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Making Themselves Heard

Aircraft noise complaints garner response

Excessive aircraft noise may be the bane of many residents in the area, but apparently the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally heard people’s complaints of long being fed up by all the racket. The Stewart Manor Board of Trustees heard a report from the Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee (TVASNAC) at their regularly scheduled board meeting on May 6. Residents’ ongoing fight against the excess noise caused by congested overhead air traffic is finally eliciting a response from the government.

Cristina O’Keeffe, who represents Stewart Manor on TVASNAC, says that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as the FAA, is stepping up and responding to residents’ complaints after a mandate handed down by Governor Cuomo last November. “It’s baby steps, but there’s actually some change going on,” O’Keeffe says.

Last November, Governor Cuomo ordered the Port Authority to conduct a noise and land compatibility study in response to complaints over the disrupting noise of airplanes flying over residential areas.

A new website allows residents to track in real-time what flights are passing over their houses. The site has supplemented the pre-existing phone line for lodging complaints.

Community roundtables are also being established to discuss the noise issues. The Port Authority and different local committees such as TVASNAC are represented at these meetings, although the FAA is also encouraged to attend.

Despite their close quarters, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport are represented by two different roundtables. O’Keeffe says most other major airports in the country already have these groups, but one was only created for JFK in response to the governor’s recent mandate.

Part of the Port Authority’s response has also been to increase the amount of noise monitors in the communities surrounding the airports. These monitors link to the 4G network and measure noise in a unit called Day-Night Sound Level, or DNL. The monitors must be installed in locations without any other ambient sound, such as a highway or train tracks.

Some airports have up to one hundred monitors in their surrounding communities, but our area only has around a dozen.

The maximum DNL allowed in the United States is 65, although other countries go as low as 55. If an area registers a 65 on the monitors, they qualify for federal funding to sound-proof buildings such as schools and churches.

“We have ten points higher than the World Health Organization dictates that we should for noise level,” O’Keeffe says.

Changes to the acceptable DNL level must be made at the federal level.

An environmental impact study is underway to determine the full extent of the noise pollution, but the process is a lengthy one and despite recent steps in the right direction, there’s no guarantee that the airports will have to make significant changes to reduce noise.

“If the environmental study finds that there’s issue with noise, it will generate some federal funding but it’s not necessarily going to change the paths of the airplanes,” O’Keeffe warns.

Trustee John Egan says the noise isn’t his biggest issue with the planes and that he worries more about the danger all the air traffic congestion may be posing to pilots attempting to land.

“My concern is landing safely. La Guardia is the most difficult airport to land in because the runways are so short,” he explains.

O’Keeffe mentioned that among the new changes being implemented is the creation of a safety buffer around La Guardia for the surrounding communities.

TVASNAC has been representing the Town of Hempstead and fighting the noise pollution caused by aircraft since its founding in 1966. The committee is comprised of twelve villages including Garden City, Stewart Manor, and Floral Park.

The next meeting is scheduled for May 19 at Hempstead Town Hall and is open to the public.

News

Residents needed to run

The Garden City East Nominating Committee is seeking residents of the East who are interested in being interviewed for the positions of village mayor, village trustee and school board trustee. These positions are subject to election by all village residents. The village mayoral and trustee terms are for two years beginning on April 6, 2015 and the school board trustee term is for three years beginning on July 1, 2015.

Any resident of the East who is interested in being considered for one of these positions must submit a letter of intent and a resume. This submission should note the position being sought; include their name, contact information, a statement explaining their reason for interest in the position, a summary of their professional background and other qualifications, including, although not required, current or prior involvement in village or school board positions or initiatives.

Donald Barrick, Life’s WORC Board Chairman announced that Janet Koch has been hired as the new Executive Director of Life’s WORC, a Garden City-based 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. Koch assumes this leadership responsibility as Peter Smergut retires after 20 years in this position. After a thorough and extensive executive search process, the Life’s WORC Board is confident Koch has the vision and skills consistent with the needs of the organization. She will assume her position as executive director on Monday, Nov. 3.


Sports

High School Jazz Class Added To Dance Conservatory

Dance Conservatory Director Felicia Lovaglio has decided to add a jazz class for students in 9th through 12th grades who are residents of the Incorporated Village of Garden City. This 55-minute class will be held on Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning on Saturday, Nov. 8. The cost of this 20-week class will be $200. Preregistration is necessary by visiting the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Adult Dance Performance Group Now Registering

The recreation and parks department offers an adult dance group that works on jazz and contemporary moves and leads up to a performance in a Dance Company Showcase. Whether you are a beginner dance student or someone who danced as a child and would like to try again, this program will help you achieve your goals. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8. Each class is 55 minutes long and the session will run through May. The cost of this program will be $220.  

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.


Calendar

 Murder, Madness & Poe

Thursday, October 30

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 3

Manhasset Comes To Garden City

Through November 25



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com