Thursday, September 24, 2009

QUALITY OF LIFE: Addressing Increase in Airplane Noise

Question/Comment: What is the status of the City’s lawsuit regarding airplane noise? How can constituents get involved?

City Update 10/28/09: The City is still waiting with great anticipation for Judge Stephen Neel's ruling on our request to reopen Massport v. City of Boston et al.  If the judge agrees with that contention, then he will require Massport to come up with a noise mitigation plan.  In the meantime, overall levels of aircraft noise over Somerville have declined slightly in 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, althoguth the City woudl like to see further noise reducation.  The City is currently seeking help from neighboring communities to support the cost of litigation -- and Mayor Curtatone is seeking assistance from Congressman Capuano and Senator Kerry to put pressure on the FAA to acknowledge the problem and meet with us.  Please continue to report all noise episodes as they happen to 311.  The City continues to track disturbances from aircraft noise so that we have evidence to use in any future litigation.

City Update 7/15/09: Lawyers for the City of Somerville are currently arguing in court that Logan Airport may have violated the terms of a 2004 legal ruling that cleared the way for the construction of Runway 14/32 at Boston's Logan International Airport. That ruling, made in the case of Massport v. City of Boston et al (Somerville was a party to the case), allowed construction of the new runway on the understanding that it was to be used only under certain wind conditions. The City and other interested parties are making a motion to reopen the case on the grounds that Runway 14/32, which opened in November of 2006, has been used in conjunction with other runways in ways that not only violate the court-mandated restrictions but have also led to a sharp increase in jet takeoffs and related noise over Chelsea, Cambridge, Somerville and other communities. The initial hearing was held on June 3rd in Suffolk County Superior Court and it is likely that the court will take up the case, opening the door for a longer legal process that will produce a ruling regarding the noise.

Residents can stay informed by joining one of the ResiStat mailing lists here: In addition, residents can share their experience about how the airplane noise has affected and disrupted their daily lives here: This information may be useful to the City’s lawyers moving forward.

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