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Sun, Apr 19, 2009

EVB Noise Study Results Irk Abatement Committee Members

Findings Said Not To Be Representative Of An Average Day's Air Traffic

Typical of numerous Florida airports built during WWII as training bases, residential areas have built up around the New Smyrna Beach, FL Municipal Airport (EVB) over the years. And equally as typical, residents who now reside near the airport have voiced their objections to noise from airport operations, spurring city officials to study the problem.

Released last week, the preliminary findings of a federally approved airport noise study of EVB conducted by an environmental consulting firm have received a dissatisfied response from the city's mayor and Noise Abatement Committee.

The East Volusia News-Journal reports that the first part of a FAR Part 150 study performed by environmental consulting firm ESA was presented at last Thursday's meeting of the New Smyrna Beach Noise Abatement Committee, but was criticized as being skewed and not representative of an average day's aircraft noise.

Using sound measuring equipment positioned at eight locations in the area, three days of monitoring noise generated by airport traffic led ESA to conclude that the sound levels did not meet "significant noise impact" thresholds.

Mayor Sally Mackay said she wanted to be confident that the $265,000 study accurately measured a "representative day" having an average amount of air traffic. "We want this to be well-done, well-received and believed," Mackay said.

"There is a difference of opinion of what we can expect to come out of this study and what will come out of the study," committee chairman Jim Speer said. "They did not do enough" to measure repetitive noise generated by frequent training flights flying circuits in the traffic pattern, he added.

Local resident William Hausler said, "(If you are monitoring) when planes aren't flying, how can you use that as a sample? That is a waste of time and money."

ESA project manager Ron Seymour, who has managed Part 150 noise study projects in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland, pointed out potential shortcomings with such studies: Planned in advance, it's not possible to predict weather conditions and other factors that affect flight patterns.

Seymour said the comments voiced at the meeting were not unusual. "We hear them all the time," he said.

FMI: www.esassoc.com, www.cityofnsb.com/index.asp?NID=235, www.nsbairportnoise.com

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