Airport noise committee applications sought | SierraSun.com
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Airport noise committee applications sought

DARIN OLDE, Sierra Sun

In response to community concerns, the Truckee Tahoe Airport District is taking measures to appoint an official noise abatement committee, an advisory group to help the airport reduce noise pollution for nearby residents.

Board member Ken Foster is heading up the new committee, and has requested interested parties submit a letter by March 22 explaining why they would like to become a member of the committee and why their experiences could help the committee reach its goals.

Foster suggested to the board that the advisory committee consist of three pilots and three non-pilots. He also suggested that the non-pilots should live year-round in different neighborhoods surrounding the airport.

A noise abatement expense of $10,000 is included in the 2000/2001 budget, and will be used, given board approval, for noise-related expenses.

While this is the first time the airport has sought an official committee to handle noise, the airport had an unofficial committee last year.

“The committee was kind of a think tank,” said the airport’s Interim General Manager Phred Stoner. That committee, organized last spring, was created by former board member Robert Marshall, who presented the board with the committee’s suggestions. The committee outlined plans for aerial photographs that would contain superimposed noise-sensitive areas pilots could use as a guide for less intrusive landing patterns.

Because of the November board election and the winter months, however, the project was delayed. The project fell by the wayside entirely when Marshall, the former noise abatement committee chair, was defeated in his reelection campaign to the board last fall.

With Foster succeeding him in the committee chair, the board hopes to establish a permanent advisory group under the Brown Act.

“There is a noise problem at the airport,” said seven-year Martis Valley resident Mary Dutra, “and it has only gotten worse and worse. (The board says) they have addressed the noise and that is not true.”

Concerns over airport noise peaked last summer when a small group of residents who live near the airport brought regional attention to airport policy and operation.

Feeling that the airport was used exclusively for affluent corporate entities and a small group of pilots, the group argued that the airport was not incorporating public concerns or interacting with the community.

With a permanent committee, the airport board hopes to reduce noise and establish a higher level of communication with the public.

Candidate selection will lean away from extremists, Stoner said, as he feels the board will want to establish a successful working relationship. But some in the community questioned what would define an “extremist.”

“I feel very strongly that I would be a good representative of the community but I am concerned I may be viewed (by the board) as an extremist,” said Lynne Larson, who was an airport board candidate last fall.

Larson said she and the other non-pilots who ran for the board had to be extreme in bringing attention to the noise issue to get the board to recognize it was a problem.

“This business has been in the works since the campaign started. The airport can no longer live in a vacuum,” she added.

Send application letters to 10356 Truckee Airport Rd., Truckee CA 96161 or via fax at (530) 587-2984.


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