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Consultant: OSU Airport on Top of Noise Complaints

July 18, 2008

By Dean Narciso, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Jul. 18–Don Scott Field airport is going “above and beyond” in its efforts to investigate noise complaints from nearby neighborhoods, according to a report Ohio State University released today.

In fact, the report, from a consultant paid by the university-owned airport, says Don Scott administrators should scale back their investigations of noise complaints so that they can focus on unusual events.

The report bolstered airport officials’ view that they’re doing a good job.

“It was comforting,” said Cathy Ferrari, airport spokeswoman. “We’re doing things properly.”

But Scott Whitlock, Worthington’s representative to an airport advisory committee studying noise problems at the airport, said the consultant, ESA Airports, did not contact airport critics during its study. Consultants compared Don Scott to airports in Seattle and Los Angeles, he said, instead of airports closer to home that have better complaint systems.

He also took issue with the study because the airport paid for it. He said focusing only on some complaints could make it appear that there are fewer complaints overall.

“Given the airport’s embarrassment in the high number of complaints,” Whitlock said, “I can understand why they would want their consultant to recommend an artificial means to make the number of complaints appear smaller than it actually is.”

Ferrari said airport administrators know they can’t please everybody.

“We know that there are a handful of people who will never be happy,” she said. “We don’t think that will ever end.”

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