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STUDIO CITY : Airport, Residents at Impasse Over Noise

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Studio City residents found themselves at an impasse this week when they invited a Burbank Airport official to their residents association meeting to discuss concerns about aircraft noise over their homes.

“We continue to believe that the airport authority could work with the community and at the present time is choosing not to do so,” said Scott Lorimer, secretary of the Studio City Residents Assn.

For his part, Tom Greer, the airport’s executive director, called the Tuesday night meeting “one of the more difficult meetings I’ve been to.”

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“People were cordial, at least the moderator was, but I had a distinct feeling that whatever information they had already been told was beyond repudiation,” Greer said. “And they were not interested in hearing the facts as I presented them because they just didn’t believe me.”

Neighboring homeowners associations have been battling both Burbank and Van Nuys airports for years over the issue of aircraft noise.

Earlier this month, the Studio City association joined the Encino and Valley Village residents associations in distributing thousands of flyers encouraging people to lodge complaints with the airports when they are disturbed by aircraft noise.

Residents living south of Burbank Airport want the airport to have more planes take off in an easterly direction from the airport’s east-west runway. Presently, most airplanes take off in a southerly direction from the airport’s north-south runway.

At the meeting, Greer said the airport authority can do little about aircraft noise because pilots are authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to use the runways in whatever manner they see fit. Air traffic controllers can only deny clearance or delay an aircraft because of other air traffic, he said.

According to the official, pilots tend to favor the southerly takeoff because the north-south runway is 1,000 feet longer than the east-west runway, the north-south strip aids acceleration because it slopes downward, and FAA restrictions prohibit large commercial airliners from using the east-west runway because of the proximity of the airport terminal.

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But Lorimer countered that smaller aircraft could use the east-west runway safely, and that the airport could encourage them to use that strip.

“We support (the airport’s) need to expand,” Lorimer said. “We just want to find some sort of solution that will help alleviate some of the noise that comes directly over residential areas to the south and to get the airport to come up with a policy that will help share noise with surrounding communities.”

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