Rep. Schiff vows to take up helicopter noise regulations for L.A. region next year

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) on Wednesday announced plans to take up legislation to regulate low-flying helicopters above residential neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, saying voluntary controls for the "persistent fly-overs” were clearly insufficient.

The announcement comes amid longstanding complaints from residents, particularly in the San Fernando Valley, of low-flying police and news helicopters intruding on their suburban soundtracks.

Some news stations voluntarily curtailed the number and hours of helicopter flights during the second Carmageddon event on the 405 Freeway after fielding numerous complaints from residents and calls for restraint from L.A. officials.

But Schiff on Wednesday said he would take up stalled legislation introduced by Howard Berman – the Valley Village-area congressional representative who lost his longtime seat after a hard fought November election -- that would require the Federal Aviation Administration to establish rules on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopters in Los Angeles.

Schiff – who issued his statement after meeting with FAA officials on Wednesday – said the region’s mountains and canyon passes only amplify the impact to residents who must contend with the “intrusive, disruptive and often non-emergency related helicopter traffic above their homes and neighborhoods.”

“Add to that the problem of tourist and press helicopters tracking celebrities in the Hollywood Hills and West Hollywood, or perusing the Rose Bowl, and you have a significant impact on the quality of life of thousands of constituents,” Schiff said.

Speaking of the calls for voluntary restraint in covering the second Carmageddon, Mike Cavender, executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Assn., told the Los Angeles Times in September that he would “expect the media in Los Angeles to take note of the concern, but ultimately if it's a newsworthy story they're covering, they have an obligation to cover it."

For his part, Berman also issued a statement Wednesday, saying he was heartened that Schiff would be taking up the mantle in pushing for the legislation next year.

The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.

-- Jason Wells, Times Community News

Follow Jason Wells on Facebook, Google+ and on Twitter: @JasonBretWells.

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