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Noise-relief efforts get $70K boost

Airport authority greenlights expense to continue search for a solution to nighttime noise in flight path.

December 16, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

AIRPORT DISTRICT — A month after federal officials rejected a multimillion-dollar application for nighttime flight restrictions, Bob Hope Airport officials agreed to spend nearly $70,000 to facilitate ongoing noise-relief efforts.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority last week unanimously approved the increase to an existing contract with Cooper Communications, which will assist the airport in its ongoing quest to reach some sort of nighttime flight noise relief agreement, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Nov. 2 denied a request from the airport authority for a ban on air traffic between 10 p.m. and 6:59 a.m., with exceptions for emergency flights and medical aircraft. FAA officials determined that a mandatory curfew would harm the national air traffic system, and cited other measures the authority could undertake short of a curfew.

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Airport authority Executive Director Dan Feger indicated that the airport would explore convening affected cities, lawmakers and airlines to obtain a mandatory curfew through federal legislation or a negotiated agreement.

The airport authority also announced that it would commission a new, less costly study to reinforce ongoing noise-mitigation measures.

“We’ve been very transparent about what’s going on, where we are in the process, and I think it’s a good thing,” Commissioner Charles Lombardo said. “We want to keep all the residents in the area informed about what’s going on.”

Cooper Communications will also promote the authority’s official position that a San Fernando Valley-wide agreement would be most effective, airport spokesman Victor Gill said.

George Bant, who lives under the flight path in Studio City, said he purchased his home despite the fact that property prices were higher here than in any other district in the valley. The serenity, privacy and status of the neighborhood made it, in his opinion, worth the higher price.

Bant maintains that flights regularly cross over his home before the 7 a.m. voluntary curfew, and asked why they don’t fly over the 101 Freeway rather than residential neighborhoods.

“Find some other way to do it,” said Bant, who supports measures to reduce noise, but remains skeptical that they will be implemented. “It certainly has destroyed the property values completely around here.”

The vibration caused by overhead aircraft has so far caused $47,000 in damage to his home, Bant said.

“I am looking for a break-even point,” he said. “I am thinking of just walking away. Let them come at me for foreclosure. Who cares?”

Airport officials this week awarded three contracts to outfit more than 100 structures with noise-deafening insulation.

Steven Gundler, who lives in the 2000 block of North Pass Avenue, had his home insulated four years ago as part of the program.

“I’m happy to know that the city and the airport authority are committed to this long term,” Gundler said.


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