Katz forms aviation task force to fight jet noise in borough

By Juan Soto

In an effort to have one strong voice in the war against the Federal Aviation Administration, the Queens borough president established a new aviation task force to try to curb airplane noise generated by flights at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.

Although former borough presidents also had an aviation task force, Melinda Katz recently reshaped it and named the panel the Queens Civic Aviation Coalition. The new group was established Oct. 17. The task force met for the second time Monday.

The panel will write a letter to the FAA addressing concerns of residents in neighborhoods like Bayside and Flushing about jet noise and pollution. In addition, the group will also express its disagreement with the FAA over not conducting environmental studies before making any flight changes.

The Queens Civic Aviation Coalition is comprised of Katz, some of her senior staff, representatives from Community Boards 7, 10, 11 and 14, representatives from several civic associations, an aviation activist and the Queens Quiet Skies activist group.

“I believe it’s going to be a very good group for presenting our common interests and point of view,” said Janet McEneaney, president of Queens Quiet Skies, an organizations that was formed in northeast Queens.“We will express to the FAA our dismay for their decision to get rid of all environmental reviews for their flight changes.”

In addition, the Port Authority, which manages both airports, will host a working meeting of the Aviation Community Roundtable Nov. 20 at York College to further discuss residents’ complaints about aircraft noise. The idea of the roundtables is to establish a multifaceted series of steps “to work closer with communities on addressing” jet noise.

The Port Authority said the main objective of the roundtables is to address the noise issues “while supporting growth” at the airports. Residents said the increased plane noise is also burdening their lives and lowering their property values.

In another development, the state agency announced it had hired an environmental company to develop noise exposure maps to seek noise mitigation solutions.

Environmental Science Associates will conduct a study over the next three years to help alleviate aircraft noise complaints from residents. The $8 million study for both JFK and LaGuardia seeks, among other goals, to use information “to help develop potential plans to help minimize noise impacts.”

The so-called federal Part 150 airport noise compatibility will pinpoint areas affected by noise above an average of 55 decibels for information purposes.

“The continuing progress toward the federal Part 150 studies for Kennedy, LaGuardia … marks another milestone in the agency’s efforts to address residents’aircraft noise concerns in New York,” said Thomas Bosco, aviation director for the Port Authority.

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto‌@cngl‌ocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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