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Aircraft Noise Is Spreading

Aiming at quiet skies

The legislative council to State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), told a Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee (TVASNAC) that the legislator has submitted a bill that would require the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to conduct a noise and land use compatibility survey as outlined under federal aviation regulations as well as biennial public hearings regarding aircraft noise

Rebecca Sheehan, Avella’s council, told a Feb. 25 meeting of the Town-Village Aircraft Safety and Noise Abatement Committee (TVASNAC) that the bill, introduced on Oct. 26, 2012, stems from an influx of complaints into Avella’s office.

“What started to occur in the summer of 2012, there was a huge number of complaints that were coming into the senator’s office pretty much on a daily basis from the entire northeast section of his district, which is Bayside, Whitestone, Douglaston and Little Neck,” said Sheehan. 

As a result, Avella reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate residents’ claims of “incredibly low … incredibly frequent … [and] incredibly loud” planes flying overhead. 

In a meeting with the FAA, Avella learned that the agency was testing a new departure procedure out of LaGuardia off of runway 13, according to Sheehan. Avella was “distressed” that his office had not received notification of this test, which ran from February 2012 through August 2012. The FAA was “apologetic,” according to Sheehan, but did not follow up with Avella’s office once data from the test was reviewed. 

Instead, Avella “learned that a ‘categorical exclusion’ had been issued and an initial environmental review, had been done upon which the exclusion had been granted,” meaning that the test procedure is now going to be used as a regular procedure, Sheehan said. 

Asked by TVASNAC Executive Director Kendall W. Lampkin what the senator’s game plan will be, Sheehan said the senator will continue to forge ahead with requested meetings with not only the FAA but also with the Port Authority to demand change.

“This isn’t just about any specific neighborhood issue because everybody’s got their own specific things that are happening to them. … This is a much larger issue about how the FAA goes about doing its business,” Sheehan emphasized on behalf of Sen. Avella.

The next TVASNAC meeting will be held on Monday, March 25 at a location to be determined.