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Noise, Noise, Noise - Love Field's Good Neighbor Program Meeting had plenty of it

Updated: Jul 20, 2021



Friends of Bachman Lake and about 50 other community members signed up to attend the Good Neighbor Program meeting this month. We saw Gay Donnell Willis (D13 City Council) on the attendee list and understand that Jesse Moreno (D2 City Council) was there too. However, due to technical issues neither was able to speak. They were able to experience the limits of this one-way community meeting with the airport first-hand. There are a lot of benefits to virtual meetings in terms of accessibility and we hope that Love Field can address the issues with their approach versus opting for in-person-only meetings in the future. Maybe these new City Council members can help bring about improvements?

The barriers to participation in the Good Neighbor Program meeting are pretty high, a person has to: (1) register for the meeting, (2) provide questions in advance, and (3) interact only via the chat windows. Just knowing that the meeting is happening is a challenge! In any event, we have one tid bit to help in the event you come up with questions after you’ve registered for the meting. Just send an email with your questions to Love Field’s Community Outreach manager, Helena Thompson (Helena.thompson@dallascityhall.com), she will make sure it gets added to the presentation!


If you are interested in viewing the Good Neighbor Program presentation, click through to see either the English or Spanish versions.

There was a clear theme for the meeting held on July 13: noise, noise noise. As all of the neighbors know, the aircraft activity, runway construction, engine testing, and truck/vehicular noise from the airport is a major problem. As one community member wrote: "we are not here to suffer for Love Field and SW Airlines." There were FAA specific noise terms and programs mentioned during the meeting that we were not familiar with, so we found this very comprehensive website put together by the FAA, regarding aircraft noise and its impacts. Very helpful.


In any event, the response from Mark Duebner, Director of Aviation, regarding the myriad of noise issues was disappointing. There was no ownership of the problem that affects thousands and no consideration for what else the airport could do to help. He said that:

  1. There is no curfew for flights in/out of Love Field and stated that the City does not have the authority to restrict aircraft operations.…How about at least writing letters to the airlines scheduling flights during the quiet hours?

  2. They cannot do anything to buffer noise….Heeelllooo, trees are a buffer but none are planted on either the east or west side of the airport!

  3. They cannot tap into funds for school/house insulation because they have not done a Part 150 study.... So, they're saying there is money they're choosing not to tap into because there is no Part 150, which federal dollars can fund?

  4. They are in compliance with the FAA 65 DNL (day/night average sound level) contour standard..... Mind you, the FAA may reduce this to 50 DNL so why not help neighbors and be ready for that eventuality?

If Love Field would really want to be a Good Neighbor, they would already have the Part 150 study done; they would be actively pushing back on the airlines that do not abide by the quiet times; they would be planting trees and bushes to help muffle the noise and offset the heat cause by the concrete runways; they would be using a 50 DNL contour as a best practice for communication to neighborhoods; and they would be helping to sound insulate all the public and private schools and day care facilities in the area that fall within that 50 DNL countour. If City Council does not have the cycles to focus on the need for noise abatement best-in-class practices from Love Field, then maybe they should establish a Board of Directors to help them provide the necessary oversight. Just saying...


Going back to the meeting, the first project discussed by Anthony Andrews, a manager at the Department of Aviation, was the Lemmon Avenue/Bluffview Intersection. A project that for the last couple of years has left neighbors wondering why it was being done, as there was no value add for the neighborhoods. If you had suspicions there was more than meets the eye, they were confirmed on Tuesday when Andrew spoke to how wonderful the new intersection has been for ingress/egress to the Department of Aviation. Ayayay! In a similar vein, Love Field is spending a lot of money on their entry road – work that improves the airport, not the community. Once again, why are funds not spent on the Part 150 study so we have data and recommendations that would help the well-being of the neighbors?


Other questions that were raised during the meeting but were not effectively answered included:


RUNWAY RECONSTRUCTION:

  • Do you know whether an explanation was given to the community as a whole as to why a communication (flyer) was not sent to impacted areas regarding the runway construction? What areas did Love Field communicate to? Was this based on zip codes? Do you know if the communication plan is being revisited to ensure that moving forward the gap is addressed? As we see it, the mitigation plan laid out in section 4.2.1 of the FONSI letter was not executed. FONSI is the acronym for Finding of No Significant Impact.

  • Please provide the specific zip codes that were used for the runway reconstruction notification. Impacted neighborhoods were NOT notified. Specifics were requested prior to this meeting on which areas were notified, your update is not providing the necessary details. Feel free to email if needed. A slide showing a map with areas covered / not covered would have been helpful.

Response to these two items was that Love Field used the contours of the temporary/projected 65DNL map.


NOISE ISSUES / ABATEMENT:

  • Do you know when the last time was that Love Field worked with DISD on an analysis of the noise impact on area schools? In talking to area parents, the consensus is that classes stop when planes are passing overhead. Are there FAA regulations regarding airports providing insulation mitigation for schools? The Runway Reconstruction May 2019 document, section 3-11 lists only 7 'noise sensitive' schools (• Thomas J. Rusk Middle School • Maple Lawn Elementary School • Obadiah Knight Elementary School • Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School • Uplift Triumph Preparatory School • Academy for Academic Excellence - Letot Campus (juvenile detention school) • Jose “Joe” May Elementary School), what was the criteria used to create the list as there are may other schools in the area?

Love Field worked with DISD in 1994 and 1999 to provide soundproofing for schools inside the 65 DNL in place at that time. It's perplexing why DISD is not demanding that a 50DNL be applied in this area and insulation provided for other schools in the area.

  • What is in place currently to improve the noise abatement/mitigation in the surrounding neighborhoods on the east side of the airport; given the great increase at Dallas Love Field? Have they considered putting up Noise Barriers on the east side of the airport? Are we part of the FAA Part 150 Program; where AIP funds may be available to assist with our noise abatement/mitigation efforts? Would this not benefit our efforts?

Have no idea what Part 150 is about and what it entails? Here's a link if you want to read about it. Apparently it has not been done at Love Field. So, we really have no idea about the incompatible land use given the noise contours of the airport and thus have no federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding available for noise abatement efforts. This is the quintessential ostrich sticking its head in the sand because there is probably a lot of mitigation that would be needed around the airport. By the way, for the noise contours and to see the live radar of the sound receivers, visit the Love Field Noise Lab.

  • Do you have any plans to address the noise especially at night? Sometimes it rattles my windows and I'm over 2 miles away. I don't generally notice it much during the day unless there's military jets landing/taking off.

The response was basically 'we can't do anything'. The issue with this is that the City of Dallas is not enforcing the voluntary agreement with Southwest, Delta and Alaska airlines. These airlines are clearly SCHEDULING flights during the quiet hours. For example, Southwest Airlines has flights scheduled to arrive from Chicago at 11:20PM and from Phoenix at 11:30PM (check for yourself) How can City Council help?


TREES and TRAILS:

  • What is Love Field considering in order to create the final portion of the Loop Trail along Denton Drive?

The airport is stating that there are limited options on Denton Drive and do not seem willing to consider ceding any land within the fence for this project. It seems like this is something that needs to be researched and validated and not to be accepted as the punt that Love Field is trying to make to DART.

  • What are we doing to address the rampant “heat-Island” effects going on in Dallas; especially in this area? Look around. This area is losing established trees at an alarming rate. What kind of programs are being instituted to save our heirloom, heritage, shade trees? And what is being done to re-plant new shade trees for our streets, parkways and parking lots in this particular area of Dallas? There is no named “Tree-preservation zone” for THIS area of Dallas. That needs to be addressed by this committee towards the city of Dallas.

Although the response from the Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ) regarding the Urban Forest Master Plan was great, the whole point of this question is missed given that Love Fields' runways are among the biggest contributors to the heat cone. Maybe the better question for Love Field is: Why they are not planting trees/bushes on the perimeter of their property, parallel to the runways?

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