About 25 residents attended a workshop at Bob Hope Airport on Thursday, many of them complaining that they don't qualify for a program to soundproof their homes despite the intrusions of aircraft noise.
The workshop was designed to get public input as part of an update to a study looking at the impact of aircraft noise on areas surrounding the airport. One of the main reasons the airfield is conducting the study is to continue receiving federal funding for its residential sound insulation program.
Two of the attendees — Luis Navarro and Jeff Garner — live near the runway where most aircraft land from the west.
While they don't know each other, they both had the same complaint: They live near a runway, but they're not within the boundary covered by the soundproofing program.
As part of the insulation program, the airport pays for double-paned windows, new doors and insulation to be installed in homes.
Navarro, who has lived in a house on Cantlay Street north of the runway for 26 years, said the noise is overwhelming at times.
“We could be trying to have a conversation or trying to watch TV or trying to carry on a telephone conversation and you can't hear the other person because the noise is so severe,” he said.
Mark Hardyment, director of environmental programs at the airport, said the soundproof eligibility boundary narrows around a landing runway.
A descending plane's noise is more condensed into one location compared to an ascending aircraft, whose sound spreads out over a larger area, Hardyment said. Also, pilots taking off from Bob Hope Airport turn to the west as soon as they're able, further spreading out the sound, he added.
Inez T. Morin, who lives on Gentry Avenue near Hart Street in North Hollywood, is about one block from the eligibility boundary, she said. However, the aircraft noise still affects her, particularly from planes used by FedEx and UPS, which come in around 4 a.m.
Hardyment said there is a voluntary curfew from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. for commercial passenger airlines, but not for UPS or FedEx, which must fly in their cargo that early to ensure it's delivered the same morning.
The study is expected to last six months.
Because of reduced operations at the airport and the use of comparatively quieter planes, the likelihood that the eligibility boundaries would expand “faces a very steep hurdle,” Hardyment said.
Currently, the eligibility area encompasses 4,642 residential units. As of Dec. 31, 2,123 projects were completed, 135 were under construction, and 111 were in the design phase, Hardyment said.
That leaves 2,273 units that haven't taken part. Of those, 925 are multi-family units, which the Federal Aviation Administration deemed ineligible in 2009, Hardyment said.