By Madina Toure
City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) is calling on the Department of City Planning to work with the Federal Aviation Administration to consider reverting to LaGuardia Airport’s old flight paths if it cannot resolve the airplane noise issue.
Before 2012, flight paths were routed over Citi field, the tennis stadium and Flushing Meadows Corona Park but would be diverted over Flushing during the US Open. But in 2012, the FAA approved the Flushing flight path for general use.
In a response dated Dec. 2, to a draft document of the environmental impact statement for the proposed Flushing West waterfront development plan, Koo said low- flying planes and the noise have caused health concerns for residents in his district. He noted that the proposed development area would be directly under LGA’s current flight pattern.
Koo, who lives in downtown Flushing, said the FAA has not conducted a comprehensive review of the flight paths approved in 2012 and said he keeps his patio door closed because of the noise.
“The noise problem was not that bad in Flushing but after that (2012), every day, they fly over downtown Flushing,” he said. “By the Sheraton Hotel area, you can actually see the airplane flying over and sometimes you worry about it hitting the roof of the hotel.”
The Flushing West plan would clean up and rezone 60 acres on the Flushing waterfront and create a planned community with waterfront access and housing and commercial space.
The pre-2012 patterns include planes flying over Flushing Meadows Corona Park instead of over downtown Flushing and the homes of residents, he said, pointing out that Flushing West is also entirely in the same 65 DNL (day night average sound level) high noise area. This is a measurement taken by federal agencies such as the FAA over 24 hours.
On other fronts, Koo also called on the city to take care of cement companies on Northern and College Point boulevards due to shopkeepers across the street complaining about being unable to breathe because of the cement smell, a more detailed plan for cleaning up Flushing Creek and a bus transit center to avoid bus congestion in downtown Flushing.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour