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Airport Noise Study Begins

08/17/2011 at 12:13pm

Airport Noise Study Begins

On Monday afternoon, representatives from the consulting firm ESA held a public workshop to kick off a noise study held every five years by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The study - called the Federal Aviation Regulation Part 150 Noise Study - is a voluntary noise exposure and land use study that airports undertake to address noise and land use compatibility.

"The goal is to educate the public on what the process is,” explained Michael Arnold, Vice President of ESA. "We give them the basic data on the airport and see what their expectations are. The goal is to get input from everyone in the neighborhoods that surround the airport, determine what the baseline noise conditions are and look at measures that can be evaluated.”

Residents gathered in the fellowship hall of St. Peter Lutheran Church to view placards containing information on flight patterns, decibel levels and airport statistics. A placard entitled ‘Flight Procedures vs. Public Comment’ showed that the vast majority of complaints in during the last year came from Fort Myers Beach, from mid-island to the south end. A smaller concentration of calls centered around Estero. Another showed that the amount of annual arrivals and departures at Southwest Florida International Airport is estimated to increase to nearly 160,000 by the year 2030, up from 83,000 in 2010.

According to yet another placard, the goals of the study are: to document current and future noise exposure around the airport; encourage noise abatement alternatives that don’t sacrifice one neighborhood for another; evaluate additional noise abatement opportunities; provide opportunities for community input; develop recommendations for noise abatement and noise mitigation measures and comply with Lee County’s Comprehensive Plan requirements.

When we asked Arnold about recent efforts by former Councilman Tom Babcock to get the FAA to address residents’ concerns about air traffic noise, he replied that one has nothing to do with the other.

"The timing just happened to work out for this study,” he said. "Ultimately the recommendations will go to the FAA.”

Two more rounds of public meetings are scheduled for the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012, with the FAA approval of the final recommendations to come in 2013.

Anyone who missed Monday’s workshop but who still want to make comments can email them to kmolnar@cella.cc or mail them to

Lee County Port Authority - SWFIA

C/O Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc.

1631 Hendry Street

Fort Myers, FL. 33901.

Keri Hendry