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Archive for September, 2018

There’s an air war brewing over the southeast San Fernando Valley.

In recent months, the FAA has altered departure patterns from Burbank Airport to take advantage of new technology (known as Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen), designed to provide better separation of incoming and departing aircraft, as well as improve efficiency.

Many residents along the Studio City hillsides and adjacent neighborhoods have reported increased noise as some departures have shifted to a more southerly path, which takes them south of or over Ventura Boulevard.

I recall the outcry back in 1987 concerning a proposed addition of gates. There was a hearing at a local school attended by residents of Valley Village and adjacent areas.  They were concerned about the increased noise levels which would result from the expansion. My wife and I, at the time new to the neighborhood, were there, and shared the same concerns.

Since then, there has been a definite reduction in noise due to improvements in engine technology; however, it is still very noticeable.

The Studio City Residents’ Association is opposing the changes, as is Studio City for Quiet Skies, a coalition of residents. They claim their quality of life has been adversely affected.

They are asking that the FAA return departure paths back north of the 101, an area the organizers describe as a “natural noise corridor.”

It is rather audacious of them to describe the neighborhoods around the 101 in that manner, as if Studio City deserves special consideration over the rest of the southeast Valley.  If anything, SCRA and SCQS are throwing some of their own residents under the bus – or perhaps I should say, under the plane – those living generally north of Colfax Meadows have long been subject to some of the same noise levels as Valley Village and North Hollywood.

As a frequent flyer from Burbank Airport and a resident of Valley Village, I can say with certainty that many flights still traverse the skies north of the 101 or directly parallel to it. From the air, I have a clear view of my street as my flight banks to the north soon after we clear the runway. Details of the terrain below are close enough to be evident. From the ground, I can watch SWA parallel our street.

Valley Village Homeowners Association has informed our elected officials that we favor a shift of  departures to the south. Letters were sent to Representatives Sherman and Cardenas, and to Councilman Krekorian and City Attorney Feuer. We stressed that no one area should bear a disproportionate share of the noise;  that our interests are every bit as important as Studio City’s.

It is worth noting that Councilman Paul Krekorian and City Attorney Mike Feuer co-signed a letter to the FAA in support of the SCRA and SCQS position, but did not consider the overall impact to the greater community; that there would be some relief for other residents.

When we asked their offices if they could write on behalf of Valley Village, they said FAA issues are not within their scope.  That is a true statement, but why did they involve themselves then?

Burbank Airport, despite the inherent noise associated with airport operations, is a net asset to the Valley.  When it comes to flying regionally, it is the hands down choice over LAX for all of us this side of Mullholland.

This is not to say there are no concerns regarding the airport – for example, we must pay attention to the plans for the new terminal, advocate for soundproofing of schools, where needed, throughout the East Valley.

The FAA has the legal authority to implement flight path modifications in the interests of safety and efficiency, regardless of public or political input.

Perhaps, then, this conflict is all moot, but sharing the noise is only fair.

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