The recent change in take-off routes at LaGuardia Airport is the most pressing environmental issue facing northeast Queens communities. This was done with no public input and we are suffering from almost unbearable noise pollution affecting our quality of life and even our health. It occurs from early morning to very late at night. State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblymember Ed Braunstein have been joined by Congressmembers Grace Meng and Steve Israel on the issue.
What has been lost in the discussions, though, are the very severe economic consequences to our neighborhoods if the noise is not made to stop. That is the tremendous loss of residential property values that will be suffered in Little Neck, Douglaston, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Auburndale, East Flushing and Whitestone. There are approximately $50 billion dollars of residential property alone in these areas.
The FAA itself has commissioned studies demonstrating the loss in property values as a result of noisy flight patterns. The general rule of thumb that these studies come up with is that property will decline one percentage point in value for each decibel of aircraft noise. These studies also demonstrate that more expensive properties suffer greater percentage losses in values than medium or low value properties. For residential properties alone in our area then, each one percent loss is about $500 million. We could expect total losses in the billions of dollars.
At a public meeting in Bay Terrrace recently the representatives of the FAA admitted that they had done no cost-benefit analysis at all of their new take-off policy. All of us, and all of our elected officials, must make our voices heard.
Member of Community Board 11