Sound impact zone continues to shrink around Bob Hope Airport

The sound-proofing program for homes around Bob Hope Airport is slowly wrapping up and airfield officials are urging property owners who haven’t signed up to contact them as soon as possible.

“It is winding down because we’ve done so much insulation,” Monica Newhouse-Rodriguez, deputy executive director of facilities and planning, said after a public workshop this week where residents learned about a study the airport is conducting to analyze the current and five-year forecast for aircraft noise.

The primary purpose of the study is to continue receiving federal funding for the airport’s ongoing residential sound-proofing program, which has provided new windows and doors, as well as other sound insulation measures, to more than 2,220 residences and four schools around the airport at a cost of more than $100 million since the early 1990s.

Out of 2,780 single-family homes that are eligible for the program, 723 have not been signed up yet, according to the airport.

Due to quieter aircraft, past residential sound-proofing projects and less activity at Bob Hope Airport, the noise impact area around the airfield has shrunk from 375 acres in 1978 to just 19 acres today, according to airport officials.

And when the latest study is complete, the noise impact area will likely shrink again, Newhouse-Rodriguez said. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to approve the study next July, at which time the new area will go into effect.

And in about three years, the FAA is expected to make the criteria to qualify for residential sound-proofing much more stringent, Newhouse-Rodriguez added.

Most of the residents who attended the workshop at the airport either lived in apartments — which are not covered by the sound-proofing program — or found that they resided outside the noise impact area.

When airport officials complete the latest noise impact study, they’re going to request that apartments be included again after the FAA dropped them from eligibility in 2010.

That may be good news for Bunny Knox, who said planes fly over her apartment on Denny Avenue.

“I can almost reach up and tickle their tummies,” she said.

Bruce Ablin, who lives outside the impact area near the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Riverside Drive, came to the meeting because he recently started hearing aircraft fly over his residence.

In looking at flight-path maps, airport officials found that one plane did fly over his home, which “sensitized” him to the sound and making more aware of all aircraft noise.

“That’s actually very common,” Newhouse-Rodriguez said.

For more information about the residential sound-proofing program, call (818) 842-1732.

-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam


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