In opposition to the Federal Aviation Administration’s proposal to officially change flight paths from the Burbank and Van Nuys airports, over 2,100 residents have signed a petition created by Studio City for Quiet Skies. The procedures were initially scheduled to publish Nov. 8, but are now delayed to Jan. 3.
Studio City for Quiet Skies is an organization that is working to reverse the new air traffic laws, and has helped lead residents of Studio City, Sherman Oaks and Encino against the FAA. The group launched the petition through Change.org.
The FAA’s proposed procedure, created for economic reasons, will not only change flight paths from over the 101 Freeway to over residential areas, but will also narrow them from six miles to half a mile, a founder of Studio City for Quiet Skies Kimberly Turner (Sophie ’12) said. The decreased size of the flight paths causes an increase and concentration of airplane noise. Though the procedure has not been officially approved, planes have been following these flight paths since March of last year.
“They did this without any notice to our community,” Turner said. “We get [from Burbank and Van Nuys airports] over 240 jets a day over our homes, and over the Santa Monica Mountains. They’re about ninety seconds apart. They’re very low, they’re very loud and we never used to have this type of noise. Prior to the shifted flight paths, we only got the occasional airplane. It’s quite the incursion now, and it’s made much worse because of the echo of the hillside.”
Despite a voluntary curfew from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Turner said planes frequently disrupt residents around 6 a.m. and past midnight.
In addition to the noise, residents are concerned that pollutants from the low-flying planes will harm their health and the environment.
“The planes that fly above us are about 3,000 feet,” Turner said. “At that level the pollutants fall to the ground instead of into the atmosphere. These pollutants are dangerous, especially for your lungs. The FAA has also been running these procedures without results of an environmental study on our area, and that’s one of our major complaints.”
Turner said Studio City for Quiet Skies has contacted the FAA repeatedly, but the FAA has not returned their calls or addressed their concerns. However, also Turner said with that City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Councilman Paul Krekorian and Rep. Brad Sherman have assisted the residents in their efforts by writing letters to the FAA.
Additionally, a legislation passed in the House of Representatives on Sept. 26 imposes new requirements on the FAA regarding low-altitude flights over certain areas. Turner said Section 175 of the legislation, which addresses community noise concerns, was tailor-made for the local residents who signed the petition.
“[A representative from] Sherman’s office told me he’s never seen three communities come together over something so quickly as they did when we were trying to get people to comment on the FAA’s procedures,” Tuner said. “So, that was the positive that has come of this. All three communities, Sherman Oaks, Encino and Studio City, have really come together to fight the FAA on this issue and to retake our tranquil hillside.”
The community has filed complaints directly to the Burbank Airport, who Turner said supports the residents against the FAA.
Studio City for Quiet Skies will hold a meeting with representatives of the Burbank Airport at the Buena Vista Public Library on Oct. 18, where residents will be able to voice their opinions to the Airport Authority.