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OCR for page 8
8 Aircraft Noise: A Toolkit for Managing Community Expectations Best Practices for Managing Noise Compatibility Issues In responding to public demand, airports consider a variety of techniques to seek higher levels of compatibility between the aircraft operations and the surrounding use of land. The measures that appear to be most effective in achieving the greatest level of compatibility are those that move large numbers of aircraft from areas of higher population density to areas of lower population density. Such measures may be achieved only with the cooperation of the users and the FAA's Air Traffic Organization through the piloting and control of where aircraft fly. Other actions may be implemented directly by the airport without the participation of the FAA, but will require the cooperation of the users to succeed. The four best practices identified as abate- ment actions that accomplish this effect are: Modify flight track locations to overfly corridors of compatibly used land, particularly at low altitude. In many cases this practice moves aircraft to greater distances from the noise source (the aircraft) to the receiver. Judicious design of the relocated flight track may contribute sub- stantially to the reduction of significant and moderate noise effects. Establish voluntary runway use programs that maximize, weather and activity allowing, the use of compatible lands as the principal arrival and departure corridors to the airport. In many cases, aircraft are able to accept small tailwind or crosswind components during landing or takeoff that will allow use of more compatible flight corridors than would strict adherence to flight into the wind. To abate aircraft noise on long standing communities located near the airport, the airports A combination of techniques to manage evaluated for this study frequently restricted run-up operations, particularly during the night- aircraft noise and the time hours. This action, although usually having little effect on DNL noise contours, responds use of land exposed to to community complaints about ground noise impacts on sleep or other quality of life issues. high levels of that Numerous airports interviewed for this evaluation indicated that open and frequent commu- noise is most effective, nication with their users was a critical component necessary to achieve the greatest benefits achieving a fair and balanced approach to from their noise abatement programs. Several endorsed formal or informal pilot awareness noise compatibility. programs and the belief that if pilots understand the issues of compatibility faced by the air- port and the things the pilot could do to manage the aircraft noise through flight techniques, then they would willingly participate. To implement such a "good neighbor" policy requires that the users understand the issues faced by the airport and the concerns expressed by the communities. These can be achieved through a variety of good communication techniques elaborated upon in the following chapters of this document and the associated Toolkit. A combination of techniques to manage aircraft noise and the use of land exposed to high levels of that noise is most effective, achieving a fair and balanced approach to noise compatibility. Of equal importance to the maintenance of a comprehensive program for compatible land use and the management of public expectations regarding aircraft noise are the actions that the air- port and the surrounding jurisdictions themselves may take to assure the improvement or continuation of compatible uses in the airport environs. Among the best practices identified as mitigation actions are: Acquire property within significant noise level areas to 1) reduce the number of incompatible uses now present, or 2) to eliminate the risk of development in incompatible uses. The sound insulation of noise sensitive property will mitigate the interior of the structure, but will not mitigate exterior activities. Such programs are typically limited to residences, churches, and schools within the highest noise levels at airports that cannot practicably acquire the areas of incompatible use. Comprehensive community planning can be a significant contributor to the maintenance of compatible uses in the airport environs, so long as the planning process uses aircraft noise as

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Introduction and Guidebook Summary 9 a determinant of the acceptability of land for various uses. When the planning process is com- pleted without regard for aircraft noise patterns and issues, noise sensitive uses often develop in conflict with aircraft noise. Noise overlay zoning is a tool that may be applied in the airport environs to assure the devel- opment of uses compatible with airport operations. It may restrict use to or allow develop- ment of commercial, industrial, and open space properties in high-noise areas and reserve areas of lower noise levels outside the patterns of significant loudness to uses that would be incompatible with aircraft operations. The subdivision design and approval process is frequently the most useful tool available for the establishment of avigation (noise and/or overflight) easements, disclosure requirements and non-suit covenants that may be attached to the deed of property for each lot. These mea- sures are not panaceas in that they often do not change attitudes toward the airport, although they may reduce liability. Collaboration between airport management and local land use planners in the review of pro- posed development may lead to the early detection of potential incompatibilities and their potential avoidance or mitigation by suggesting alternative designs or structural requirements to mitigate the noise exposure expected at the site. Reviews may be of individual requests for zoning change, requests for subdivision approval, or broader land use planning studies.