July 10, 2002


TO: J Michael Brown, Chair, Regional Airport Authority Board of Directors

FROM: John Sistarenik, Chair, Noise Compatibility Study Group

SUBJECT: Recommended Noise Mitigation Program

I’m very pleased to be able to forward for the Board’s consideration the noise mitigation program adopted by the Study Group in its meeting of June 13, with attendant implementing steps incorporated. This program, along with the noise abatement package the Board approved at its last meeting, form the core elements of the FAR Part 150 Study Update for Louisville International Airport at Standiford Field.

The Study Group has compiled a thoroughgoing body of measures to apply relief tailored to the needs of those areas where abatement measures were not able to reduce future noise exposure to levels below Federal thresholds. We look forward to sustaining this effort through the assessment, documentation, review and approval, and implementation phases of the process.

Among the most important things this program is poised to accomplish are:

    • speedily complete mitigation measures already in progress from the previous noise study

    • adopt the most effective means of mitigating newly identified areas of excess noise exposure, including any newly exposed areas

    • integrate emerging redevelopment and incentive programs to promote compatible land uses in affected areas in the future

    • identify and prioritize additional measures that could be taken beyond minimal Federal standards, if additional resources were available

    • deploy an implementation plan that sets out practical steps to get the job done, then checks

    • work as a community of all stakeholders involved, to produce a bold and ambitious program that puts Louisville on the cutting edge – then keep working to make sure it stays there

The last item deserves special emphasis. This recommended program represents a remarkable consensus effort of a Study Group incorporating all the airport’s stakeholders: air carriers, airport management, air traffic control, airport users and businesses, local governments, neighborhoods and individual citizens. The group has made an unprecedented investment in time, talent and energy to arrive at a sound, practical, results-oriented package Louisville can call its own – and continue to oversee, refine, and improve. This may be the study’s most significant achievement.

As with the abatement program recommended in the Study Group’s memo of June 17, this package remains subject in its entirety to cost/benefit analyses by staff and consultants that have not yet been completed. But in the case of mitigation, unlike abatement, operational considerations have little role to play. We’re evaluating proposed measures with only the roughest sense of practical constraints, based on consultant experience elsewhere, so it’s difficult to avoid an ‘all-good-things’ approach at this point. Still, this approach leads to a structured program/budget process that forces us to prioritize all desirable elements, then execute what we can based on the resources available.

The unusual current stresses on airport resources, resulting both from economic downturn and competing demands for terminal security, are abundantly clear to the Study Group. We can anticipate that with any list of desirable measures we compile, the ‘line’ of affordability will ultimately be drawn higher than we’d like. But since we can’t tell the future with certainty, our responsibility is to compile that list as thoroughly and coherently as possible – and then see what resources will permit.

The Study Group’s functional committees have studied the issues, reviewed important consultant background data and analysis, and contributed key ideas to our program. Participation has broadened as new constituencies have taken an interest, and become involved through this committee structure. The measures that have percolated through this process and been vetted successfully in the Study Group comprise a program I’m proud to commend for the Board’s endorsement.

With the Board’s approval of this program, and subject to the results of cost/benefit assessments still being completed, we’ll proceed to collect remaining materials from various consultants and other participants, integrate the separately approved abatement program, and consolidate the final study report for review and approval.

Recommended Noise Mitigation Program
cc: Study Group committee chairs
General Manager
Project manager


The Study Group proposes an integrated package including some twenty-four measures in five major categories:

Remedial Measures: treating incompatible noise exposure in currently sensitive areas

    • South of the airport, focus mitigation effort on voluntary relocation, with priority to:

      1. completing current ‘traditional’ buyouts and innovative housing construction in Heritage Creek, as quickly as resources permit

      2. incorporating newly eligible (DNL 65+) buyouts, if any, in both programs

      3. promoting compatible redevelopment via the emerging Renaissance Zone

    • North of the airport, focus on remediation, with priority to:

      1. residential soundproofing in projected DNL 65

      2. institutional soundproofing in projected DNL 65

      3. residential sales assistance, for those declining soundproofing

      4. residential and institutional soundproofing in DNL 60, where projected exposure will be more than 3 dB above level preceding last EIS – subject to Federal eligibility and available funding

    • Lateral to the airport, establish noise barriers, where feasible, to mitigate the effects of ground noise. These purposes could be served by earthen berms, suitably oriented construction of airport-related buildings, or by other means, with priority to:

      1. northern Louisville Avenue area, opposite Beechmont neighborhood

      2. southern I-65 area, opposite Preston Park neighborhood

Compensatory Measures: ‘paying’ residents for the imposition of aircraft noise

    • Obtain avigation easements on residential properties – primarily in conjunction with other associated measures, like insulation, sales assistance or overlay zoning

Preventive Measures: work with appropriate authorities to promote channeling development or redevelopment into compatible uses

    • Comprehensive planning: refine treatment of airport compatibility in form district designations and descriptions in Cornerstone 2020 plan

    • Land use zoning: pursue compatible-use zoning policies, and implement zoning actions, consistent with airport noise contours

    • Overlay zoning: to the extent existing zoning classifications need further delineation, apply overlays to identify noise impacts and promote non-sensitive development

    • Subdivision regulations: incorporate in Land Development Code provisions for disclosure and mitigation in new development within noise-impacted areas

    • Building code: promote augmentation of state code to prescribe noise mitigation standards in construction in noise-impacted areas

    • Disclosure ordinances: consider local ordinances or other measures to require noise exposure information be provided to prospective property buyers

Management Measures:

    • Use the airport noise office as a central collection and distribution point for mitigation policy and status information

    • Use the Relocation Working Group to provide lay oversight and advocacy of the mitigation program

    • Augment the Web site and information centers to incorporate and maintain mitigation policy and program information

    • Reinforce communications and liaison links with staff, local government agencies, brokers and developers, media, and public

Evaluative Measures:

    • Collect and assess statistics on mitigation program execution

    • Develop and track legislative initiatives to implement land use measures

    • Process noise complaints and provide feedback on the mitigation program

    • Document and evaluate emerging technologies and measures for potential future application

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