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Sounding off

Laura Sturza

Drummer Glenn Ochenkoski only practices in the afternoons when his

neighbors are out, but he no longer needs to limit himself to that



His home was recently sound-insulated through the

Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport’s free program.

Though he had not received complaints about playing during his

four years in Burbank, “it’s nice to know that I’m not disturbing


anybody at all,” Ochenkoski said.

The professional musician -- who toured with the national

production of “West Side Story” and is preparing for a show with Pat

Boone -- said he is thrilled with the nearly $33,000 of work to his

1939 home. It was outfitted with double- paned windows, new doors,

central air conditioning and insulation that also keeps the house


Other residents in the noise-impact zone -- where the sound


exceeds 65 decibels -- who want to turn down the volume on flight

noise should call the Airport Authority by mid-March. If they don’t

respond by then, they will still be eligible but will be put on the

waiting list, Airport Authority spokesman Victor Gill said.

More than 800 of 5,400 eligible homes have been insulated or are

under construction since the free program started in 1998. The

airport aims to complete houses in the area where noise levels exceed

65 decibels before starting work on houses in areas farther from the



Though Gill said it is difficult to pinpoint what 65 decibels

sounds like, it is similar to the noise from a busy boulevard at rush


One Burbank resident anxious to enjoy “some peace” is Luisa


She lives one block from the loudest noise zone, and her family

looks forward to the day they don’t have to close the window to have

a conversation, Lazaro said.

Homeowners must sign an agreement that allows aircraft to fly over

their house and promises they won’t sue the airport over air-traffic


The program is not federally mandated, but started when a lawsuit

was settled between the airport and the city of Los Angeles. The

settlement stipulated that the airport conduct a study to find which

neighborhoods are in its noise-impact area, and resulted in the

program becoming eligible to receive 80% of its financing from the

Federal Aviation Administration. The federal agency funds the work to

“ensure compatibility between aviation interests” and residents, Gill


The Airport Authority covers the other 20%.

“There is no mandate that an airport insulate houses, but there is

a broader responsibility to be a good neighbor,” Gill said.

For information about the airport’s sound insulation program, call

842-1708 or 842-1732.