Judge in Phoenix, Arizona, orders mediation between FAA and City in flight path dispute

In June, the City of Phoenix, Arizona, sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over flight path changes – part of NextGen – that have led to aircraft noise that has been plaguing parts of the city and historic neighbourhoods. The noise problem started in September 2014 when the FAA implemented the new flight paths. There were suddenly thousands of noise complaints, with anger at the noise and its impacts on health and quality of life, and impact on house prices. The City authorities said the FAA didn’t properly study how the change would impact residents. The City has tried  to resolve the issues with the FAA, but without success. Now a judge has ordered that the FAA and City of Phoenix try and work out an agreement in mediation, which might avoid a lengthy legal battle. Many residents would like to see flight paths reverting to how they were before August 2014, but that may be unlikely. However the mediation is not binding, which means without an agreement, the issue could head back to court.


 

Judge in Phoenix, Arizona, orders mediation between FAA and Ciy in flight path dispute

A battle has been brewing since 2014 between residents in the City of Phoenix and the FAA. At issue are flight path changes that take planes directly over some historic neighborhoods.

By: Jessica Flores (Fox 10. Arizona News)
JAN 11 2016

Now the parties could be one step closer to resolving things. A judge has ordered that the FAA and City of Phoenix try and work out an agreement in mediation.

The FAA made the changes citing safety and reduced emissions, but the City of Phoenix has received thousands of complaints and then took the issue to court. [See below]. They say the FAA didn’t properly study how the change would impact residents. Now that the court has moved the issue into mediation, it’s potentially avoiding a lengthy legal battle.

Marge and Gerry McCue have lived in their historic downtown Phoenix home for 55 years. Gerry loves the community so much that he draws it in his free time. But what the couple cannot stand is the noisy neighbors up above.

“I’m really annoyed, you go here, they come again, and mentally it takes you down and distracts you,” said Gerry McCue.

Since the FAA changed the flight path to go over these homes, frustrations have boiled over into court.

“Now we’re being noised out,” he said.

A judge has asked the FAA to resolve the issue with the City of Phoenix and the residents in mediation, some residents here are feeling cautiously optimistic.

“We would like the FAA to change the flights paths back to what it was, we certainly think there is room for compromise with how the flight path as it is today, and flight path as it was, that’s what we welcome,” said Steve Dreiseszun.

Residents say the planes up above are not only noisy, they say the whole issue is devaluing their property.

“The property owners are losing money while someone else is saving fuel, and I don’t think that is reasonable at all,” said Marge McCue.

“This is my equity, if I go to sell to have the money to finish my days, well I’ll say I just lost 30% of equity,” said Gerry.

For the McCues, the only humming they want to hear over their patio are the birds.

The FAA only said they plan to participate in the mediation.

The City of Phoenix and a private attorney for the neighborhood says they hope to find a resolution. However they note the mediation is not binding, which means without an agreement, the issue could head back to court.

http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/arizona-news/73035740-story


 

Earlier;

The city of Phoenix is suing the FAA due to noise from NextGen flight path changes

The City of Phoenix, Arizona, is suing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over flight path changes – part of NextGen – that have led to aircraft noise that’s plaguing parts of the city. The Mayor said the city has tried to resolve the issue numerous times, but the FAA hasn’t proposed any meaningful changes. The noise problem started in September 2014 when the FAA  implemented the new flight paths.  City officials, the FAA and some airlines have met to try to work out some improvements, but the FAA say that would take 6 – 12 months to do. Hence the lawsuit as Phoenix city say the solutions don’t do enough to make up for hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the city’s noise mitigation efforts. The FAA has not been very helpful. A city spokesperson said: “The FAA’s actions have caused the community extreme discomfort, with many unable to sleep at night or pursue normal daily activities.” It claims the FAA caused “a negative impact on the Phoenix community without proper due process, notification and consideration.”  Phoenix plans to reach out to other US cities facing similar problems, to join in the lawsuit. Other cities troubled by noise due to NextGen changes are Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Boston.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/06/26560/


See earlier:

In USA the FAA’s new air traffic control system NextGen is causing major noise pollution

The American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s new air traffic control system NextGen is causing considerable upset in parts of the USA, in the same way that precision navigation that is being promoted by the CAA is in the UK. The overhaul of airspace and flight paths in the USA is intended to save airlines fuel and time. But the new routes are causing misery to the people who now find themselves, unexpectedly and with no warning, under them. One resident, in Phoenix, said:  “If you can imagine yourself at an air show, that’s what it would sound like.” Planes sometimes every 30 seconds for hours at a time.  “Am I angry? Absolutely. I’m furious.” In Phoenix planes now fly low over heavily populated neighbourhoods.  The Mayor said the FAA did not hold a single public hearing notifying neighbours of the change, nor did the agency ever meet with him. The Mayor commented: “I think that the choice that was made to have such a disproportionate impact over such a small number of people is really fundamentally unfair and unacceptable.”  A 2012 Congressional FAA authorization bill fast-tracked the roll out of NextGen by exempting it from normal environmental impact reviews and public hearings. NextGen is also causing problems for people at JFK and LaGuardia airports.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/03/25390/

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