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Noise Exposure Map Update Hearings Set for October 14 and 15

Charlotte Airport(October 6, 2015) The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is updating its 1996 Noise Exposure Map (NEM) for 2015 and creating a 2020 map for the future due to aircraft fleet changes and recent changes in runway operations.

The map identifies areas that have a day-night average sound level (DNL) of 65 decibels or more, See Airport Noise Exposure Map Update Study.

Two Public Information Meetings and Public Hearings will be conducted to present the draft Noise Exposure Map Update and allow an opportunity for the public to provide comments before the NEM Update is submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for review and official determination. Public comments at the hearings will be recorded and submitted to the FAA as part of the NEM Update process.

The public hearings will be held:

   Wednesday, October 14
   6 P.M. - 8 P.M.
   Olympic High School
   4301 Sandy Porter Road, Charlotte, NC 28273

   Thursday, October 15
   6 P.M. - 8 P.M.
   Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel
   3315 Scott Futrell Drive, Charlotte, NC 28208

The Public Information Meetings and Public Hearings will be held concurrently, with one section of the meeting location dedicated to the Public Information Meeting and one section dedicated to the Public Hearing.

The public Information Meeting will be an open house style setting in which study information will be available on large display boards. Airport and noise consultants will be available to answer questions regarding the study. The same information will be presented at both meetings. No formal presentations are planned - stop in anytime.

At the Public Hearings, attendees will be able to provide oral or written comments. Those wishing to make oral comments will have the ability to voice their comments to a transcriptionist that will be available to transcribe all comments. A hearing officer will facilitate the process of giving oral comments and make sure that all those who request to speak have the opportunity to do so.

For more information, see Airport Noise Exposure Map (NEM) Update Study and Charlotte Douglas Airport Noise Program.

The 65 decibel level is equivalent to a normal conversation. The map below was presented at the Public Information Meeting at Olympic High School on December 4, 2014. It shows the area exposed to an average of 65 decibels from the study done in 1996 in a dashed black line. The blue line shows the area that will be exposed to 65 DNL in 2015.  The noise contour has been reduced significantly because aircraft have become quieter. (Click HERE or on the map below to view a PDF version of this map. All presentation information from the December public information meetings is available HERE.)

Charlotte Airport Noise Contours

The purple line shows the 65 DNL contour projected to 2020. Although noise from individual airplanes exceeds 65 decibels for many miles beyond these contours, the standard is the average noise level rather than the maximum level.

AAccording to airport and consultant staff attending the Public Information Meeting at Olympic High School last December 4, the maximum noise level measured at the interstection of Shopton Road and Gable Road near Sullivan's Trace neighborhood was 83.1 decibels. According to a noise chart avalilable HERE, 80 decibels is equivalent to the sound of an alarm clock. An alarm clock is loud enough to wake a sleeping person. However, the average decibel level is much lower than that (at least below 65 decibels) because the 83.1 decibel level is averaged with the much quieter levels experienced between airplanes.

Staff also reported a maximum noise level of 74.1 decibels measured at a spot in the Taragate neighborhood off Sandy Porter Road. 75 decibels is equivalent to the sound of a toilet flushing or a vacuum cleaner.

As staff stated several times, the noise study must follow guidelines developed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If the study included a map showing the loudest noise levels made by airplanes, the contours would extend far beyond the mile and a half or so from airport runways as shown in the study. It would seem that a sound loud enough to wake sleeping people ocurring every two minutes or so would be recognized as affecting quality of life in residential areas, but according to FAA guidleines, it is not.

However, the airport is not going anywhere, and airplanes aren't going to stop flying over Steele Creek, so noise will continue to be a fact of life here. The update does not recommend changes to airport operations that will reduce noise, it only identifies areas where properties are eligible for noise abatement programs.

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