Residents complain about airplanes

Citizens say the noise and frequency from low-flying commercial planes has increased. Most complaints come from Canyon Acres area.

October 04, 2012|By Barbara Diamond

Folks around town are sounding off about the noise from low-flying commercial airplanes over Laguna, but city staff said their data doesn't support the complaints.

The City Council will hear a report at the Nov. 13 meeting summarizing what staff learned in a presentation by Federal Aviation Administration officials about the flights over Laguna. Meanwhile, residents are asking why the flights are noisier and more frequent now than a few months ago.

"Ganka Brown was Paul Revere on this one," said Councilwoman Toni Iseman, who requested the report. "She kept sending emails to staff about putting an item on the agenda."


Brown, who lives in Arch Beach Heights, is irate.

"I started counting the flights about a month ago," Brown said. "One morning I counted 12 or 13 flights between 7 and 7:45 a.m."

Brown contacted the FAA offices in Long Beach.

"The FAA official told me that Orange County (John Wayne) Airport was testing GPS on flights going toward Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa — but they got a lot of complaints so they diverted the planes to Laguna Beach," Brown said.

"We need to contact all of our elected officials for support," she added.

Brown is not the only resident annoyed by the increase in low-flying flights.

"You can add my name to the list," said Woods Cove resident Rosaura Ulvestad.

Flight noise is heard from the top to the bottom of the city, locals said.

"They do seem like they are flying lower than they used to," said Top of the World resident Carey Strombotne.

Assistant City Manager Christa Johnson said most of the complaints to the city came from Canyon Acres.

"The FAA knows all flight patterns, and when we get a complaint we ask for the time and if the caller is emphatic, we direct them to the city's website, which has a link to the FAA," Johnson said.

Johnson said the complaints have not jibed with FAA information that no violations have occurred.

Most complaints are anecdotal.

"Give me some facts to work with," City Manager John Pietig said.

Many residents feel that complaints won't help.

"It sounded like a highway over our house in August, and I almost called the airport, but I didn't think it would do any good," said Bluebird Canyon resident Mary Fegraus.

Johnson posited that folks' memories might be faulty.

"Flights were cut during the Great Recession," Johnson said. "The economy has improved, and there are more flights now. People may have forgotten what it was like before the flights were cut."

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles