Residents, officials against proposed changes in departure paths at Hollywood Burbank Airport


Residents from Studio City and Sherman Oaks, as well as airport officials are asking the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider its proposal to change departure paths from Hollywood Burbank Airport.

A grassroots group called Studio City for Quiet Skies launched a petition on about three weeks ago that object to the federal agency’s plans for two new waypoints near the Los Angeles city neighborhoods, which members of the group think would increase aircraft noise in those areas.

As of Friday, 1,850 people had signed the petition.

The FAA issued a statement on Aug. 21, stating that the proposed changes would better separate departing flights out of Burbank from arriving flights into Los Angeles International Airport as well as into Burbank.

Residents from the L.A. neighborhoods have already expressed concerns about the recent increase in noise from departing flights from Burbank since the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen, in Southern California.

Charles Bergman, a Studio City resident who works in Sherman Oaks, said he’s noticed how much lower the planes have been flying over his neighborhood and the noise associated with the aircraft being at a lower altitude.

Living near the hillside in Coldwater Canyon, Bergman said the noise has gotten so bad that he and his wife have to make sure that all the doors and windows in their house are closed to keep the aircraft noise out.

“The planes only started going over our house over the last few months,” he said.

“When my wife and I are in the backyard of our house, we have to stop our conversation when the planes fly over until we can hear ourselves,” he added.

It’s not just residents who have had concerns. Patrick Lammerding, deputy executive director of planning and development at the Hollywood Burbank Airport, wrote a letter to the FAA on Aug. 21 saying the proposed departure procedures would likely cause an increase in noise over Studio City and Sherman Oaks.

“It is equally important to us that we act as a good neighbor to the surrounding communities that we serve and who support us,” Lammerding wrote.

“To that end, we cannot express support for the proposed procedures in their current layout, but we believe that shifting the waypoints north to an area that is more compatible with the overflights between these two waypoints, in this case the 101 Freeway, would provide the users with the same advantages of the proposed procedures while mitigating the noise effects to the communities,” he added.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), whose district covers the western and southern portions of the San Fernando Valley, wrote to acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell on Aug. 22, stating the proposed changes would have a negative impact on those who live in his district.

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, whose district includes Studio City, Valley Village and North Hollywood, also wrote a letter to Elwell on Aug. 23 opposing the proposed departure changes.

Krekorian, a former Burbank Unified school board member and former state assemblyman, asked the federal agency to conduct a thorough environmental impact study before even considering implementing any new departure procedures.

He added that flights going over the hillsides and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains would amplify the noise for those who live in the south side of his district, as well as those outside of his jurisdiction.

“Concentrating the flights causes big problems,” Krekorian said on Thursday. “At minimum, the FAA needs to ensure complete environmental review and opportunity for public input.”

Being familiar with the noise issues surrounding Hollywood Burbank, Krekorian said residents need to remain vigilant and organized until the FAA listens to them.

“I certainly hope that my constituents and everybody in the East [San Fernando] Valley will continue to be forceful in speaking out about this,” he said.

“The people need to be heard before significant changes are made in those operations,” he added.

Twitter: @acocarpio