed, Schmidt proposes the fans would be run at full speed from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. each school day. The fan speed would be reduced after 3 p.m. on each school day as well as on weekends and during the summer.

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South Carolina County Considers Noisy Animal Ordinance

PUBLICATION: The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
DATE: April 16, 1999
BYLINE: Arlie Porter
DATELINE: Charleston, South Carolina

The Post and Courier reports the Charleston, South Carolina, County Council, is working to create a fair and enforceable noise ordinance that will give relief to neighbors annoyed by animal noise.

According to the article, a West Ashley woman was so upset by the incessant barking from her neighbor's dogs that she tape-recorded the noise from her back porch. On Thursday, she played the evidence to Charleston County Council members. She didn't have to turn up the volume. "We wake up to the dogs barking; we have dinner with the dogs barking; we do our homework with the dogs barking; and we even try to relax with the dogs barking. I now have a very clear understanding of mental torture," she said. The Council, considering a new law that would prohibit "frequent and continued noise of animals," sympathized with the woman and attempted to write a new law that could give her relief.

The article reports the Council also expressed caution, saying that penalties for violating a new law may be too severe. And as written, the proposed law is too broad, they said. If one neighbor complained about the other's dogs, a citation could cost the dog owner a $500 fine or 30 days in jail. Neighbors who simply don't like each other may use the ordinance against their neighbor, said councilman Leon Stavrinakis. Council members asked county attorneys to clarify parts of the proposed ordinance, which was prompted by the West Ashley resident's complaint. Currently, the county now a nuisance law, but it does not define nuisance, said county deputy attorney Kurt Taylor. For that reason, police are reluctant to charge anyone on complaints of barking dogs, he said. The Council will consider the proposed law again on April 29.

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Letter: Singapore Citizens Urged to Reduce Noise Pollution

PUBLICATION: The Straits Times (Singapore)
DATE: April 16, 1999
SECTION: Forum; Pg. 60
DATELINE: Singapore, Asia

The Straits Times (Singapore) published a letter from Ralph A. Lewin of California, USA, urging the citizens of Singapore to reduce noise pollution. Lewin writes:

"Nobody can dispute that Singapore streets are among the cleanest in the world, and I note that the city is doing its best to cut down on air pollution in various ways.

"But how about the various disturbing noises that seem to be inevitably associated with a developing economy: Is there little one can do about them? Is it necessary for small grass-cutting machines to make 20 times as much noise as a car?

"For less than $100 each, one can buy simple devices which measure decibel levels at 1-m and 10-m distances. Could they not be used to check on noise levels so that improvements can be made?

"Surely in Singapore, there is enough technical expertise to devise say, a quieter grass-trimmer or dish-washer. It is worth a try."

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Taos, New Mexico, Will Fight Noisy Air Force Training Flights

PUBLICATION: Albuquerque Journal
DATE: April 15, 1999
BYLINE: Kathryn Holzka
DATELINE: Taos, New Mexico
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Gus Cordova, town manager; Dave Di Cicco, county planning director

The Albuquerque Journal reports government officials and residents on Wednesday unanimously opposed a proposed low-level military flight training route across northern New Mexico.

According to the article, opposition was voiced during hearings held by the U.S. Air Force to gather public input on a draft environmental impact statement, a study showing possible effects of the flights on the area. The draft statement showed that the northern New Mexico route would have more impact on people, wildlife and the environment than two other proposed routes in southwest Texas. The Air Force is expected to choose one of the three alternatives later this year. A total of approximately 400 people attended the afternoon and evening sessions. One speaker called the proposed route "a violent assault on the community as a whole." The proposal would permit B-1 and B-52 bombers to conduct simulated low-level bombing runs within 200 feet of the ground, and to practice evasive maneuvers against simulated missile attacks.

The article reports Taos Town Manager Gus Cordova said the overflights would be devastating to the town, which depends on tourism for 80 percent of its economic base. "Our fragile tourism base can easily become fragmented through the introduction of high-speed bombers flying over the environment," he told the Air Force. "The proposal by the Air Force will not create new jobs. It will not result in any economic benefit for our region. It will not protect or enhance the fragile environment we have known all our lives." Cordova said the only thing the proposed route would achieve is the destruction of the quality of life for people, the wilderness, animals and the environment as a whole. He said the Taos County Intergovernmental Council, consisting of towns, school districts and tribal governments, had voted unanimously Wednesday morning to condemn the proposed route.

The article states every governmental agency in Taos County has spoken out against the proposed route, as have all members of New Mexico's congressional delegation. Dave Di Cicco, planning director for Taos County, said the noise pollution from low-flying bombers would not only shatter the tranquil nature of the area, but vibrations from sound waves could be physically harmful to structures and animals as well as humans. Grove Burnett, a lawyer with the Taos-based Western Environmental Law Center, said the people and governing agencies of Taos County are prepared to go to court to stop the flights if the New Mexico route is chosen. "The draft (statement) is ill-conceived, flawed and misleading," Burnett said. "All this is about nothing more than the convenience of the Air Force, which will save one hour of flying time over already existing training routes into Utah and Wyoming." Those training routes currently originate from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. A shortened route over New Mexico or Texas would save the Air Force millions of dollars in fuel costs. A second day of hearings is scheduled for Saturday.

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Neighbors Fight Proposed FedEx Hub at NC Airport, Fearing Noise and Loss of Property Values

PUBLICATION: Cox News Service
DATE: April 15, 1999
SECTION: Financial Pages
BYLINE: Chris Burritt
DATELINE: Greensboro, North Carolina
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Kinney Ford, resident; Joe Liebreri, resident and founding member of the Piedmont Quality of Life Coalition; Mark Miller, resident

Cox News Service reports a neighborhood coalition, objecting to noise and loss of property values, is threatening to block a proposed Federal Express hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina..

According to the article, less than a half-mile from the Cardinal Commons neighborhood, Federal Express plans to build its fifth national package sorting and distribution hub. The proposed $300 million hub at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, however, isn't a sure thing. It faces regulatory hurdles, and a neighborhood coalition is threatening to sue to block the project. The dispute pits mostly wealthy homeowners who fear for their sleep and property values against airport officials and others who see FedEx as an economic catalyst worth billions of dollars. The fight has opened for debate the South's pursuit for industrial development as a primary source of jobs and prosperity, even if it disrupts the lives of a few.

The article reports what's unsettling to people in fast-growing northwest Greensboro is the uncertainty about how the hub would affect them. No one knows for sure how loud the jets would be. Or how the noise might affect one neighborhood as opposed to another. Or how many homes the airport authority might buy in areas where engine noise makes living unbearable. The Federal Aviation Administration will addressing such concerns in an environmental impact study, but it's still a year or more from completion. "I've always thought of the airport as that gentle rumbling giant behind the trees," said 42-year-old Kinney Ford, an economist who writes long-range forecasting software from his Cardinal Commons home. "Now I see them as an economic terrorist holding us hostage. We are in limbo." Some residents fear the FedEx hub would be a first step in turning the airport into a 24-hour-a-day cargo hub. The airport does foresee a future hauling cargo, as its efforts to bolster passenger traffic have failed. But the airport authority's executive director, Ted Johnson, said, "We are not recruiting other cargo carriers."

The article states the dispute is the latest flashpoint in Greensboro's struggle over whether it should aspire to grow like neighboring Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham. Last year, residents in two neighboring counties defeated a referendum to impose taxes to finance construction of a stadium for Major League Baseball. It sent a clear signal that voters are wary of projects that appear driven by the city without grass-roots support. That attitude has surfaced in the FedEx debate. And it concerns some who believe Greensboro can't afford to reject another major project. "I can feel for the people who live near the airport, but from the Triad's perspective, we need a trophy like this," said Gary Shoesmith, an economist at Wake Forest University. "We need more FedExes, not fewer." The Triad region comprised of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem is at the center of the state's textile, furniture and tobacco industries. All are mature sectors with shrinking employment. Even though it reports low unemployment, the Triad has been less successful than Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill and Charlotte in diversifying its blue-collar work force. However, a FedEx hub alone would do little to diversify the work force. The project would eventually create 1,500 mostly blue-collar jobs, paying an average of $8 to $10 an hour. But economic boosters foresee the hub attracting medical testing labs, computer repair shops and technology companies that want late-night access to FedEx's global delivery network. FedEx would boost the Triad's economy by $2.4 billion over 15 years, according to UNC-Greensboro economist Don Jud's analysis for the Greensboro Area Chamber of Commerce. That includes more than 3,100 construction-related jobs and nearly 2,000 new jobs providing supplies and services to the hub once it is built. The project would entail relocating roads and building a highway tunnel, a bridge, and a 9,000-foot runway for FedEx jets. At present, two FedEx jets fly in and out of Greensboro's airport every night. The company insists it needs a pair of parallel runways for its hub to expedite departures of its jets traveling between the Southeast and the Northeast. The hub also would serve as a regional sorting and distribution center.

According to the article, to the dismay of residents, the additional runway would end a half-mile from Cardinal Commons. It would end three-fourths of a mile from another larger subdivision, Edinburgh. The FedEx hub would operate primarily at night. The number of cargo jets would start at 20 and climb to 63. Flights would arrive close to midnight for unloading. Then workers would load cargo for outgoing flights, departing around 4 a.m. "I joked that we may as well be dairy farmers because we are going to be getting up," said Gil Happel, a US Airways pilot and nearby resident.

The article reports opponents accuse the airport authority of negotiating in virtual secrecy to recruit FedEx. It was widely known Greensboro was in the running for the project. But few details, including plans for the additional runway, had been discussed publicly. "In a civilized world, when you move into a neighborhood, you assume that your neighbor is not going to mow their grass at 2 o'clock in the morning," said Joe Liebreri, a Cardinal resident and founding member of the Piedmont Quality of Life Coalition, which opposes the FedEx project. Now residents are threatening to sue over the millions of dollars in state and local incentives pledged to FedEx. Officials sealed the deal with a package of financial incentives initially valued at $142.3 million over 20 years. A more recent state analysis lowered the total to $79.8 million. "The cargo facility is incompatible with this residential area," said Mark Miller, who lives in the Edinburgh subdivision. "For health reasons and financial reasons, it does not belong here." An associate professor at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Miller acts as an informal scientific consultant to the coalition. Miller is typical of the relative newcomers to the subdivisions around the Cardinal, a private golf course community created in the early 1970s. Back then, airport officials objected to the development, apparently foreseeing discord between residential sprawl and the expanding regional airport. Miller and his family moved to northwest Greensboro in 1996 and bought their present home in December 1997, four months before FedEx announced plans for its Greensboro hub. Aware of their proximity to the airport, they nonetheless moved to Edinburgh because of the quality of the schools and the friendliness of the neighborhood. "We decided we could put up with the day noise from the airport," Miller said. But like many others, he never imagined a project as big as FedEx, even though the airport's long-range plan showed a third runway.

The article goes on to say Realtors report houses in affluent neighborhoods surrounding the Cardinal country club that typically sell in 30 to 90 days now take six months or longer. In some cases, homeowners took sizable losses when their property finally sold. Some people who tried to sell their homes have given up. They are holding out hope FedEx might decide not to build the hub after all. The coalition said it has collected more than 4,600 signatures from people across Guilford County who oppose the FedEx hub. Yet not all residents near the airport oppose the project. Some who live closest to the proposed hub hope it is built because they feel certain they'll be bought out by the airport authority. Some who oppose construction of a third runway aren't necessarily against the hub itself.

The article reports airport officials admit that the hub will generate noise, but that steps will be taken to minimize it. "Right now they are freaking out for no reason at all," said Charlie McCoy, a manager at FedEx's airport operation. He insists the proposed hub would be quieter than residents fear. The airport authority's Johnson rejected the coalition's claim that more than 4,000 homes, valued at $634 million, could be affected by jet noise and thus eligible for some form of mitigation. Johnson estimated the authority expects "around 100" homes will be eligible for buyouts. "Very few would be in the Cardinal," Johnson said. He explained that 90 to 95 percent of FedEx's jets would arrive and depart at the ends of the two runways opposite the Cardinal neighborhoods.

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Conn. Residents Say NIMBY to Heliport and Noise; Planning Commission Gets Final Say

PUBLICATION: The Hartford Courant
DATE: April 15, 1999
SECTION: Town News; Pg. B3
BYLINE: Donna Moxley
DATELINE: Salem, Connecticut
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Shelby Santangelo, resident; Charles Dye, resident

The Hartford Courant reports Salem, Connecticut, residents said Wednesday they fear a heliport proposed for their neighborhood will bring noise and safety concerns.

According to the article, residents were speaking at a public hearing about Thomas Thill's application to the state Department of Transportation and the local planning and zoning commission to build a private heliport on his 30-acre lot on Beckwith Hill Road. Thill hopes to build the heliport in about six months, buy a two-seat helicopter, and begin using the site in two to three years for recreation, he said. There was no ruling Wednesday night on Thill's application. The zoning board has scheduled a second hearing April 27.

The article reports neighbors are worried that a helicopter will pose a nuisance or safety hazard to the subdivision. "My family and I would like to keep our community as peaceful as it is," said resident Shelby Santangelo, adding that the helicopter would be a threat to quiet and wildlife in the area. Thill said the amount of noise generated in take-offs and landings, in the two minutes it would take for either procedure, would range from the equivalent of normal conversation to the sound of a washing machine. The helicopter he is considering buying, he said, is much smaller and quieter than most of the aircraft people hear now. Neighbor Charles Dye, though, said there was a more serious issue at hand. "It boils down to safety, Mr. Thill," said Dye. "You're an inexperienced pilot by your own admission, flying over the most heavily populated area of town." Thill has been flying airplanes for 15 years, but has just started training as a helicopter pilot.

The article states even if the DOT or the local planning and zoning commission do not place restrictions on where Thill can fly, he said he plans to restrict his low-altitude flying to the area over an unpopulated area during take-offs and landings out of respect for his neighbors. "So they don't come and lynch me," he said, "all take-offs and landings will be over Route 11." The heliport, which has been approved for siting by the DOT, still needs approval by the planning and zoning commission before it can be built.

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NC Town Amends Noise Ordinance, Debates Purchase of Noise Meters

PUBLICATION: Morning Star (Wilmington, NC)
DATE: April 15, 1999
SECTION: Local/State; Pg. 2B
BYLINE: Bettie Fennell
DATELINE: Carolina Beach, North Carolina

The Morning Star (Wilmington, NC) reports the Carolina Beach, North Carolina, town council took steps Tuesday night to eliminate disparities in its noise ordinance.

According to the article, at issue Tuesday was how town noise rules treat bars with live bands and those with jukeboxes. The noise debate began because bars with jukeboxes were required to keep their windows and doors closed to keep the music from annoying people, Councilman Joel Macon said Tuesday night. That was unfair he said, because bars could have live bands playing outside on decks. Noise rules also became an issue when a musical group playing at the gazebo at the end of the Boardwalk drew a complaint from someone who lived four blocks away, said another town official.

The article states the council debated setting a decibel limit for noise and having police use meters to monitor it. Macon said using decibel meters would be more accurate and less subjective than a police officer's opinion about whether noise is excessive and deserves a citation. Judges might be more likely to uphold citations issued by the police if decibel meters are used to show how much noise was made by violators, he said. The council, however, backed away from using meters, partly because the town doesn't have the money to buy them. Councilman Pat Efird said the town needs to spend the money on other projects. Planning and Zoning Commission member Charlie Grissom questioned whether the police receive enough noise complaints, or have enough citations overturned in court, to justify buying decibel meters.

According to the article, the ordinance adopted by the council Tuesday night primarily clarifies wording so it can be understood by laymen, said town planner Jeff Harris. The amendment also increases the fine for violations from $50 to $500. And it now allows construction activity from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; the rule previously allowed construction only from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. The council also amended an ordinance to allow bars and taverns to open doors and windows. The businesses, however, are still subject to the town's prohibition on excessive noise, Harris said. The council said it would review its decision later to determine if the noise ordinance works or if the town should adopt an ordinance that requires decibel meters. Councilmen instructed Chief Dunford to keep records on noise complaints and how cases fared in court.

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NY State Reps Work to Maintain Flight Restrictions at JFK and LaGuardia

PUBLICATION: Newsday (New York, NY)
DATE: April 15, 1999
SECTION: News; Page A63
BYLINE: Ellen Yan
DATELINE: Washington, DC

Newsday reports four members of the state's congressional delegation met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater yesterday to argue against lifting restrictions on the number of flights at New York City's two airports.

According to the article, in the meeting, organized by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Elmhurst), the delegation, carrying petitions with 1,600 signatures from their constituents, asked Slater to go to New York to hear residents concerns, to reject any lifting of restrictions and to speed up plans requiring aircraft to have quieter engines. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Far Rockaway) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Jamaica Estates) also attended. Meeks called the meeting a "baby step" in resolving the issue, but downstate New Yorkers may be fighting a losing battle against noise. "Every one of those flights that might bring economic activity could bring heartache and bring aggravation to those who live underneath that flight," Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) said after the meeting.

The article reports the Clinton administration and key congressional members in both parties have proposed lifting flight limits in reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration this year. JFK, LaGuardia, Chicago's O'Hare and Reagan National Airport in Washington are the only four airports in the nation with limits on takeoff or landing slots. The administration's bill calls for a five-year phaseout on limits, while the Republican bill would eliminate restrictions next March. Both plans are aimed at fostering competition and especially helping places like upstate New York, which have higher airfares and are pleading for more service. "We want to do it in a way that respects the importance of these airports," Slater said. "Let's face it. They are significant economic muscles, but they have to coexist in communities where their workers live."

The article goes on to say the congressional members, realizing they are outnumbered, believe slot restrictions will be lifted at least partially. Trying to soften the impact, Meeks has proposed a 10-year phaseout that would start in 2010. That would allow the FAA enough time to finish redesigning flight routes over New York and New Jersey, a task now under way to lessen air traffic over residential neighborhoods and implement the new routes. Crowley, who said aircraft noise was the top quality-of-life issue for his constituents, left the meeting with some hope of a compromise from Slater.

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Calif. Town Upholds Dog-Friendly Parks but says Pet Owners Need to Resolve Noise Complaints

PUBLICATION: The San Diego Union-Tribune
DATE: April 15, 1999
SECTION: Local Pg. B-3
BYLINE: Dwight Daniels
DATELINE: Encinitas, California

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the Encinitas, California, City Council last night upheld the status quo at a "dog-friendly" park despite noise complaints from neighbors. Pet owners, however, were reminded to take responsibility in solving noise complaints from park neighbors.

According to the article, Orpheus Park in Leucadia is one of only two local parks that lawmakers have declared "dog-friendly" - off-leash play areas are available to canines during limited hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. However, dogs and their owners who visit the park during early mornings have irritated several homeowners who complained last night that dogs barking have repeatedly awakened them as early as 6 a.m. The hours when dogs can run free are 6 to 7:30 a.m., and 4 to 6 p.m. The city's Community Services Department sent San Diego County Animal Control officials repeatedly to Orpheus Park to confirm the noise, but inspectors came back saying they heard nothing out of the ordinary. One homeowner, however, questioned that, saying the barking takes place regularly. He said a pending house sale in the area was called off at the last moment when the prospective buyer heard the dogs creating a racket. "I'm concerned about property values," said a woman who lives adjacent to the park, complaining that she too has had her sleep disturbed. "I paid a very goodly sum for my unit." She asked for the council to limit the dog-park use to afternoons only.

The article reports a number of dog owners, including Gail Hano, a former city mayor, came to the defense of their pets. "It's worked so well," said Hano who led the movement in 1994 and 1995 to get the parks declared "off-leash" areas. She said that dog owners do an excellent job of policing the canines, and that "it would be a shame to change something because of nine form letters (from homeowners)." Hano's views were echoed by several other speakers who said the dogs generally behave well. Area resident Larry Anderson said he'd be glad to mediate disputes over the noise, having already done so in the past when dogs disturbed his peace. "We worked it out. I didn't call the sheriff," he said.

The article states the vote to uphold the current policy for dogs was unanimous, with even Councilman James Bond calling the complaints he'd heard minimal. Bond years ago opposed opening the parks up for dogs, citing concerns over liability. Mayor Sheila Cameron reminded dog owners not "to shut out people with a different view," and to quickly resolve issues. "It's up to you," she told pet lovers after votes were cast.

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Bill Passes Louisiana House, Protects Churches from Outside Noise

PUBLICATION: The Times-Picayune
DATE: April 15, 1999
SECTION: National; Pg. A6
BYLINE: Ed Anderson
DATELINE: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Kirby Ducote, lobbyist for the Louisiana Catholic Conference

The Times-Picayune reports a Louisiana State House committee approved a bill Wednesday that would make it a crime to blast music or other noise within 200 feet of a church, hospital or courthouse.

According to the article, the Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice gave unanimous support to House Bill 1859 by Rep. Jackie Clarkson, D-Algiers, who promised to tighten language in the measure to make it more specific. "This can be challenged on vagueness even before someone commits the first offense," said committee Vice Chairwoman Rep. Audrey McCain, D-Plaquemine. "These are ocean words. They are wide."

The article reports Clarkson said the bill addresses on a state level what New Orleans has been prevented from doing on the local level: setting a reasonable noise level or distance from a noise source. The bill would outlaw playing music and using loudspeakers or other sound-amplification devices in public places in a way that disturbs anyone in a house of worship, hospital or courthouse when in session within 200 feet. The bill sets a mandatory fine of $100 for the first offense, $250 to $500 for the second offense, and $300 to $500 and a possible 30 days in jail for the third offense. "You can be in the (St. Louis) Cathedral for services at 5:30 or 6 o'clock on a Saturday evening and not even hear the priest" because of street noise outside, Clarkson said. "It is very disconcerting to hear 'Bourbon Street Parade' at the consecration, the most solemn point in the Mass, or 'St. James Infirmary' when they are going to Communion," said Kirby Ducote, a lobbyist for the Louisiana Catholic Conference, the coalition of the state's seven Catholic bishops who are promoting the bill. Sen. Paulette Irons, D-New Orleans, has a similar bill pending in the Senate Judiciary C Committee.

The article states not all panel members agreed with the suggested fines set for violation of the noise bill. Committee member Rep. Tony Perkins, R-Baker, said jailing people for playing loud music is a bit harsh. "We don't have room for the criminals in jail now," he said.

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Ohio Town Protests Airport Expansion, Citing Noise and Decreased Property Values

PUBLICATION: The Cincinnati Enquirer
DATE: April 14, 1999
SECTION: Metro, Pg. B01
BYLINE: David Eck
DATELINE: Lebanon, Ohio
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Melinda Fox, resident; Harley Shook, resident

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports neighbors opposed to the expansion of the Warren County Airport in Lebanon, Ohio, presented town officials with a petition Monday asking for several restrictions.

According to the article, as the Warren County Airport shifts from a rural airfield to a growing commercial venture, neighbors are voicing concerns about increased air traffic and noise. On Monday, they presented a petition to Turtlecreek Township trustees asking to restrict further expansion of the airport on Greentree Road. The petition was signed by 21 people who live near the airport. "The planes are getting bigger. And I know at all hours of the night, they are going in and out," said Melinda Fox, who has lived near the airport for 45 years. "It's every night. They fly over our farm."

The article reports within the past 18 months, the five owners of the airport have spent $1.5 million upgrading the field's facilities and services. On the 270 acres, they have built hangars, added a 24-hour automated fuel system, new signs and pavement. The terminal has been remodeled. Work on a 15,000-square-foot, $1.5 million new terminal and corporate hangar is to begin this spring, and a restaurant may open in an old farmhouse on the property. About 60 planes are based at the airport, including five jets. Corporate air traffic increased 40 percent last year, said Brian Carr, airport manager and one of its owners.

The article states in their petition, neighbors say the airport has grown too quickly and is affecting their daily lives. The group opposes any plans for alcohol being made available. They want to have prior approval of future plans. And they want the original house and all outbuildings to be registered as historical landmarks. "I feel very strongly that this is not the proper location for an air park facility or commercial endeavor,"' said Harley Shook, who has lived near the airport for about 10 years. "When it was a single-runway, private airstrip catering primarily to hobbyists, that was one thing. But to put a commercial airport in there is a whole other story." He said roads in the area cannot handle the traffic of a busy airport; pollution and noise are problems; and there is no sewer to serve a commercial facility. "The number of planes coming in extra low has been a problem," Shook said. "And as the number of planes increase, it can only get worse."

According to the article, residents also fear a busier airport would hurt their property values. But county officials said the field is being run within zoning requirements. "It's a legitimate use," said Bob Ware, a regional planner for Warren County. Carr said the airport is another sign of Warren County's boom, making it the second-fastest-growing of Ohio's 88 counties. "Everything's growing, and we have to keep up with the county," Carr said. "All we've done is clean up the facility. Our goal now is to bring deteriorating buildings up to standard." The airport wants to work with its neighbors, Carr said. "I would like to invite any of them out to the airport. We're all neighbors. It will be a first-class general aviation airport." But with airports all over Greater Cincinnati, there are already too many planes in the area, Shook said. "Do we need an air park in every suburb?" he asked. "I don't believe we do. It used to be a small country airport. It's come a long way from that."

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FedEx Expansion at NC Piedmont Airport will Damage Quality of Life

PUBLICATION: News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
DATE: April 14, 1999
SECTION: Editorial, Pg. A11
BYLINE: Jean Black
DATELINE: Guilford County, North Carolina

News & Record (Greensboro, NC) published an editorial written in response to a defender of a proposed expansion of North Carolina's Piedmont Triad Airport to accommodate a Federal Express hub. The author, Joan Black, contends FedEx at the airport doesn't mean progress but rather a lower quality of life for residents of Guilford County.

The editorial begins: "This is in reply to Robert T. Braswell, chief executive officer of Carolina Bank, who defended the proposal to expand the airport to accommodate Federal Express ('Do we want to live in Mayberry or do we want to move on to progress?' March 14)." A counterpoint is made to Braswell's argument that that the Preston Woods Country Club neighborhood in Cary, despite its being in the flight pattern of Raleigh-Durham Airport, has had increased sales; and that Guilford County has communities that have posted increased sales of new and existing homes although they are located in the flight pattern of Piedmont Triad International Airport. Ms. Black points out that the town councils of Cary and Morrisville passed resolutions opposing the location of the FedEx cargo hub at Raleigh-Durham Airport because of concerns about noise and truck traffic. She says the Raleigh-Durham Airport even held a public hearing about the proposed FedEx hub on February 11, 1998.

The editorial asks, "Where was our public hearing?" Ms. Black suggests the residents of Guilford County were kept in the dark until after the decision was made. Furthermore, Raleigh-Durham Airport, also, has a three-mile, nonresidential area at each end of its runways. The proposed third runway at PTI Airport would end just half a mile from residential areas. "What Cary didn't want and what many citizens in Guilford County do not want is a cargo hub that would bring night-flying cargo planes with an intense concentration of noise in the wee hours of the morning. Those who have experienced such airplane noise say that you can forget about sleeping! Noise from night-flying cargo planes can be twice as loud as noise from commercial planes flying during the day." The editorial goes on to point out that several major airports have a nighttime curfew, including urban airports like Piedmont Triad International. But, "[O]nce a night air-cargo operation comes to an airport, it's almost impossible to get a curfew because their business is night flying." The editorial suggests if the proposed FedEx cargo hub comes to PTI Airport, Guilford County could lose that "wonderful appeal it has always had as a place to live, raise a family and as a place to retire."

The editorial concludes, "The proposed cargo hub with the proposed third runway will negatively impact Guilford County much more than the other 11 counties in the surrounding region that have been asked 'to promote the hub to federal officials' by the Piedmont Triad Partnership. It is Guilford County that will be sacrificing the quality of life for tens of thousands of its tax-paying citizens and that will be decreasing its property tax revenue as thousands of homes will either be destroyed or will depreciate in value."

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Hull, Mass. Voices Grievances to Massport about Logan Air Traffic and Noise

PUBLICATION: The Patriot Ledger
DATE: April 14, 1999
SECTION: News; Pg. 13S
BYLINE: Molly Hochkeppel
DATELINE: Hull, Massachusetts
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Carl Katzeff, town selectman; Philip Lemnios, town manager; William McLearn, town selectman

The Patriot Ledger reports town officials from Hull, Massachusetts, last night did not accept Massport's rationalization for an additional runway at Boston's Logan Airport. Instead, they voiced a list of airport-related grievances.

According to the article, Massport officials attended last night's selectmen's meeting to justify building an additional 5,000-foot runway at Logan Airport in Boston, but the board didn't buy the argument. "The community does not understand how the addition of a runway will be anything but bad for it," Selectman Carl Katzeff said. Katzeff, Town Manager Philip Lemnios and others claim that too many planes are flying too low over Hull and well outside designated flight paths. They believe that alternatives identified by Massport for dealing with the growth in air traffic should be tried before building a new runway.

The article reports Massport spokeswoman Betty Derosia said the runway would reduce delays at Logan, which she called "the sixth-most delay-prone airport in the country." She said the runway will serve only small jet and non-jet aircraft for regional carriers, and that it would take the pressure off the existing runways when demand is high. The east-west layout of the runway would give air traffic controllers an alternative during difficult wind conditions. Derosia also said the layout would also help equalize the distribution of noise over surrounding communities. Derosia said that reconfiguring the runway traffic would result in about 19,000 fewer departures per year over the tip of Hull, but it would increase the number of arrivals over Hull by about 26,000. When Lemnios charged that Massport has done nothing to cap operations at Logan, Derosia replied that it is illegal to impose caps on airports. "Laws can be changed," Lemnios retorted.

The article states that Lemnios went on to ask, "Why can't you try diverting to other airports and high-speed rail before impacting 1.7 million people?" referring to the citizens of 17 communities near the East Boston airport and those farther out, such as Hingham and Cohasset. Derosia had said that as part of a general aviation plan for the area, the Federal Aviation Administration has invested more than $600 million in the T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island, the Manchester (NH) Airport and the Worcester Airport. Those airports and high-speed rail could reduce the burden on Logan by nearly 5 million passengers a year, she estimated. But Derosia said that the new runway would still be necessary to deal with wind-related problems and other delays.

The article states that Derosia addressed allegations that pilots are ignoring designated flight paths and coming in "low enough that I can read the numbers," according to Katzeff. Derosia said that flight tracks are only beginning to be monitored effectively. "We are now doing it on a complaint basis, but we want to be more proactive," she said. Selectman William McLearn gave an example of the problem when he counted 28 noisy flights over town hall during the course of the discussion. Town hall is not below a designated flight path.

According to the article, when Derosia said that Hull was not included in an environmental noise study because average noise levels were too low, Katseff suggested that a 10-day noise study done in Hull in 1996 was probably flawed. "Your own people admitted that the monitor in my back yard was faulty from day one," he said. "I don't know if we're at 65 decibels, but I do know the windows and walls in my house rattle and it wakes up my 5-year-old." Katzeff also criticized the quality of Massport's complaint line and the attitude of its engineers, whom he has encountered at public hearings. "The people there deserve more respect than your paid consultants are giving them," he said. Derosia said that this kind of discussion was a valid part of the environmental review process that the runway project is now undergoing. "We listen and the environmental agencies listen," she said.

The article reports Lemnios reminded residents that the public comment period for the environmental review ends April 22. Comments should be sent to Secretary of Environmental Affairs, Attention MEPA Office, Arthur Pugsley-EOEA 10458, 100 Cambridge St., 20th Floor, Boston, MA 02205.

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Florida Residents Petition against Expansion of Noisy Sawgrass Expressway

PUBLICATION: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
DATE: April 14, 1999
SECTION: Community Close-Up, Pg. 32
BYLINE: Jenn Snyder
DATELINE: Tamarac, Florida

The Sun-Sentinel reports residents of one community have petitioned the Florida DOT against expansion of what they say is highway that's already too noisy.

According to the article, from Ed Karpf's living room, traffic on the Sawgrass Expressway is a dull hum. But open his windows after 5 p.m., and that hum turns to a roar of semi-tractors, cars and motorcycles driving past his condo at 70 miles per hour. "When we're out on our porch, my wife and I have to yell at each other to be heard," Karpf said. "Certainly, the noise is unbearable now." A plan to expand the highway to six lanes past several condominiums and housing developments has some residents angry. Karpf organized a petition that was signed by about 350 people in his Kings Point condominium. He presented the petition at a Feb. 16 meeting sponsored by Florida's Turnpike, which is responsible for the expressway.

The article reports Mike Washburn, a spokesman for the turnpike, said the expressway is currently undergoing an environmental study, the first part of the project. Before beginning the expansion, the Florida Department of Transportation wants to gather information about how an increase in traffic will affect residents, including the noise level. "This is exactly the right time for people to come to us with their concerns," Washburn said. "There are all kinds of formulas used to determine (the noise level)," Washburn said. "We look at the types of vehicles, the distance to the homes, the way the homes are set up, the level of the highway compared to the houses."

The article states the area being considered for expansion is an eight-mile stretch between Sunrise and Atlantic boulevards. Currently, the Sawgrass has a traffic load of about 38,000 cars each day. By the time the $11 million expansion is completed in 2004, the traffic is expected to increase to about 48,000 cars each day. By comparison, Interstate 95 along the same stretch has an average of about 244,000 cars every day, according to 1997 Department of Transportation numbers.

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English Court of Appeals Upholds EPA Noise Nuisance Notice Regarding Barking Dogs

PUBLICATION: Times Newspapers Limited
DATE: April 14, 1999
SECTION: Features
DATELINE: Colchester, England

The Times Newspapers Limited reports a Court of Appeal on March 3 in Colchester, England, upheld the serving of a noise nuisance notice established by the 1990 Environmental Protection Act.

According to the article, a local authority was entitled under section 80(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to serve a notice requiring the offender to abate the nuisance created by barking dogs without specifying the manner of abatement or the level of barking either which constituted the nuisance or which would be acceptable. The Court of Appeal so held, dismissing the appeal of David Budd against an abatement notice served on him by Colchester Borough Council on March 31, 1994. Gregory Stone, QC and Jonathan Tod represented Budd; David Holborn argued for the council.

The article reports Lord Justice Swinton Thomas said that the notice identified the nuisance as "dog barking" and required him to abate the nuisance within 21 days. Budd kept six greyhounds. There were many complaints from the neighbors about the dogs barking, particularly in the early hours of the morning. Section 80(1) of the 1990 Act provided the local authority with a choice. The local authority was required to serve a notice "imposing all or any of the following requirements," primarily "requiring the abatement of the nuisance" or "requiring other steps as may be necessary." Depending on the circumstances, it was local authority's decision to choose which course when serving the notice.

The article states it was deemed by the Court appropriate the course the council took in this case. There were many ways in which Budd might abate the nuisance to his neighbors. The most extreme would be to get rid of all six greyhounds. A reduction in the number of dogs might abate the nuisance. Insulation of part of the house might be sufficient. Or it might be possible to send the dogs to an animal training center to cure the problem. However, it might well not be reasonable for the local authority to require Budd to take that course. It was sufficient for the local authority to require Budd himself to abate the nuisance in a manner which was the least inconvenient or expensive and the most acceptable to him. Nor was it necessary for the local authority to state the level of barking which constituted the nuisance, or the level of barking which would be acceptable. Indeed, it would be impracticable for the local authority to do so. Lord Justice Auld and Lord Justice Thorpe agreed.

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Editorial: Race Track in Haywood, NC, will Mean Noise and Turmoil for Residents

PUBLICATION: Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC)
DATE: April 12, 1999
SECTION: Editorial; Pg. A5
BYLINE: Peggy M. Setzer
DATELINE: Asheville, North Carolina

The Asheville Citizen-Times published a rebuttal of Vesta Neale's guest column on Friday, March 26, advocating for a race track in Haywood County, North Carolina. Resident Peggy M. Setzer writes:

"Just what we need! Another person outside of Haywood County telling us how nice the race track is going to be for us. Bull, Bologney!, and whatever else you want to say! Let's get this straight, if you ladies and gentlemen, and I use the term loosely, think this is so great, why did you let it slip out of Buncombe County? Why weren't you fighting with your County Commissioners to keep this economic boom in Buncombe County or even Henderson County for that matter? You knew for over a year the business was for sale and let it slip right out of your fingers. I find all your big talk of great prosperity and economic boom difficult to swallow. As a property owner near the proposed site, why must I and my neighbors have to bear the blunt discrimination of this so-called economic boom?

"Everyone seems blinded to the fact that this is Amboy Road racing moving to east Haywood County. What you see is what you get! It is not the big time racing and big time money, drivers, and race fans you see on TV. It is your typical backyard part-time race driver and fans. Five to eight part-time minimum wages jobs are not going to generate the millions of dollars promised. What we will get is what is on Amboy Road. Just what our neighborhood and economy needs!

"OK now let's look at some more facts. We are opposed to the site selection for the obvious reasons - noise, traffic on an already heavily congested three-lane road, spillage of oil, antifreeze, and other seepage into Hominy Creek, which incidentally was at one time considered an Asheville watershed, the environmental pollution of motorized vehicles on an already endangered atmosphere of WNC, and the destruction of terrain to accommodate all the racing fans who are interested only in attending once in a while when the notion strikes them.

"Our daily lives will never be the same. We have spent over 40 years of our lives building our homes and family ties and developed a sense of pride in this, our quiet community. We have based our homes and lives centered around our church, our family, and our friends. There are a number of elderly people in our community who will be adversely affected by the noise from the complex.

"Common sense tells us this facility will operate more than one night a week with practice runs another night. We were not born yesterday! To invest this type of money means there will be other activities on the property. The proposed expansions we have heard are loud, noisy motorized vehicle-operated ventures. We shall be hearing whatever transpires on the property, night or day, seven days a week, if the owner so desires. I've come to the conclusion that race fans are only interested in themselves and having fun, otherwise they could and would stop and think, well maybe those 400-plus residents have a good argument after all.

"We are the ones whose property values are going to go down, we are the ones who will be unable to sell our homes, we are the ones who will be forced to endure every day and night so you can come to the races and have a night or day of fun. Great economic boom or turmoil for residents affected?

"I wonder why all the ones whose lives are not going to be adversely affected are so anxious to push, shove, force this business down our throats with complete disregard for our feelings? Why don't you get your family, friends and neighbors together and request this business into your neighborhood? We don't want it in ours, you can have it.

"I'm thankful we have two County Commissioners who stood by their convictions and did not bend to the pressure of the "racing community" to lift the moratorium. All we wanted was time to study the economic issue and current noise ordinance. I think it will be interesting to see what the economic study still in progress will reveal. Perhaps that will have some bearing on the proposed noise ordinance change our County Commissioners are considering.

"Mrs. Neale, you wrote like you have personally been in 'the bowl' area of the Westmoreland property. What will happen when all the trees, knolls and hills, natural sound barriers, are removed and replaced with noise reflecting asphalt, buildings, and bleachers? What keeps the sound from traveling up and out of "the bowl" and down on our homes near the site? Does Mr. Huffman say 'Oops! Sorry, I thought the noise would all be contained in the bowl?' Just like a person losing his/her virginity, it can not be undone.

"For your information, there are 17 churches in the affected area that Mr. Huffman has said would have a 'negative impact.' Besides the numerous homes and affected families, there are 12 churches, two funeral homes, two schools, a large nursing home, a public library, and low income housing for the elderly all within a two-mile radius. Oh, yes, a part of Buncombe County is in this 2-mile radius also. Who will the Buncombe County residents complain to? See you just thought you have gotten rid of this business.

"Haywood County needs industry, not five to eight part-time minimum wage jobs. We are all aware of the possible Champion buyout by the employees. The wage decrease will amount to an average of $6,000 per year, multiply by 1,500 employees. Will Haywood County race fans be as willing to support this type of entertainment? Choose between groceries and entertainment?

"Buncombe and Henderson Counties, rethink your loss. You have over 400 backers waiting for you to speak up."

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Texas Town Fines Low-Flying Plane; FAA Says Cities Don't Control Airspace

PUBLICATION: Austin American-Statesman
DATE: April 12, 1999
SECTION: Metro/State; Pg. B2
DATELINE: Fairview, Texas

The Austin American-Statesman reports in its latest attempt to control noise from the Addison Airport, the town of Fairview, Texas, recently fine a pilot for violating the town's noise ordinance by flying too low.

According to the article, so far, one single-engine plane owner has been ticketed by the North Texas community of Fairview in central Collin County. "It was time to start enforcing our ordinance," Mayor Don Phillips said. "I'm going to file more." The Feb. 17 filing against Jeffrey Cole was Fairview's first use of a 4-year-old ordinance that says aircraft other than helicopters must stay above 1,500 feet as they fly over the town. Cole wasn't flying the single-engine Skyhawk 172 he leases to the American Flyers pilot-training school at Addison Airport. Cole, a Carrollton resident, couldn't be reached for comment, and American Flyers employees declined to discuss the situation. The town also charged Cole with creating a noise nuisance. He faces up to $2,500 in fines, and a trial is scheduled for May 10.

The article reports Fairview has no grounds to ticket pilots and no authority over aviation, said John Clabes, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. "We control airspace. Cities don't control airspace," he told The Dallas Morning News. "They have no jurisdiction in that area." Phillips said: "I'm sorry, I don't buy that. The FAA tells me we don't have any problem with noise." Clabes said the FAA won't investigate Fairview's complaints: "We're satisfied that the planes are in compliance."

The article states the ticket is the latest action in Fairview's battle with neighboring McKinney over traffic at McKinney's airport. Planes sometimes fly over homes about two miles south of the runway. And for years the engine noise has annoyed some residents in Fairview, a town of about 3,000 people. Fairview officials, who fear another Dallas Love Field in their midst, have tried to stop expansion of the airport and keep pressing McKinney to reroute planes around the town.

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Foes of Third Runway at Boston's Logan Airport Question Environmental Justice of Project

PUBLICATION: The Boston Globe
DATE: April 12, 1999
SECTION: Metro/Region; Pg. A1
BYLINE: Stephanie Ebbert, Tatsha Robertson and Matthew Brelis
DATELINE: Boston, Massachusetts
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Robert L. Driscoll Sr., resident; J. Joseph Moakley, U.S. Representative (D),South Boston; Steve Hollinger, member of the Seaport Alliance for Neighborhood Design; Anastasia Lyman, resident; Mary Davis. Resident; Richard and Catherine Goldhammer, residents

The Boston Globe reports opponents of a third runway at Boston's Logan Airport are wielding a new argument these days: environmental injustice.

According to the article, with the project's environmental review underway, Massport is working to persuade the region's residents that it will be good for them because it will be good for the economy. Massport executive director Peter Blute, backed by Governor Paul Cellucci, argues that the economy relies on efficient transportation. A new runway would eliminate 22 percent of delays due to severe wind conditions, Massport says, plus better absorb an increase in air travel that will come whether or not another runway is built. But opponents don't accept theses arguments. They fear the runway is a Massport ploy to further a campaign of manifest destiny. The collective angst that Greater Boston's quality of life will be diminished to accommodate those flying overhead is fueling a new argument: That the runway plan leans too heavily on poor and minority neighborhoods without considering the impact. US Representative J. Joseph Moakley, the South Boston Democrat, has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to deny the proposal, arguing it disproportionately hurts low-income and minority populations in violation of a 1994 federal Order on Environmental Justice. "You can't just keep accommodating the whims of business," said Moakley, who defended the rights of "the people who live in the city, who were born in the city, and who will probably die in the city. We have to protect the people who live here," he said.

The article reports when Chelsea City Councilor Preston G. Galarneau Jr. compared demographic data and Logan logistics, he discovered that the most densely packed, poorest sections of his already underprivileged city would be hardest-hit by Massport's plans, which would send almost four times the current number of flights overhead. Galarneau raised the issue of environmental injustice - unfairly burdening poor and minority communities with the negative side effects of a project - and persuaded Moakley to lead the charge. Now, some opponents believe they have a case that Massport has failed to consider the full effect of Logan-generated noise and pollution on surrounding communities. The question is how closely the FAA will adhere to the federal order that dictates such consideration be taken - and whether a civil-rights suit could successfully block 14/32 on that basis.

The article states in its environmental impact report, Massport classified as "impacted" only neighborhoods that fall into the FAA's highest noise category: at least an average 65 decibels. Only a few of the region's neighborhoods place in that category, and only 14 to 18 percent of them are low-income or minority, according to Massport's report. But many opponents say the FAA's 65-decibel standard isn't practical. That's because the noise is averaged over the course of a year, including entire hours or days when no planes fly overhead, and underestimates the inconvenience of intermittent roaring jets. They say that Massport failed to calculate the noise impact on other neighborhoods that fall outside the 65-decibel standard, and the demographics of those areas. When Galarneau asked for a noise monitor on his own roof last fall, Massport did a 16-day measurement and found average hourly measurements reached 70 decibels. Individual flights logged between 90 and 100 decibels. Two years ago, half of the existing 30 monitors Massport uses showed substantially higher noise than the FAA models predicted. Chelsea's monitor picked up 68.5 decibels, which would have put it in the noise area of "impacted." The issue is a sensitive one because the FAA and Massport will pay for soundproof windows in homes deemed to be in the affected area. Massport spokesman Jeremy Crockford, however, said Massport's monitor data are irrelevant because they exaggerate noise by picking up ground noise. "You cannot discern what's a truck and what's a plane on any accurate basis," Crockford said. Since Massport cannot make that distinction, Galarneau argues that it isn't accurately estimating the noise communities are already handling. "It's so loud that we cannot communicate over the phone, we have to turn the TV up, windows shake, car alarms go off," Galarneau said. "My perception of reality is different from a computer model's perception of reality."

The article goes on to say another hard-hit, low-income neighborhood Massport fails to consider is Roxbury. Though planes reach a much higher altitude there, the neighborhood gets hit with noise because of a change in the flight track made in 1996 y the FAA. Ironically, residents in Brookline and Jamaica Plain - including Anastasia Lyman, who leads the opposition to Massport's proposed runway - sued the FAA to move the flight track. Some of the same residents oppose Massport's plan, saying the change in runway usage is meant to divide communities. The settlement not only put flights over Roxbury, but kept them on a narrow path for six straight miles, unlike other flight tracks that change when the plane reaches a certain altitude or mileage, whichever comes first. The Massport proposal would triple flights over that same path, pouring fuel on the fire of the environmental-justice debate in Roxbury, where Massport officials recently paid their first visit. "It seems to me Massport's mindset is, fly over the lower earners," said Mary Davis, who lives at an epicenter of jet traffic, at Humboldt Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard. "It's not a matter of good flight paths. It's a matter of, 'Where do I have to hit without getting a lot of hassle?' "

The article asks, "How does a smallish, 369-year-old city accommodate newcomers, visitors, and burgeoning development without squeezing out the people who have made it an attractive place to be? And at what cost?" The "new" South Boston waterfront plans include a convention center, hotels and outdoor cafes, shops, and homes - right across the water from Logan's noisy jets. In no other Boston community are the costs and benefits of a new runway so easy to see. The convention center and hotels will be dependent on a steady stream of visitors getting easily into Boston. But the city's vision for the seaport district will be anchored by 6,000 to 8,000 housing units. "There's nobody there to defend themselves," said Steve Hollinger of the Seaport Alliance for Neighborhood Design. And Hollinger worries that potential residents will be so turned off by the prospect of an estimated 41,919 planes a year flying overhead, they won't move into the district, leaving it largely commercial. Countered Massport's Blute: "This development in South Boston is going to continue," he said. "The question is whether we can support it with the transportation infrastructure."

The article reports the authority has strong development hopes of its own. Massport not only runs the airport, but it is a major seaport district landowner, with 30 acres and plans for long-term leases on a 416-room hotel, a 17-story office building, and 88 apartments. A chief selling point: quick access through the Ted Williams Tunnel to Logan. Also planned nearby is the $700 million convention center - the success of which is based on efficient transportation to and from Boston, runway proponents say.

The article states Patrick B. Moscaritolo, president of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the cumulative effect of frequent delays can be damaging to Boston's tourism business. Published federal rankings put Logan near the bottom of the list for on-time airports. "Meeting planners cut that out and put it in their city file," he said. "Competitive cities also cut it out and put it in their proposals." Massport estimates that 121,000 hours of delays last year cost airlines and passengers $313 million - including airlines' costs for fuel, overnight stays for crews and passengers, and $27 per passenger per delayed hour. But that includes all delays at Logan - and the vast majority are the work of nature, not Massport. Weather conditions cause about 75 percent of delays, and all would not be fixed by a new runway. Blute argues that Massport could combat delays with a new runway it calls 14/32 because of its geographic coordinates.

According to the article, Runway 14/32 would allow Logan to operate at its peak capacity of 120 flights per hour, instead of its current two runway capacity of 90 flights an hour, and as low as 60 during severe crosswinds. Runway 14/32 would ease those backups, and would allow Massport to redirect some flights that now hammer sections of communities like Winthrop, East Boston, and South Boston. The new runway would send 75,000 flights initially over water; however, other locations would see an increase in overhead traffic. But even in those neighborhoods that would see fewer flights, many fear that the runway proposal is a thinly veiled vehicle for expansion. "You have to get it back to the bottom line," said Robert L. Driscoll Sr., a Winthrop resident. "We are concerned about any expansion, as opposed to regional development."

The article goes on to say a conclusion is never so simple to reach in this complicated debate. Massport's proposal would also send more flights over affluent communities like Hingham, where most houses sell in the $300,000 to $500,000 range. Within days of moving here in December 1997, Richard and Catherine Goldhammer discovered jets roaring overhead, sometimes every two minutes. In the night sky, neighbors see planes lining up to land, a string of lights some compare to insistent mosquitoes. The Goldhammers have dealt with their mistake by sleeping with a fan on, even in winter, to muffle the noise. Their outdoor conversations are punctuated with pauses, waiting for the jets to pass. "It isn't as bad here as it probably is in Eastie or Winthrop," said Catherine Goldhammer. "But it's bad in areas farther from Boston than most people would realize."

The article reports the Goldhammers' neighbor, Al Englehart, worries that an increase in flights would dampen property values. "People vote with their real estate," he said. Hingham homes sell for an average $281,088 - higher than the average $260,000 home near Hanscom Field in Bedford and approaching nearby Concord's $372,160 average. Airplane noise has a dubious and wide-ranging effect on home values, according to a 1994 FAA study, which found the effects much more pronounced in higher-priced neighborhoods. However, property values doesn't always bear out predictions. Real estate in East Boston, Logan's closest neighbor, is thriving. Though it continues to be the city's cheapest neighborhood, housing costs leaped 36 percent from 1997 to 1998 - more than double the rest of the city's growth, making it the fastest-growing market, according to a city study.

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Iowa Town Delays Race Track Until Reliable Noise Data Available

PUBLICATION: Associated Press
DATE: April 12, 1999
SECTION: Metro Iowa Pg.5
DATELINE: Waterloo, Iowa

The Associated Press reports a proposal to bring stock car racing to Iowa's Waterloo Greyhound Park has been put on hold after zoning commissioners raised concern over noise.

According to the article, members of the National Cattle Congress board have proposed racing stock cars around a 3/8-mile asphalt track at the former dog track beginning next year. The NCC board members say auto racing is a way to make money. "We have no money, and we are trying to make some. We have been looking for ways to do that, and this is the only way we can find," NCC chairman Russell Lowe told commissioners. The track proposal was led by NCC board member Richard Klingaman, who would assemble a local consortium of business representatives to raise the $400,000 to convert the dog track to stock car racing. Members of the Waterloo Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission have postponed the proposal indefinitely, but said they'd resurrect the plan when the NCC provides harder information about noise levels and economic impacts.

The article reports owners of upscale homes south of U. S. Highway 20 --within 2 miles of the WGP -- have complained of increased noise and declining property values that racing would bring to their neighborhoods. Police conducted noise tests March 27 wherein a handful of drivers raced around a simulated 3/8-mile track in the WGP parking lot. The cars exceeded the 80-decibel maximum under city law only once. "You had only approximately 11 stock cars present for the test. A normal race would have had twice that number," Police Chief Bernal Koehrsen wrote in a letter to project boosters. He also cited weather conditions in deeming the noise test inconclusive.

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Neighbors North of Orlando International Airport Will Hear More Noise for Next 6 Months

PUBLICATION: Orlando Sentinel Tribune
DATE: April 12, 1999
SECTION: Local & State; Pg. C3
BYLINE: Julie Carr Smyth
DATELINE: Orlando, Florida

The Orlando Sentinel Tribune reports Orlando International Airport will begin resurfacing a portion of one of its busiest runways today, sending more noisy jets over the airport's neighbors to the north.

According to the article, the $4.8 million project will require closing the southern 3,000 feet of the airport's westernmost runway for repair until October. That could mean almost double the number of northerly takeoffs and landings for the next six months, said Mike Wagner, an airport representative of the Federal Aviation Administration. Last week, Wagner estimated to a committee that monitors airport noise that northerly activity could increase from 15 percent to as much as 25 percent on the affected runway. That would mean an increase of roughly 35 additional flights a day over neighborhoods north of the airport, depending on the weather and the day's schedule. He said more planes will have to take off to the north during the typically overcast morning hours of summer. He said morning cloud cover that usually lifts by noon will not allow planes to take off to the south on the shortened runway length.

The article reports the airport tries to send to the south most of the approximately 1,000 aircraft that land and take off at Orlando International every day. Spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said under normal circumstances 80 percent of planes depart to the south where the facility is buffered by more open space. "That has been done purposefully to keep the biggest noise activity to the south and away from the heaviest populated areas," she said.

The article states the runway to be worked on is one of two 12,000-foot runways at Orlando International. The northern 9,000 feet of it has already been resurfaced, and the new project will finish the job. The third runway is 10,000 feet, and plans call for construction of a fourth runway to accommodate growth.

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Committee Urges Tests of Noise Controls Before Proceeding with Redevelopment Plan for Missouri, Housing Complex

PUBLICATION: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
DATE: April 12, 1999
SECTION: West Post, Pg. 3
BYLINE: Sterling Levy
DATELINE: St. Louis, Missouri

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports noise is a concern of a committee overseeing expansion of a housing complex in St. Louis, Missouri.

According to the article, the Brentwood Square Redevelopment Committee seeks to protect neighbors' interests in the $80 million project. While noise protections are included in the plan, testing is still being carried out. The Tax Increment Financing Commission, which will fund part of the expansion, has recommended approval of the plan, but the Board of Aldermen is conducting public hearings before it before it will be ready to tackle bills providing for the project.

The article reports committee chairwoman, Debra Behrendt, told the Board of Aldermen, "A dozen of us on the committee are Brentwood Forest property owners, and about 100 units will have the Square back up to them. The testing is still under way, and we'd like to know that the sound levels will be low enough or be kept low enough." The project, with a hotel, four restaurants and other businesses, includes noise protections but they remain untested, she says. She urged the board not to make a final decision until testing shows satisfactory results. The committee has other concerns, including traffic and lighting. City Administrator Chris Seemayer said noise testing and control was a continuing concern. Kenilworth Drive, which is now the buffer between Brentwood Forest and the current Brentwood Square, will be eliminated in the redevelopment project.

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Neighbors Disagree over Sound Walls along Florida's U. S. 441

PUBLICATION: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
DATE: April 12, 1999
SECTION: Local, Pg. 3B
BYLINE: Stella M. Chavez
DATELINE: Boca Raton, Florida

Tthe Sun-Sentinel reports not all residents are in favor of sound walls along U.S. 441 that cuts through Boca Raton, Florida, despite the planned expansion of the road from two to six lanes.

According to the article, residents Donna and Eduardo Don are in favor of the sound walls. The Dons run their ceiling fans or air conditioner continuously. The buzz of the fan blades spinning is more pleasing to the ear, they say, than the roar of vehicles whizzing by on U.S. 441 behind their home. "If you're sitting in the house, this noise is unbearable," said Donna Don, who lives in the Saddlebrook subdivision west of Boca Raton. "Sometimes it's chilly in the winter, and you can't turn off the ceiling fans." The Dons and other residents who live alongside U.S. 441 are supportive of the Department of Transportation's plans to build nearly two miles of sound walls. The walls are necessary, DOT officials say, because planned expansion of the road from two lanes to six will boost noise considerably.

The article reports next door to the Dons, Maria Estarellas, is anxious for the walls to be built. Safety is her primary concern. Her and her husband's bedroom and her son's room face the road. The $66 million project runs 18 miles from Glades Road to Lake Worth Road. Eight walls, seven of them west of Boca Raton, will account for $ 3.5 million of the cost. The federal government, which is paying for the expansion, requires that the walls be built when the noise on a road reaches above 67 decibels. Currently, the noise level where the Dons live reaches 66 decibels.

The article states Estarellas' and the Dons' sentiments aren't shared by many of their neighbors. Earlier this year, leaders of the seven affected communities -- Boca Chase, Boca Fontana, Boca Landings, Saddlebrook, Southwinds Estates, Boca Gardens and Boca Greens -- united in opposition to the walls. Those residents say they fear property values will decline. They also claim the walls will attract graffiti and keep landscaping from growing because they will block the sun. Steve Moore, DOT's district project development engineer, said the communities' leaders missed a March 1 deadline to give input on landscaping designs. DOT's next step is to schedule meetings for later this month with residents who will be directly affected by the walls. DOT is also in the process of doing an environmental reevaluation. Some studies have already been done, but this study should erase any doubts, he said. He is also planning to send a letter to the Federal Highway Administration recommending that the walls be built.

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Ventura, California, Resident Says Firing Range is a "Noise Generator" Spewing "Aural Graffiti"

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: April 11, 1999
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 18; Zones Desk
DATELINE: Ventura, California

The Los Angeles Times published a letter from John W. Wagner of Ventura, California. Wagner vehemently opposes the noisy pistol range in his city. Wagner writes:

"Remember air raid sirens? They were mounted on tall poles so their warning could be heard all over a neighborhood. And what about church bells? Well, they were placed in lofty steeples so their call to worship could reach far into the countryside.

"So why would the city of Ventura choose to maintain a noise generator like a pistol range right in the middle of a residential area, on a cliff much higher than any pole or steeple? So that the maximum number of residents, taxpayers, voters would have their yards and homes invaded by the disturbing sound of gunfire?

"Why does our City Council permit this aural graffiti to continue day in and day out?

"What's especially irksome is that most of the recreational shooters and all but one of the 15 law enforcement agencies that create this noise blight come from outside Ventura. Why can't the Santa Paula Police Department dump its noise pollution in Santa Paula? Why can't the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), the FBI, the ATF (federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and the rest of the feds who use the Grant Park range shoot it out on one of the local military bases? And why should even one recreational gun enthusiast from Santa Barbara or Van Nuys be permitted to degrade the quality of life of thousands of Venturans?

"It's time for the City Council to respect the people who live on the west side. The folks in Ondulando wouldn't tolerate such a noisy intrusion in their neighborhood, and we shouldn't have to either.

"We won't be quiet until the guns are silenced."

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Long Island Towns Place Restrictions on Noisy Helicopters

PUBLICATION: The New York Times
DATE: April 11, 1999
SECTION: Section 14Li; Page 1; Column 1; Long Island Weekly Desk
BYLINE: David Winzelberg
DATELINE: Long Island, New York

The New York Times reports in recent years the freedom to use helicopters has been reduced on Long Island as more and more towns have passed regulations restricting where they can take off and land. And in some areas where helicopters can still operate on private property, neighbors are becoming more vocal about the noise.

According to the article, there used to be three or four helicopters at Bistrian Gravel in East Hampton, flying back and forth to construction projects, but now there are none. "We used to be able to land anywhere," said Barry Bistrian, the company's president. "But the town made restrictions on that." Ken Kurrass, an officer of Norman Kurrass Construction, used a helicopter to get to job sites from his East Patchogue office in the 1970's and 1980's. "We would land in empty lots or an empty field," he said. "But now there are more restrictions on where you can land. If I have to land at an airport and then have to drive or provide transportation, then it's not worth it."

The article reports there also used to be more helicopter activity on private property five or six years ago, according to Mike Brazill, the chief operating officer for Summit Aviation in Farmingdale, one of the Island's largest air charter companies. "We would land around the Oyster Bay area, on the horse farms in Old Westbury and on private estates in the Hamptons," he said. "But there is less of that now, because local homeowners complained." Federal regulations allow helicopters to land wherever permission is granted by the property owner, requiring a landing area of only 40 feet square or less. But most Long Island towns have prohibited helicopters on private property except in emergencies. In some cases, special use permits can be issued.

The article states in December, Cablevision applied to the Town of Oyster Bay to operate a helicopter from its property, which it purchased from Northrop Grumman. While the application is under review, the company continues to fly in and out of the property, to the annoyance of some nearby homeowners. "We don't want these things flying over our houses," said Julio Gonzalez, who lives across the street from the Cablevision site. Gonzalez helped collect more than 600 signatures on a petition opposing the use of the Cablevision helicopter in his neighborhood. Grumman had once tested a variety of aircraft at the site, including the F-14 fighter and the AWACS radar plane. 105 acres of the 645-acre property is owned by the Navy, which exempted the flights from local government control. "The AWACS did come in here," said Gonzalez, "but Grumman was responsive to our concerns. They were a good neighbor. Cablevision is just using it for the pleasure of running around here. They're very arrogant about it." Cablevision flies a 1986 twin-engine Sikorsky 76 at the site and said its use is "appropriate and consistent with the rich aviation history at the Grumman site." They added: "We are happy to communicate with any interested parties in a constructive fashion." Town Supervisor John Venditto urged Cablevision to suspend its helicopter operations pending the hearing on its special-use permit. "It's critical that we maintain the delicate balance between business and the people who live here," he said. "But with the density of population that we have in the Town of Oyster Bay, helicopter travel is something I would look at with a jaundiced eye."

According to the article, ever since Thomson Industries established its headquarters in a Port Washington sand pit in 1962, the company used helicopters on the site, mostly to shuttle back and forth to its plant in Lancaster, Pa. Now a nine-passenger Sikorsky and a four-passenger A-Star make the trips for the company, which has since added three plants in Connecticut. An ordinance passed by the Village of Port Washington North in the early 1970's allows Thomson the use of helicopters on its property, but the current village attorney, Stephen Limmer, said that the special use would not be granted today. "That use was grandfathered," Limmer said. "Today we wouldn't permit any helicopters." Even though Thomson's seven-acre property is in a commercial zone, there are several homes nearby, and according to Limmer, there have been complaints about noise. Gould Ryder, general manager of Thomson's aviation division, has dealt with most of those complaints. Because of community concerns, the company has a self-imposed curfew on its helicopters. It will only fly from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. on weekdays, with no flights on the weekends. "We go out over abandoned property, then over Mill Pond and Manhasset Bay," Ryder said. "We might be going over three or four houses." A helicopter pilot for 25 years, Ryder said advancements in rotor systems have made aircraft quieter. Matt Zuccaro, an aviation consultant and special adviser to the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council, a trade group, said many helicopters are quieter than some trucks and motorcycles. "We are very conscious of the problem and we are trying to mitigate the impact in terms of noise, " he said. "We certainly fly in a congested area, and pilots try to fly at the highest altitude that's operationally feasible."

The article reports that unlike most fixed-wing aircraft, flight plans are not required for helicopters, according to Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Once in the air, a helicopter pilot is required to notify the nearest air traffic control center. There are helicopter routes that pilots follow within the airspace between mid-Nassau County and eastern New Jersey, but while flying under 1,000 feet around most of Long Island, helicopter traffic goes largely unchecked. A heliport master plan study conducted by the City of New York, citing National Transportation Safety Board statistics, said the safety record of metropolitan area heliports was nine times better than the national average. "Helicopter travel is very safe," Zuccaro said. "You have a higher chance of death in an automobile."

The article goes on to say The Hamptons are a popular destination for air travelers, especially during the summer. Because of local restrictions barring landings on private property, they land at airports in Westhampton, East Hampton and Montauk and at a helipad in Southampton. The Village of Southampton built the heliport to serve the residences of the exclusive ocean-front homes across the street, according to the Village Administrator, Jim Van Nostrand. Consisting of a 40-foot-square landing area and a wind sock, the Southampton pad is open for day landings only. The village has "not received very many complaints" about the helicopters, he said.

According to the article, Brazill said his pilots still land and take off on private property, but mostly in Connecticut and upstate New York, where rules are more relaxed. He said Long Island should establish more public-use heliports, which would make helicopter flight more convenient to those living or working in restricted areas. And for those they serve, time is money. "You're talking about people who run big corporations and have huge responsibilities," Brazill said. "Their time is so valuable. Why should they sit in a car for three or four hours?"

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