New Group of O'Hare Neighbors Complain About Plane Noise

Hollywood-North Park resident says she has proof that noise level is unbearable

Some neighbors living as far away as 10 miles from O'Hare International Airport say they have proof that the noise from airplanes is too loud, and believe that should qualify them for soundproofing on their homes.

Lisa Diems says she moved to her Hollywood-North Park home because of the beautiful nature reserve in the neighborhood, but O'Hare's new runway patterns quickly spoiled that tranquility.

"I hear a constant droning and whining noise from jet airplanes going over my house pretty much every minute," Diems said.

Lisa Simpson refers to the situation as a "highway in the sky," and asked the city to set up a noise-monitoring device for two weeks to collect measurements. She says the noise averaged 73 decibels during the evening hours.

"I know that the noise is loud and I really wanted to prove it," Simpson said.

But despite those noise readings, Hollywood-North Park falls far outside of the Federal Aviation Authority's noise contour map that would qualify homes to receive sound proofing. FAA guidelines require a "65 day and night level" reading to be included in the map, and takes into account 24-hour averages with some periods weighing more heavily than others.

And not all Hollywood-North Park residents even agree the noise is overwhelming.

"I don't think it's that much of big deal. It's never what you'd call objectionable in my opinion," area homeowner Victor Bedrio said.

The O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission says it's listening to the concerns of the neighboring communities and continues to advocate on their behalf to reduce aircraft noise.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel also recently pledged to add eight more noise monitors to the surrounding neighborhoods.

But Diems doesn't believe it's enough.

"We want to have a voice in the airplane traffic and having it be more fairly distributed around Chicago so that one community isn't unfairly burdened by all of the noise," Diems said.

The FAA says it is working with individual airlines to add quieter planes to their fleets and at other landing options that would keep planes at higher altitudes until they get closer to the airport.

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