Nassau Neighbors: Passing JFK Planes Are Dangerously Loud

EAST HILLS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Frustration has been mounting among some Long Island homeowners, as their ears are rattled by planes flying overhead.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, residents of East Hills say a closed runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport is disrupting their peace and quiet.

“The new monitor at East Hills is measuring airplanes as they’re passing down from north to south. When this airplane that was landing passed over that sensor, it went up to 70 dB,” said Len Schaier, president of Long Island Quiet Skies.

Schaier has a lab set up to measure the decibel levels as planes pass overhead. Neighbors said the planes pass every 1 to 2 minutes, and they are woken up at 3 a.m. by the noise.

Neighbors said the roaring jet engines are flying over Nassau County homes louder and more often due to the closure of runway 4L-22R at JFK. The runway is being expanded to accommodate larger aircraft.

“Dancing and listening to music – we couldn’t hear anything,” said Deborah Adler of East Hills, “because the planes were coming every four minutes.”

The Federal Aviation Administration now says it is listening. Five portable aircraft noise monitors are being installed at a cost of $29,000 apiece.

They are being set up under JFK flight paths 15 miles or more from the airport, in Old Brookville, East Hills, Roslyn Heights, Franklin Square, and Malverne.

The monitors will be up for a year, and reassessment will follow. U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said noise pollution is destroying the quality of life for his constitutents.

“Instead of finger-pointing and doubting, we now have noise monitors that will give us empirical evidence of just how abusive this noise is,” Israel said.

Right now, the FAA says 65 decibels are acceptable. But the threshold has been disputed by several health studies.

“(Sixty-five decibels are) actually dangerous to your health, for cardiovascular disease,” Schaier said. “The 55 is the number that Harvard showed — if you are below 55, there is no risk to heart.”

Nassau North Shore homeowners pleaded to the FAA, saying their safety on the ground is just as critical as safety in the air.

Neighborhood groups predict the noise monitors will prove airplane noise is too loud and dangerous. They also want to be part of the FAA environmental health review.

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