Noise News for Week of February 20, 2000

D.C. Residents Angry Over Tunnel Noise Preceding Trains

PUBLICATION: Washington Post
DATE: February 23, 2000
SECTION: Pg Extra; Pg. M03
BYLINE: Eugene L. Meyer
DATELINE: Washington, D.C.
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Shirley Oguh, secretary of the Avondale Citizens' Association

The Washington Post reports that the loud boom that precedes the Metro into the tunnel between the Fort Totten and West Hyattsville stations is a major noise concern for residents in the Avondale community.

The article said that residents complain that the noise begins in early morning and continues until night, even setting off car alarms.

According to the article, the problem has continued for five years, and the vibration from the booms is so intense that figurines on furniture surfaces and pictures on the wall shake. The article said that residents are losing sleep because of the noise, and have considered moving.

The article went on to say that Shirley Oguh, secretary of the Avondale Citizens' Association, and its members wrote to Metro General Manager explaining their concern, mailing copies to state and county legislators.

The article said that Metro inspectors apparently have heard the complaints and become more attentive than they have been in the past-- they've talked to residents and listened to the booms.

"We are still, at this point, trying to identify what's causing the problem," said Ray Feldmann, a Metro spokesman. In the meantime, residents are concerned about noise and the safety of their homes.

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UK Residents Complain Until Excavation Noise is Reduced: Company Makes Offer

PUBLICATION: Coventry Evening Telegraph
DATE: February 22, 2000
SECTION: News; Pg. 2
BYLINE: Simon Kukuruzovic
DATELINE: Nuneaton, England

The Coventry Evening Telegraph reported on an excavation company's plans to reduce noise at its Nuneaton site as a result of residents' complaints.

According to the article, Parkhill Estates excavates coal and shale at a former concrete block site in Neneaton. The company's machinery was so loud that some residents called the noise "torture," and formed a local liaison committee to work with the Parkhill Estates officials and county and borough councilors.

The report said that Parkhill Estates officials plans to modify a pump on a concrete breaking machine that caused the noise and will limit the hours of operation.

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Rhode Island Schools Barely Outside Airport Noise Zone and FAA Refuses to Pay for Soundproofing

PUBLICATION: Providence Journal-Bulletin
DATE: February 22, 2000
SECTION: News, Pg. 1C
DATELINE: Warkwick, Rhode Island

The Providence Journal-Bulletin printed an article about two Rhode Island schools that are barely outside the high-noise zone around T. F. Green Airport, making them ineligible for funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for soundproofing. The schools are within 200 feet from the zone boundary, and both parents and teachers complain that the noise disrupts learning.

The Airport Community Noise Advisory Committee [Editor's Note: a committee with no power or binding vote], established by the state's Airport Corporation in its Part 150 noise study, has not been officially notified by the FAA. However, the committee learned of the decision committee member Karen Kalunian, whose persistent telephone calls prompted an FAA official to call back to explain that the schools were outside the zone and therefore ineligible for funds.

The article Kalunian called the FAA's decision absurd, saying that some action must be taken to prevent when children's education from constant interruption.

The school superintendent told the committee that all anyone has to do is go inside the school and listen, adding he would continue discussions with the Corporation.

The article said that the FAA helped the Corporation to pay almost $5 million to soundproof five other schools, which are inside the high-noise zone.

A recent school bond that passed does include some monies for new windows, but the superintendent asserted that the FAA should pay instead of property owners.

Speaking for the Advisory Committee, Karen Kalunian said that the Airport Corporation should foot the bill for soundproofing if the FAA will not.

The article said that both airport and FAA officials could not be reached for comment.

The article explained that the Advisory provides for public comment on noise issues, and works with the Corporation to set noise control priorities.

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California Senior Citizens Endure Noise from Huge Construction Project

PUBLICATION: San Jose Mercury News
DATE: February 22, 2000
SECTION: State And Regional News
BYLINE: Geoffrey Tomb
DATELINE: San Jose, California

The San Jose Mercury News reported on noise from a major downtown project, which is only feet away from a senior citizen home with 190 residents. Once the moving and re-anchoring of the old Montgomery Hotel is complete, the city plans to build a new 13-story annex for the Fairmont hotel. The end of construction and noise is three years away.

The article said that some residents leave the building during the day because of the vibration from jackhammers. Others said they wear earplugs and earmuffs during the construction, which is from 7 am to 7pm.

Many of the residents have suggested they be moved out entirely during construction; several suggested rooms in the existing Fairmont.

According to the article, the hotel sent residents a brunch on the day of the Montgomery move. In addition, residents received from the hotel 16 tickets to an event at the San Jose Arena and the building's windows were washed in December, Mendoza said.

The article said that the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, which oversees the Montgomery Hotel project, expressed sympathy for residents and announced that the firm hopes to limit construction hour to 8am until 3pm.

The article went on to say that a spokesman for the Fairmont Hotel project warned residents that pile driving is in store next while workers pile drive a new foundation.

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Florida Airport Claims Noise Won't Disrupt Community College Campus

PUBLICATION: St. Petersburg Times
DATE: February 22, 2000
SECTION: Hernando TIMES; Letters; Pg. 2
DATELINE: Hernando County, Florida

The St. Petersburg Times printed a letter to the editor regarding a controversy over whether a community college should have a campus next to the Hernando County Airport. This letter, printed in its entirety, attacks a previous letter voicing concern over airport noise levels.

Editor: Re: Lawrence Weier's Feb. 16 letter to the editor, Airport noise means PHCC should find a different site:

I am compelled to write and correct another writer's blaring errors when discussing the Hernando County Airport. I have served on the Hernando County Aviation Authority for more than nine years and have worked as a licensed real estate broker in Hernando County for more than 14 years.

The writer clearly took state Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite's comments and those of airport manager Bob Mattingly out of context and chose to use them to add credibility to his own attempt to mislead people about the airport property and the noise levels. Both quotes were directly related to a military practice operation that took place at the airport late in the evening and early morning. The writer believes this is proof enough that Pasco-Hernando Community College cannot have a campus on the airport property. The noise would disrupt instructors and students. Sounds good! Let's look at the truth, however.

Is anyone aware of any classes taught at PHCC between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.? That's when this military training operation took place. The aviation authority strongly supported this training exercise. The authority felt that this one-time training exercise was a very small price to pay to show Hernando County's support for the men and women of the armed forces.

The writer asks you "to just imagine yourself as an instructor trying to teach over the din of such noise, or as a paying student trying to hear or learn under these circumstances." If the truth be known, you don't have to imagine what it's like to teach and learn under these circumstances. You can ask the parents and students of Chocachatti Elementary School. Chocachatti is the same distance from the runways as the proposed PHCC site.

The writer's opinion is that the distractions and difficulty of teaching and learning in classrooms enveloped in such an environment are the reason that the airport is an undesirable location. The facts are that Chocachatti is an excellent school and the airport proximity to Chocachatti has not interfered with these teachers or the effectiveness of the learning facility.

The proposed airport PHCC site is outside the parameters established by Florida statute. In addition, the airport PHCC site benefits the taxpayer with no additional land being removed from the tax rolls. We need to be focusing on these positive factors instead of campaigning with misinformation.

Gary E. Schraut, Brooksville

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Alabama Airport Officials and Government Say No to Noise Limits: Residents Angry

PUBLICATION: Birmingham Post
DATE: February 21, 2000
SECTION: News; Pg. 4
BYLINE: John Revill
DATELINE: Birmingham, Alabama

The Birmingham Post reported on a controversy among Birmingham International Airport, the Government and residents living near the airport. An advisory committee of the airport [Editor's Note: a committee with no power or binding vote] and the Government both claim that setting noise limits is impractical.

The report said that officials from the environmental group Friends of the Earth (FoE) criticized the decision, calling it an "abdication of responsibility" that will have an adverse impact on both housing costs and the lives of residents.

According to the article, the Aircraft Noise Monitoring Advisory Committee suggests that the airport could have a "voluntary code of practice"

While it refuses to set noise limits, the committee recommended a code of practice to reduce noise--by increasing the number of descending aircraft.

Coordinator for FoE, Brett Rehling, challenged the committee's recommendation, saying just the opposite would occur--that noise levels would continue to climb. He asked why airport officials would be able to maintain a voluntary noise reduction practice but unable to establish a set of regulations. He called for a new national airport policy, a reduction in airline traffic, especially at night.

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Maine Town Officials Reject Paper Mill Expansion Because of Noise

PUBLICATION: Central Maine Morning Sentinel
DATE: February 21, 2000
SECTION: Local; Pg. B3
BYLINE: Betty Jespersen
DATELINE: Farmington, Maine

The Central Maine Morning Sentinel reported that the town's Planning Board rejected International Paper Company's plans to expand its three-acre logging operation because it did not meet the board's standards.

The article said that the company plans to appeal.

The article called the relationship between the board and the company was difficult.

The paper company complained that the site-review was vague and the standards not in the town's ordinance.

According to the article, the site-review ordinance protects the health and welfare of the community by regulating commerce and industry projects. Residents have lodged complaints about noise from the company's machinery and equipment back-up alarms as well as complaints about the pervasive smell of diesel fuel. As a result, IP's permit was denied because of the section referring to increased levels of noise and fumes.

When company officials said they could prove that noise from the proposed expansion would be well within the limits, the board responded that it wasn't only a matter of decibels. 'Noise is defined as unwanted sound. The back-up alarms on trucks might not show up on a sound test, but they can annoy the heck out of the neighbors,' said Planner Tom Eastler.

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Madrid Airport Too Noisy and Dangerous Say Protesters

PUBLICATION: International Herald Tribune
DATE: February 21, 2000
SECTION: News; Pg. 2
BYLINE: by Al Goodman; International Herald Tribune
DATELINE: Madrid, Spain

The International Herald Tribune reported that 40 adults and three children arrived at Madrid Barajas at 10 pm in their pajamas and robes to protest airport noise.

According to the article, the protestors say the root of the problem is the government-run airport expansion. The chair of the engineering firm for the government, Antonio Gracia, refutes protestors' claims, stating that the noise in downtown Madrid is worse.

The article said that residents claim just the opposite is true, and complaints have come in from as far away as 11 miles.

According to the article, 16 suburbs in Madrid (whose collective population is 350,000) filed suit against the airport citing health and safety dangers as well as a threat to urban planning. The report went on to say that protestors want a new airport and are pushing for a new airport outside Madrid, and want an immediate ban on flights between 11 pm and 7 am at Barajas.

The article says that Barajas is the fifth-busiest airport in Western Europe, after London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and expected to become even busier.

The article went on to report that Gracia claims airplane noise will decline because the European Union will require the newer, quieter Stage-3 planes by 2002. According to the article, Garcia added that only a handful of people have complained.

But the article said that 2,000 people from a nearby suburb protested the noise last year, blocking traffic on a national highway, prompting authorities to change the flight path

The article said that Gracia and the government claim the noise levels do not exceed the World Health Organization recommended limits of 65 decibels during the day and 55 decibels at night. One member of the government's commission on noise said the levels were improperly measured because averages were used instead of individual incidents.

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South Carolina County Officials Investigate States Ports Authority

PUBLICATION: Associated Press
DATE: February 20, 2000
SECTION: State And Regional
DATELINE: Charleston, South Carolina

According to the Associated Press, Charleston County officials have asked the sheriff's department to investigate a State Ports Authority storage yard because of noise and safety concerns from residents.

The article said that the yard is a 17-acre paved lot where steel shipping containers are stacked seven feet high. The loading and unloading of containers causes so much noise that the Port Authority could be in violation of the county's noise ordinance which "prohibits 'clamorous crying of wares, singing, whooping or other obstreperous, wanton and unnecessary noises ... which disturb the peace and quiet of the county." If it is found in violation, the yard could be forced to limit the hours of operation or stop functioning altogether.

The article said that Ports Authority officials claim the yard is in compliance with the ordinance, but a consultant hired by residents measured the noise levels that show the company is in violation.

The article said that meetings between residents and port officials resulted in only the reverse warning signals on trucks, adding that residents aren't expecting the noise levels to change.

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Canadian Rifle Range Unwanted in Neighborhood

DATE: February 20, 2000
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion, Pg. C20, Letter Of The Week
DATELINE: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The Edmonton Sun printed a letter to the editor opposing the controversial location for a proposed rifle range in Canada. The editorial said that three other sites nearby were rejected as well. Public opposition, danger and noise pollution were given as reasons for the controversy.

The article said that opponents of the range fear that the proposed site near Sunridge Ski Hill, which attracts 50,000 annual skiers( mostly children) "would look directly down into the roofless gun range."

Other reasons that residents opposed the proposed rifle range are that weddings and other rentals use the ski chalet throughout the year, and would be subject to a 32-bay open-roofed rifle range that would be in operation from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. In addition, just across the river from the proposed rifle range site are 2,500 homes that would be vulnerable to both the noise and danger from the range.

The editorial states that noise testing results were not properly carried out because they didn't factor in people who use the park; children who ski; the number of firearms being used simultaneously; and the time of peak usage.

The article said that while thousands of people actively oppose the range, the range has the appearance of overwhelming support because public information meetings sponsored by the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club are inadequately publicized and members of the public are not allowed to speak.

Marilou Neufield (No matter where it's located, someone will be opposed.)

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Big Box Store Dismisses Neighbor's Concerns Over Noise

DATE: February 20, 2000
SECTION: LI Life; Page G15
BYLINE: Stephanie Mccrummen. Staff Writer
DATELINE: Hempstead, New York

According to Newsday, Hempstead resident Ronald Lupski is fighting a losing battle over noise from Home Depot, which moved into his neighborhood in 1990 with a promise to work together with residents regarding their concerns--something residents say has not happened.

Enduring insults from company lawyers and rebuffs from the company who view him as a one-man show, Lupski has asked town officials for a hearing on the store's request for a zoning variance to use the store's gates as a delivery site.

Marlene Kastleman, spokesperson for the town said that Home Depot has more citations than any other business, ranging from violations for staying open after regular store hours to safety violations.

The article said that the company has not invested much energy in corporate relations, and spokespeople dismiss neighbors concerns, claiming that they haven't heard from other residents. "We don't really understand this guy's point...As far as we know, there is only one neighbor who has an issue ..." said company official John Simley.

The article said that other neighbors credit Lupski for maintaining a vigilant opposition long after they gave up, and although they are still in opposition, Lupski leads the fight.

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Neighbors' Complaints About Noisy South Carolina Port Prompts Investigation

PUBLICATION: Associated Press
DATE: February 20, 2000
SECTION: State And Regional
DATELINE: Charleston, South Carolina

According to the Associated Press, the Charleston County sheriff's department is investigating a State Ports Authority storage/container yard because of neighbors' complaints about excessive noise. If the Ports Authority is found to be in violation of the county's noise ordinance, it could be forced to stop using the yard or modify its operations.

The article said that the county ordinance bans "...obstreperous, wanton and unnecessary noises...which disturb the peace and quiet of the county."

The article said that one section of the ordinance in particular establishes specific noise standards and levels of sudden and prolonged noise.

The state's consultant alleges that the Ports Authority is not in violation of the county's ordinance, but the article said that residents disagree, saying their equipment shows the yard is in violation.

Residents have called Ports Authority officials at home when they've been awakened by banging containers and beeping of back-up warnings on trucks, but do not believe promises that the they will reduce night operations. Residents are not holding their breath, however.

The article said that Authority spokeswoman Anne Moise claims officials are listening to proposed solutions from residents, which include: installing a 12-foot fence; a earthen berm; and ceasing operations at operations.

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Three Day Airport Noise Seminar in California Unveils New Technology to Reduce Noise

PUBLICATION: Chicago Daily Herald
DATE: February 20, 2000
SECTION: News; Pg. 20
BYLINE: Eileen O. Daday
DATELINE: San Diego, California

According to the Chicago Daily Herald, a three-day conference, titled: "Year 2000 International Airport Noise Symposium," sponsored by the University of California at Berkeley included city officials from the Chicago area who sit on the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission.

The article said they were looking for information on reducing airport noise to improve the quality of life in the neighboring suburbs of O'Hare Airport.

Among the ideas, the article said, was a report from Bombardier Aerospace, about new technology designed that reduces jet noise at the source--engines.

The article went on to say that that officials from O'Hare International Airport discussed Chicago's Airport System have invested over $3 million in a state-of-the-art computerized satellite system that will direct planes over non-residential areas.

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