Mtg notes: BoS 06.20.13 (a) – Objections to airport noise not abating

by Frank Schroth

Residents appeared before the Selectmen during Citizen Speak to reiterate their concerns about and frustrations with airplane noise. The FAA recently opened up runway 33L for departures. Sheryl Fleitman, co-chair of a committee of residents seeking relief on the issue, read a couple of emails the committee had received. One commented on the fact that the Quarry Hills was successful in partially blocking use of a wind turbine that would have generated significant revenue for the town because the noise would disrupt golfers enjoyment of the course but that he, as a resident, could not enjoy his backyard deck in relative peace and quiet due to the overhead roar of planes.

Daryl Warner said that the FAA if conditions such as wind allowed the option of flying another route (e.g. over water instead of over Milton), then they should fly that route. Catherine Reddington cited the Blue Hills and the echo effect it creates resulting in sound louder than what FAA is measuring. Later in their session the board discussed the airport noise giving an audience to Cindy Christiansen another member of the community committee that is working to reduce the impacts of airplane noise. They held a community meeting and gave a presentation which can be found here. The chairs of the committee, Sheryl Fleitman and Philip Johenning also sent a letter to Richard Sullivan, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs in which they outline impacts and make a number of requests which include but are not limited to installation of more noise monitors (Milton only has one), a reduction of flights and elimination of low altitude flights between 10:00pm and 7:00am, use improved reporting software. The full text of their letter can be found here.

In her conversation with the Selectmen Ms. Christiansen urged the Selectmen to comment on the environmental assessment on or before July 3rd, look to combine efforts with neighboring towns that are affected, and appeal the decision. “Milton could win this one,” Ms. Christiansen said. The response from the selectmen was mixed. Mr. Hurley note that there simply wasn’t time to craft a response. He did not see how it could be done with less than a week. Ms. Conlon mentioned taking  up the issue with Milton legislative delegation and Mr. Keohane said they should contact the executive boards in Canton and Dedham.

It is a confusing situation. The comment period has ended. However, Ms. Christiansen maintains that there was a significant change made in the reporting data from the draft report to the final report (ie between claiming to use total census figures and using household census figures – this was a change in the study population). That change is important enough to reset the comment period according to Christiansen. She said the FAA will maintain that the comment period has ended. Second, there is the notion of a 6 month implementation trial. However, there is no clear understanding of what the process is for that. (An email has been sent to Terry English of the FAA seeking information).

Hurley said, “I want to know what the impact of 33L is.”, and Keohane said he wanted to get sufficient information back. The committee fighting this has put together a document with FAA contact information and more. You can find it here.