The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) has prepared a Draft Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 150 Noise Study for the Waterbury-Oxford Airport (OXC), which is located in the Towns of Oxford and Middlebury. The OXC Noise Study is funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and ConnDOT, and is available for public review and comment at the following locations:
· Online at www.oxcstudies.com
· Clerk Offices of Middlebury, Oxford, and Southbury
· Libraries of Middlebury, Oxford, and Southbury
A Public Hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 12, 2008 to present the contents of the Draft Noise Study and collect public comments. The Public Hearing will be held in the Southford Ballroom of the Southbury Crowne Plaza Hotel (1284 Strongtown Road, Route 188). The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and a presentation and recorded Public Hearing will begin at 7:00 p.m.
This project involves the preparation of the first FAR Part 150 Noise Study and Land Use Compatibility Plan for OXC. Previous airport planning and environmental studies determined that OXC generates off-airport noise that exceeds federal significance levels in noise sensitive areas (e.g., residential areas). To evaluate and address noise exposure and impacts, ConnDOT, owner and operator of OXC, at the request of the local community, committed that further noise analysis would be conducted.
The overall goal of the OXC Noise Study is to identify and address aircraft noise impacts in surrounding communities through noise abatement and compatible land use recommendations. In a Noise Study, the noise metric used to determine land use compatibility is the Day-Night Average Noise Level (DNL). The FAA uses a DNL of 65 decibels (dB) as the threshold of compatibility for noise-sensitive land uses such as homes, schools, and hospitals.
The Draft Noise Study includes the Noise Compatibility Program (NCP) for OXC, which identifies the recommended measures for addressing airport-related noise. A summary of the Draft NCP recommended measures is provided below, which may be revised based upon comments from the surrounding municipalities and public.
Draft NCP Noise Abatement (NA) Measures:
NA-1 – Create Area Navigation (RNAV) overlay procedures using Global Positioning System (GPS). RNAV involves flying predefined departure paths (GPS-guided), which are designed to reduce flyovers of residential areas.
NA-2 – Implement the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) close-in departure procedures. This involves performing specific departure procedures (e.g., thrust and flap settings) to reduce noise exposure in populated areas near OXC.
NA-3 – To reduce nighttime departures over the Triangle Hills neighborhood, establish Runway 18 (departures to the south) as the preferential nighttime runway (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.).
Draft NCP Land Use Measures:
LU-1 – Retain existing commercial and industrial zoning districts within the vicinity of OXC. Proposed zoning changes and development actions should be forwarded to a ConnDOT representative for comment.
LU-2 – Establish fair disclosure regulations for new residential development, and for the transfer of existing homes, within OXC’s DNL contours.
LU-3 – Establish noise related subdivision regulations for new residential development within OXC’s DNL contours. The subdivision regulations could include fair disclosure regulations, avigation easements, and “Noise Level Reduction” (NLR) requirements.
LU-4 – Voluntary sale/acquisition of all homes within the 65-70 DNL contour, plus a select number of homes outside the 65 DNL contour for neighborhood continuity and equitable planning purposes. Homeowners would receive fair market value (FMV) at the time of the transaction, plus compensation for relocation expenses. LU-4 includes the voluntary acquisition of up to 71 homes in the vicinity of the Triangle Hills neighborhood. A subsequent implementation plan and environmental study must be completed and approved before this measure could be implemented or funded. This would also be conducted through a public process. With an unencumbered process, the acquisition program could begin in 2010, but may take five to ten years to fully complete.
LU-5 – As an alternative option to voluntary sale/acquisition (LU-4), voluntary sound insulation of all homes within the 65-70 DNL contour, plus a select number of homes outside the 65 DNL contour for neighborhood continuity and equitable planning purposes. Homes located within the Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) would not be eligible for voluntary sound insulation.
The public is encouraged to attend the June 12, 2008 Public Hearing meeting to offer their opinions regarding the Draft NCP recommendations. Recommendations of the Noise Study were established with the guidance of the Study Advisory Committee, which consists of representatives of local municipalities, state and federal agencies, key stakeholders, and public input. The final recommendations will also reflect public input received during the comment period ending on July 15, 2008.
Information can be obtained, and questions or comments regarding this Noise Study or Public Hearing, can be submitted through www.oxcstudies.com/contact or referred to ConnDOT, at (860) 594-2149.