Meeting Notes


BACK to Meetings Notes      

Final Meeting Notes

Date: May 9, 2002

Location: Fourth Presbyterian Church, Louisville, KY

Attendees: Following is a list of project participants in attendance at the Noise Compatibility Study Group meeting:

    J. Michael Brown, Chairman, Board of Directors, Regional Airport Authority of Louisville and Jefferson County

    Mike Clancey, Former Study Group Chair

    Dorn Crawford, Board of Directors, Regional Airport Authority of Louisville and Jefferson County; former Study Group Chair

    Jim DeLong, General Manager, Regional Airport Authority of Louisville and Jefferson County

    Col. Tom Marks, Kentucky Air National Guard, Former Study Group Chair

    Bill Simpson, UPS, former Study Group Chair

    John Sistarenik, Study Group Chair

    Bob Slattery, Noise Officer, Regional Airport Authority of Louisville and Jefferson County

    Rande Swann, Public Relations Director, Regional Airport Authority of Louisville and Jefferson County

    Eric Bernhardt, Leigh Fisher Associates

    Bill Willkie, Leigh Fisher Associates

    Lyndsay Tabler, Mo’ Better Marketing

Discussion Synopsis – Study Group Meeting #5

The meeting was called to order by the outgoing chairman, Mike Clancey, at 6:35 PM. Clancey then introduced the incoming chairman, John Sistarenik.

Sistarenik introduced himself and gave an overview of the meeting agenda, the status of the project, and definition of terms applicable to the night’s meeting. Sistarenik explained that during the meeting the consultants would present their assessment of the mitigation package. The Study Group will recommend a final mitigation package to the Regional Airport Authority (RAA) board for consideration at its July meeting.

Sistarenik went over the schedule for the remaining period of the project. He explained that the next RAA Board meeting would act on the noise abatement package in June 2002, followed by action on the mitigation package at its succeeding meeting in July 2002. During this period, the Noise Compatibility Study will continue, leading up to the seventh Noise Compatibility Study Group Meeting, scheduled toward the end of July. Sistarenik stated that the Study Group is planning to have a public hearing in August, which will be the affirming stage of the Noise Compatibility Program for Louisville International Airport at Standiford Field (SDF).

Sistarenik introduced Rob Holtzmann, the new ombudsman for the Airport Relocation Project. Holtzmann, a graduate of Bellarmine University, explained that he would be working as an independent advocate for those affected by the relocation program. Holtzmann’s phone number at work is 361-2706 and his cell phone is 439-1068.

Sistarenik then introduced Bob Slattery, the Noise Officer. Slattery gave his phone number (375-4546) for people to call if they have questions or comments regarding the Noise Study.

Slattery explained that the Study Group recommended that the RAA purchase a flight-tracking system. This system, the AirportMonitor, can be accessed through the Louisville International Airport’s Web site located at The AirportMonitor will be used to:

    • Monitor compliance with noise abatement procedures

    • Monitor effectiveness of noise abatement procedures

    • Communicate abatement issues to the community

    • Educate and inform residents about typical flight patterns and complexities of the air space

    • Provide residents a way to look up and review specific flights

    • Enhance the relationship between the airport and the community

Slattery explained that the information provided by the AirportMonitor will give airport authorities data needed to resolve citizen complaints and to recommend improvements to flight operations in a way that minimizes the impact of aircraft noise without compromising flight safety. He stated that the purpose of the program is not to penalize the airlines but to help the community understand the flight paths and patterns.

Slattery explained the safety features of the AirportMonitor, which include a ten-minute delay in the near-live flight tracking, and inability to download flight tracks to local computers; full flight information can only be retrieved after one hour.

One participant wanted to know how the community would benefit from the AirportMonitor. Slattery answered that the community could gain a better understanding of the flight paths and would be able to identify the specific planes causing noise in their areas.

Another participant inquired about adding noise monitors to the site. Slattery said it was possible, but probably very expensive.

One participant asked if the new system tracked UPS planes; Slattery replied that it did.

He continued by showing a simulation of the site, and explained how to navigate and use the AirportMonitor. He reminded everyone that the Web site just started collecting data in May 2002, so they wouldn’t be able to see any flight path information prior to that time.

Next, Slattery went over the amount of complaints logged since the last meeting. Most complaints were coming from north of the Airport, and at night. Slattery commented that only 40% of the complaints he received came from new addresses.

The floor was turned back over to Sistarenik, and he recognized Representative Jim Wayne in the audience.

Bill Willkie, a consultant with Leigh Fisher Associates, presented the proposed abatement alternative. Willkie showed the base-case noise contours and its projections for 2005. The contours included 60 and 65 DNL levels and grid point analysis beyond that point.

Willkie briefly touched on abatement alternatives, and then discussed the proposed alternative emerging from the Study Group. This alternative incorporated the best combination of measures. This abatement alternative moves the majority of the flight activities to a compatible corridor northwest of the airport to minimize the impact on the community, reducing non-compatible land use by approximately 112 acres.

Another important aspect of this alternative is contraflow. Willkie explained that aircraft should depart to, and arrive from, the south at night when weather permits, as that is the single measure generating the best results in reducing the noise. He stated that additional steps have been taken to enhance the effectiveness of this measure, such as the acquisition of more non-compatible land. Willkie added that another emphasis is to improve the contraflow exception by working with the airlines to adjust the flight schedules. With these in place, it has been projected that the proposed alternative will reduce contraflow exceptions by 50%. The Study Group decided to keep the existing flight patterns in the south, because, when changed, they still affect the same amount of people; however, the noise corridors will be reduced to minimize the noise.

Willkie gave a detailed description of the main foci of the proposed alternative, which include:

    • Reverse east-west runway preference, day- and nighttime.

    • Apply southbound divergence according to destination (current program).

    • Apply north flow preference to morning operations between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

    • FMS/GPS departure flight tracks.

    • Offset in runway 17R-approach procedure and runway 35L-departure procedure.

    • Reduction in contraflow exceptions.

    • Higher maneuvering altitudes.

Using the proposed alternative , Willkie referred to a table that projected the population and housing impacts in 2005, and commented that the program would be very effective.

Willkie explained that during the implementation of the proposed alternative it would be important to monitor performance based on navigational instruments in the aircraft. He added that a large part of the aircraft do not operate on the same navigational platforms and, therefore, would not be able to fly the required corridors with the same accuracy. This is crucial to the success of the alternative, as the concept is to keep the aircraft in more concentrated areas. Part of the implementation to be presented to the FAA will be procedures that ensure the proposed tracks are flown by the airlines. Some of these navigational systems and procedures may include:

    Offset approach:

    • Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS)

    • Localizer and Glide Slope (LDA Approach for non FMS/RNAV aircraft)

    • Standard Arrival Routes (STARS), arrival route to initial approach

    • Published approaches

    Arrival and departure flight tracks:

    • Standard Instrument Departures (SIDS)

    • STARS

    • NAVAIDS for non FMS/RNAV aircraft

One participant asked how navigational aids might look and operate. Willkie replied that it could possibly be a beacon similar to radio transmitters.

Willkie gave an overview of the assessment of mitigation measures and screening criteria that should be considered. He then went over the potential types of noise mitigation measures that included:

    • Remedial - used to solve an existing problem, such as purchasing insulation or properties.

    • Compensatory – intended to compensate (for example, financially) without eliminating the noise source itself.

    • Preventive - designed to prevent future problems from occurring.

Willkie referred to two maps in his explanation regarding potential land use controls. He noted that the noise contours of the Study Group’s proposed alternative conform strikingly to compatible districts laid out in the county’s Cornerstone 2020 plan:

    • Suburban or traditional workplace form districts encompass almost the entire DNL 65 noise exposure area under this alternative, and could define a "policy area" for compatible development.

    • A "buffer area" could be established over most of the 60 DNL, especially in the south, to encourage compatible land use development there as well.

Willkie presented assessments of the mitigation measures based on specific evaluation criteria. The Study Group had adopted screening criteria, based on consultant recommendations and local considerations, to evaluate the potential of each mitigation measure. The criteria included:

    • Conformity with the goals and the objectives of the study

    • Provision of noticeable noise reduction

    • Reduction in non-compatible land use

    • Offer of suitable restitution for noise exposure

    • Consistency with established land use policies and programs

    • Feasibility

Willkie then went through the measures and explained how they were rated.

    Remedial measures:

    • Purchase in fee simple - this measure met all evaluation criteria; there is some risk that new acquisitions may disrupt communities.

    • Innovative housing program - measured favorably on all evaluation criteria.

    • Residential soundproofing - this measure is limited to the interior of the houses, and doesn’t offer suitable restitution for noise exposure.

    • Institutional soundproofing - this measure has a similar outcome to the residential soundproofing but applies to institutions such as churches and schools.

    • Residential sales assistance program - this measure provides financial assistance to homeowners who would rather move and sell their property. This measure rates high on noise reduction and the conformity program but measures inconsistently with other criteria; it is a complex program to manage.

    • Residential purchase assurance program - the airport would become the last purchaser if owners cannot sell. This measure rates similarly to the residential sales assistance program; however, such programs are very costly, and create additional problems with the airport owning too much property.

    • Noise barriers - this measure is limited as only people who experience ground noise close to the runway can benefit from it.

    • Hush house - this measure is very specific and only addresses noise generated from engine maintenance run-ups, which would be done in an enclosure or pen. During the study, one of the least common complaints was that of engine run-up noise; therefore this measure isn’t very feasible.

    • Potential of emerging technology (Sound Absorptive Materials) - there are limited situations where this treatment would be beneficial. One has to be close enough to the noise source and the reflective sound for this to be effective.

    • Potential of emerging technology (Counter-Frequency Generators) - this measure would involve the generation of opposite sound waves to counteract the noise waves. This will be an expensive process and, as with sound-absorptive materials, these measures aren’t likely to be available within the next five years.

    Compensatory Measures:

    • Easement purchase - this measure is usually used in combination with other techniques such as insulation. A person who accepts the easement agrees to give up the legal right to sue the airport or the airlines for financial compensation. According to FAA guidelines, an easement is not meant to compensate for the noise generated, but to compensate for the easement’s effect on the value of the property. A property with an easement may be harder to sell, as owners are obligated to inform prospective buyers of the noise.

    • Tax abatement policies - the homeowner pays less tax , but taxing entities/jurisdictions are affected, due to the reduction in public revenue.

    Preventive Measures:

    • Noise buffers - a preserved area between the noise source and a residential area: for example, a park. This is a form of buy-out, as there is no noise reduction beyond the area acquired. The only people who would benefit from this measure are the ones who lived in the buffer area, as they get compensated when bought out.

    • Development rights (purchase and transfer) - this measure restricts the development of non-compatible land use in the noise exposure area. This can create opportunities for compatible development, but there has to be a demand in order to be successful.

    • Comprehensive planning - this measure incorporates the planning of development areas. It doesn’t provide any noise reductions for people currently in the areas; it just promotes compatible land use for the future.

    • Compatible land use (zoning) - this measure is designed for the prevention of future problems. The feasibility of this measure depends on the availability of alternative land uses.

    • Overlay zoning - may require additional insulation for properties that fall within the zone to promote additional and conditional use; for instance, daycare facilities.

    • Subdivision regulations - used to impose restrictions or exaction from the landowners. This is legally considered a privilege not a right, therefore the land-use authorities might be able to apply more restrictions and regulations as opposed to overlay zoning.

    • Building code requirements - this measure identifies a building code for certain features such as sound insulation. The biggest problem with this measure is that Kentucky’s building code does not allow for any local changes.

    • Disclosure ordinances - this is a statement adopted by the land-use authority stating that property in the noise zone must be disclosed to prospective buyers. This is an excellent measure to prevent and protect public investments, but it is hard to get passed by the current homeowners.

    • Tax incentive programs - this is an initiative that provides financial incentives to promote compatible land-use development, and has the potential to generate new activity.

    • Public information program - this measure provides information about noise levels to the community so that people can make informed decisions on where to move.

Willkie summarized a list of mitigation measures recommended for further consideration, which included:

    Remedial measures:

    • Purchase

    • Innovative housing program

    • Renaissance zone program

    • Residential soundproofing

    • Institutional soundproofing

    • Sales assistance

    • Noise barrier

    Compensatory measures:

    • Avigation easements

    Preventive measures:

    • Comprehensive planning

    • Compatible land-use zoning

    • Overlay zoning

    • Subdivision regulations

    • Disclosure ordinance

    • Tax incentives

    • Public information programs

Willkie commented that none of the mitigation measures would be the solution for every situation and that the Study Group will review them and make their recommendations as they take the next steps. He stated that upcoming efforts would be to finalize the mitigation program, the noise compatibility program, and the noise exposure maps to be adopted by the Regional Airport Authority based on the recommendation of the Study Group.

Willkie turned the floor over to Sistarenik, who commented on the evaluation of the mitigation package as the "next big push." He noted that Alderman Dan Johnson was present at the meeting.

Sistarenik then introduced Dorn Crawford, who presented some of the Navigation Committee’s findings.

Crawford gave an overview of the tasks that still lay ahead and assessments needed, such as:

    • Evaluating the effect of a displaced threshold on the proposed alternative

    • Development of proposals for standard flight routes

    • Recommendation of standard criteria and procedures for approaches and departures

    • Applying navigational performance figures to SDF fleet list

    • Proposing cumulative event metrics for data collection/evaluation

    • Planning package of management measures

    • Documenting emerging abatement measures/new technology

    • Providing full screening matrix for mitigation package


    • Airfield capacity and delay

    • Air traffic control issues

    • Aircraft operational and economic issues

    • For meeting #7:

    • Cost analysis

    • Financial feasibility assessment

Crawford commented on flight path considerations, and gave an overview of what was discussed through the meeting. He showed proposed flight path maps, and explained that they are trying to divert aircraft over areas that are noise compatible like railway tracks, expressways, and the river. He gave a possible effect of a displaced arrival threshold, weighing potential costs against potential benefits.

Crawford mentioned guidelines and measures still needing to be developed by the consultants, including:

    • Approaches/departures such as flight paths, altitudes, way points, navaids, glides slopes, thrust procedures, descent rates, climb rates, and visual clearance stipulations.

    • RNP standards and navigational performance standards that determine navigational accuracies that apply to flight routes and tracking of data. This will also set the benchmark for onboard equipment for the future.

    • Cumulative event metrics.

    • Management measures such as hiring a noise officer, tracking and monitoring hardware, data management systems, and research.

    • Emerging measures for the future.

Sistarenik then opened the floor for questions.

    • The first respondent thanked Representative Wayne for his presence and commented that he was the only politician who stayed through all the meetings. The participant then referred a question to Willkie about not recommending or changing anything for UPS flights from midnight to 5 AM . Willkie answered that the study recommended keeping the same flight paths and patterns but to keep the aircraft in closer corridors, and direct more of the flights to the south, which will reduce noise exposure. Willkie commented that these recommendations were the most cost effective. Sistarenik stated that they hoped to keep the aircraft in tighter corridors to cut down on the noise. He also added that they could only fly on the three corridors presented.

    • One participant said she couldn’t get excited about the $2.5 billion UPS makes every year. She asked to read a letter from her 82-year-old neighbor who has to sleep with earplugs every night. After the letter was read, Sistarenik expressed his sympathy for the neighbor and reassured the participant that they are trying to do something about the noise and that part of what the study would do is help provide mitigation.

    • One participant asked if the Study Group knew where Preston Park subdivision was located. She indicated that it was at the edge of the buyout area. The participant explained that they get I-65 noise along with the airport and wants to know why they’re not part of the buyout. Sistarenik replied that unfortunately there has to be a cut-off area. The participant said she and her husband couldn’t sit in the backyard due to the loud noise associated with takeoffs. She commented that when the planes come over at night the picture over her bed vibrates. The participant complained that she had called several times over the years and that no one had ever called her back. She asked that the Study Group find out where her neighborhood is located. Slattery asked if she had ever called his work number. She said she’d called all the numbers given to her over the years. Slattery restated his number for her to call.

    • One participant said she is concerned about the continued monitoring of the noise study and wondered if such information could be accessed through the Web site. She was also concerned about those living in the 60 DNL zone to the north. Sistarenik mentioned that due to runway and air traffic reconfiguration there would be a substantial reduction in the amount of homes that fall within the 65 DNL area to the north of the airport. He added that FAA regulations only mandate mitigation in the 65 DNL zone, but that the 60 DNL area could possibly be included, if politically and financially feasible. Willkie added that abatement in the northern part would cause substantial benefits. Compensation has primarily been restricted to 65 DNL but that doesn’t mean 60 DNL can’t be helped. He added that it usually comes down to the availability of funds. He stated that Minneapolis was able to acquire local funds to help some residents outside the 65 DNL but it probably won’t set a precedent with the FAA to change the 65 DNL threshold to 60.

    • The participant wanted to know if there were to be any technological advancements in the near future, such as mufflers on the planes to calm the screaming-screeching noise. Willkie replied that some planes are louder than others, but that all commercial airplanes meet current Federal guidelines for noise levels. They expect that over time the older aircraft will retire and be replaced by newer ones; however, there isn’t a law that forces airlines to retire older aircraft. Willkie added that currently there isn’t any technology that would dramatically reduce aircraft engine noise.

    • One participant asked specifically when the RAA would make a decision on the measures, when the measures be presented to the FAA, and when they will be approved by the FAA. Sistarenik referred the speaker back to the project schedule.

    • The participant asked if the FAA had the power to accept or not accept the proposal. Willkie answered that they did. The participant then inquired about the amount of time the FAA has to respond. Willkie answered that the FAA has a six-month limit on how long they have to review the plan. A number of actions could be implemented by the RAA prior to the FAA’s decision, such as land acquisition. Anything that requires funding by the FAA, such as flight tracks, must wait for authorization from the FAA.

    • One participant inquired about the location of the railroad corridor referred to earlier in the evening. Sistarenik said that it was located northwest of the University of Louisville.

    • Rep. Jim Wayne came forward and stated that most of the people presented at the meeting were neighbors of the airport such as Dorn Crawford. Wayne commended Crawford for his work with the Noise Study and pointed out that he was the Governor’s appointee to the RAA Board to represent community interests.

    • One participant asked about buyout north of the airport. Sistarenik said it depended on where the noise contours fell.

    • One participant asked about the Beechmont area and commented on the work done by the Navigation Committee. The participant approved of the land compatibility issues but stated there needed to be a plan to avoid these noise issues from happening again. He added that there isn’t a true correlation between the Noise Study and the Master Plan. Sistarenik answered that mitigation measures like zoning or compatible land use will enable authorities to plan better for the future. Sistarenik said that under Cornerstone 2020, the new development zones would enable legislation to create new compatible zones; he added that they are already working on such policies in old Louisville, which could make up new land-use zones. He said that this is a continuous study and that a citizen airport committee will be in place.

    • One participant asked who was in charge of the land-use issues. Jim DeLong said he would explain it to her afterwards.

    • Another participant added that pollution hadn’t been mentioned. Sistarenik answered that pollution was not part of the Noise Study.

    • Donna Lawlor, on behalf of the Belmar Neighborhood Association, expressed concerns over the Preston corridor. Sistarenik asked her if she was still part of the Sensitive Facilities committee. Lawlor answered that she was, but that sensitive facilities did not include residential issues.

Sistarenik urged participants to get involved as the process moves toward a final product. The meeting adjourned at 9:05 PM.


back to top