July 30, 2008

Airport Critics Gear Up for Noise Study

By Fraser Sherman, Destin Log, Fla.

Jul. 30--Thursday morning, Destin Airport's neighbors will find out how much noise they'll have to put up with in the coming years.

Okaloosa County, which owns the airport, hired the LPA Group in 2004 to study current noise levels and predict how they'd increase in the future. If the Federal Aviation Administration approves the study, the county can apply for federal funding for whatever noise mitigation steps the study recommends, such as walling off noisy areas of the airport from private homes.

"The study had gone through the final stages of approval with the FAA," Airport Director Greg Donovan told The Log. "However, the traffic-forecasting information had become old ... The study's using 2004 numbers; we have 2008 numbers."

The latest numbers show less traffic five years down the line than the original projections did, so the county had LPA feed the updated numbers into the study. Thursday's meeting will be the first public presentation of the results.

Noise has been the biggest complaint homeowners have about the airport, but homeowner Betty Kenyon said scheduling the meeting for 10 a.m. meant not everyone who was concerned would show up.

"I'm retired but many people are working," Kenyon said. "One of my neighbors said he can't make it ... I'm talking to people, I was on the phone today."

Kenyon said Tuesday that she was turning the legal notice in the newspapers into a flyer to pass around her neighborhood.

Donovan said the county's goal was to resubmit the study to the FAA this month, after which the agency had six months to approve it.


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