|San Lorenzo Citizens Fighting Airport Noise|
The following information is digested from the "Annual Evaluation of the Performance-Based Noise Ordinance for Calendar Year 2000" prepared by the manager of the Hayward Executive Airport.
During 2000 there were 165,629 operations (takeoffs and landings), of which 3,343 (two percent) occurred at night (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.). This is a 13 percent decrease in total operations since 1999 but about the same number of nighttime operations (the number in 1999 was 3, 378). Thus, nighttime operations as a percentage of total operations increased slightly over 1999.
Also during the year 574 noise complaints were filed by 52 households. Of these, most (443) were from a single San Lorenzo household. The number of households registering noise complaints is down from 1999, when 75 households filed complaints. In addition to complaints from San Lorenzo, residents in the Hayward neighborhoods of Longwood, Mobile Home Park, and Southgate filed 10 percent of all complaints.
The airport manager's report ignores the 443 complaints from the single San Lorenzo household in compiling statistics, thus making comparisons with previous years (when there were also a few individuals with a high number of complaints) very difficult (and in some instances impossible). Nevertheless, it is clear there has been an increase in complaints even after removing households with with a very high number of complaints ("persistent complainants"). In 1999 the number of complaints after omitting persistent complainants is 118, whereas in 2000 it is 131.
Most of the 131 complaints (68 percent) were for noise between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. This is considerably less than for 1999 (83 percent), meaning that nighttime noise is becoming a bigger problem for nearby residents. Oddly, the airport manager's report has a new category of complaints called "general noise complaints," representing the largest category of complaints (47). The report explains that these complaints concerned "traffic watch" (i.e., KGO) and East Bay Regional Park police helicopters. The report dismisses the importance of these complaints, noting that "these are common complaints in a metropolitan area." At the same time, the report has a "helicopter" category (24 complaints). One can only conclude that the airport manager deliberately chose to minimize the disturbing noise of two of the airport's tenant helicopter operators (KGO Radio and EBRPD).
In addition, 54 of the 131 complaints were received from residents in Hayward neighborhoods not in the vicinity of the airport, as well as from residents of San Leandro, Castro Valley, Union City, and Fremont. Five of these complaints to the Hayward Airport arose from flights to Oakland International Airport. In contrast, in 1999 there were 42 complaints from residents outside the vicinity of the airport, with five of these complaints also due to Oakland Airport traffic.
During 2000 there were 124 exceedances of the noise limits established in the Hayward aircraft noise ordinance. This is a smaller number than the 160 exceedances recorded in 1999, but because total operations are fewer, exceedances have remained proportionally the same. As in past years, the majority of exceedances (89 or 72 percent) were by aircraft that are exempt in the ordinance, largely medical emergency aircraft and "stage-3" aircraft. ("Stage 3" describes jet aircraft with the latest noise-supression technology, which does not mean these aircraft are necessarily "quiet".)
Discounting the exemptions, 35 exceedances resulted in 21 violations of the city's aircraft noise ordinance. (A single takeoff or landing can produce exceedances at more than one noise monitor, but simultaneous exceedances produced by the same aircraft result in only a single violation of the ordinance.) This is less than the 31 violations recorded in 1999. Violations in 2000 were caused by 19 different aircraft. As in the past, most violations were by aircraft not based at the Hayward Airport (19 violations), while only 2 violations were created by a single Hayward-based aircraft.