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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

Small businessman finds big success

Anthony DePalma has been manager at Covert Avenue’s Raindew Family Center and Pharmacy for 13 years. Last month, at the 30th Annual Small Businessperson of the Year and Legislative Breakfast at the Crest Hollow Country Club, DePalma got his much deserved recognition when he was awarded the day’s top honor by the Covert Avenue Chamber of Commerce, whose members hail from Stewart Manor and Floral Park.  

“My initial reaction was ‘wow that’s very nice,’ I didn’t realize that it was going to be such a beautiful extravaganza,” said DePalma on winning the award. “They did it very, very well. They had a breakfast at the Crest Hollow Country Club and everything was done beautifully. It was just done very, very nicely. Very proud.”

School board shows off improvements at Stratford

This month’s Garden City Board of Education meeting saw a boost in attendance, and not just from district residents. This was the first board meeting to be held at Stratford School, so teachers and students there stopped by to show off the best it has to offer.

Leading the pack was school principal Eileen Vota, who gave the board a tour of the school before the meeting got underway. Along the way, highlights of the capital improvement project were pointed out, all a result of the 2009 School Investment Bond and Energy Performance Contract.


Sports

Winter Swim Lesson Registration Announced

The Garden City Recreation Department will be conducting children’s swimming lessons for village residents at the Adelphi University swimming pool in Woodruff Hall on Saturday mornings. Your child must be six years of age by the start of the program to participate. This 10-week session will begin Saturday, Dec. 6. Classes are taught by Red Cross-certified instructors. The cost is $80. These classes are open to residents of the Incorporate Village of Garden City.

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes began the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.


Calendar

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, December 1

AARP Driver Safety Program

Tuesday, December 2

Here Comes Brother Sun

Friday, December 5



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