Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Help Me Howard: Airport Noise
To some people it is fascinating. You see them sitting near airports enthralled by the takeoffs and landings but what would you do if you had to listen the planes every waking minute of every single day. You can do two things pray for a little peace and quiet then call Help Me Howard with patrick fraser for some answers.
WSVN--Nothing like a little yard work on a Saturday afternoon.
The sun shining, an iguana watching overhead, nice and peaceful.
Michael Olejniczak: "The end of the street, not much traffic. Canal on the one side so you don't have any neighors on one side.
Michael just has one little problem -- over and over and over.
Michael Olejniczak: "You just wake up one day and you realize the planes are flying non-stop."
Michael certainly knows his home is in the path of the main Ft. Lauderdale airport runway.
In a home he bought 14 years ago, back in the good old day.
Michael Olejniczak: "There were days you didnt even hear them but just intermitingly here and there half an hour here..half an hour there."
Now he says it's every couple of minutes.
One takes off another touches down. Good for passengers looking for a flight, bad for the guy searching for a little peace.
Michael Olejniczak: "And I wouldn't say they are any noisier now but there are alot more and bring up plane sound."
A lot more planes. When he bought his house in 1992, over 200 thousand planes took off and landed each year.
In 2005 it had jumped to 330 thousand a year.
Michael Olejniczak: "If you have people over that's when you notice it cause you're sitting in the backyard and every few minutes you have to stop your conservation."
Michael's house is three miles from the runway in what's called "the noise contour."
After him it's a lake, the turnpike, an industrial area and touchdown.
Michael Olejniczak: "I mean it's not like it's killing you, you're not gonna go deaf. It's just really annoying."
The airport keeps track of exactly how loud it gets at his house thanks to a noise monitor in his front yard.
According to the FAA, the average sound level is not supposed to go above 65 -- Michael's is close.
Michael Olejniczak: "Mine is 65 level being about tops for residential areas but they go over that on the weekends."
Michael understands planes make noise - he can live with that. But he is worried as more and more planes use the airport his life will get more noisy and more irritating.
Michael Olejniczak: "I don't live in a dreamworld, what I just dont want to happen is to have them forget about the people that live under the airport."
But what can the people do who bought homes way before the airports became so busy? To find out Michael called Help Me Howard.
Howard Finklestein: "Sadly the law doesn't help nless the noise is so unbearable that you can't live in the house. You are not entitled to relief and even if it's unbearable the cost to the homeowner to sue would be over $100,000 and you are not guaranteed you would win. The best people like Michael can hope for is to get help soundproofing their homes."
When I talked to the Ft. Lauderdale airport spokesman, he told me noise is a major concern.
That while there are more planes they are quieter than in the past.
He agreed that Michael's house is near the 65 sound level but that the airport is finishing a noise compatibility study this fall and that Michael's house could qualify for noise mitigation, such as sound insulation.
Howard says if the insulation doesnt work the airport has other legal options.
Michael Olejniczak: "If it's determined that homes in the path of runways are being significantly impacted, airports can decide to buy them. It's called 'imminent domain' -- it is unlikely in Michael's case, but it's very likely that he will receive money to soundproof his house."
For Michael, it's a wait and see what the future of the airport holds so he can determine what his future at his house near the runway holds.
Michael Olejniczak: "If they are gonna tell me in the end this is it -- too bad it isn't going to get any better, then I will decide where to go from there."
Patrick Fraser: "That noise study should be finished by December. The FAA wants the sound level at homes like Michael near 65 but the airport wants it down to 60 -- what does that mean to homes in the path of the runway? We will find out this fall. And by the way, if you live near an airport and have a complaint about the noise, call the airport or the FAA."
A persistent problem got you ready to take off? I'm not gonna say call us before you crash. Instead, let us help you find a smooth landing.
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