Ferndale residents frustrated by jet noise Some in community near BWI say state hasn't done enough

September 19, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Ferndale residents and a watchdog group said last night that the Maryland Aviation Administration hasn't lived up to its promises to help the community live with jet noise from nearby Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

"We feel that they're just dragging their feet on this thing. These people are very impacted by the noise. They're hundreds of feet from the runway," said Dennis Stevens, president of the Airport Coordinating Team Inc., a citizen watchdog group.

State aviation officials said they are moving as quickly as they can to help the residents of the Allwood section of Ferndale, but that they have been slowed because the project will not be as simple as they originally thought and because federal officials have not acted on their proposal.

The officials said they have submitted a soundproofing plan to the Federal Aviation Administration, which funds most of the noise abatement program, for its review and approval, but the FAA has not acted. Work cannot begin until the FAA approves the project.

Residents of Allwood, just across Aviation Boulevard east of the airport, met last night at Ferndale United Methodist Church to air their complaints.

Residents complained that jets passing overhead rattle dishes and drown out conversation. "This has been going on for years," said Ed LaCoste, 59, who, with his wife, Joan, 55, has lived in Allwood for 19 years.

Michael C. West, associate administrator of planning and engineering at BWI, asked residents to be patient. In 1993, Allwood was included in BWI's noise zone -- an area considered uncomfortable to live in because of the noise from jet planes. In February 1995, the community was included in the airport's noise abatement program and that September, the FAA approved a grant to begin soundproofing 54 homes in Allwood.

But the noise situation in Allwood is not one the Maryland aviation agency or the FAA has had to confront before, and that has hampered the start of the soundproofing program, West said. The noise primarily is generated during takeoffs, when planes emit a strong low-frequency rumble, rather than by jets flying overhead, West said.

The state agency's plan calls for making the walls of homes in Allwood thicker than usual, giving windows and doors additional buffering air space and soundproofing attics.

The agency will test the plan on two homes in Allwood before offering it to other residents, officials said. The agency, which has not yet selected the houses for the test, expects to begin work early in 1997 and submit an evaluation of the test to the FAA that spring.

Meanwhile, the state agency plans to begin measuring and designing soundproofing plans for other homes in the community in February 1997. If the soundproofing on the test homes works, the agency would begin soundproofing other homes in the summer of 1997.

Pub Date: 9/19/96

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