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Bayside Residents Vow to Continue Fighting FAA Over Airplane Noise

Queens Quiet Skies holds meeting at Bayside High School to discuss ongoing efforts in battle against airplane noise.

Janet McEneaney speaks during a meeting at Bayside High School.
Janet McEneaney speaks during a meeting at Bayside High School.
Northeast Queens residents vowed to continue the fight to reduce airplane noise over Bayside and Douglaston during a meeting Thursday night.  

Janet McEneaney, a Community Board 11 member and founder of Queens Quiet Skies, led the meeting at Bayside High School, which included a presentation on the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen and Airspace Redesign programs.  

“We are not going to go away,” McEneaney said. “If the FAA is able to frame the issues, then it would make sense that the solutions would favor the FAA. But if we have a seat at the table and a voice in the decision-making, then we can begin to frame the issues.”  

Northeast Queens residents began complaining early last summer that low-flying planes were consistently traveling over their communities all day long.  

At a meeting in March, the FAA said the airplane noise was a result of a new flight pattern out of LaGuardia Airport that was part of its NextGen program.  

At that time, the FAA told community members that it would agree to form a community roundtable to discuss the issue.  

At last night’s meeting, community leaders said the flight pattern should never have been instituted in the first place.  

“We’re going to continue fighting this tooth and nail,” state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside said. “It goes on all day, once a minute and it gets you angry. When this whole plan was approved, they did an inadequate environmental study. And there was absolutely zero input from the community."  

Rebecca Bratspies, an environmental law professor at CUNY School of Law who has been working with Queens Quiet Skies on the matter, said that the FAA should not have filed a categorical exemption, which means that a project does not have a significant environmental impact, on the flight pattern over northeast Queens.  

“The choices the FAA have made are questionable at best,” she said. “Even if you can assume it was reasonable to issue a categorical exclusion, to proceed down that path in light of the impact it’s had on the community is wholly inappropriate. If something is highly controversial, they are not supposed to use an exemption.”  

In a statement, the FAA responded to residents' complaints from the meeting.

"The Federal Aviation Administration proposed expanding the use of a new procedure for flights taking off from Runway 13 at LaGuardia Airport in an effort to reduce the complexity and congestion in the airspace around LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports," the FAA statement read. "After conducting an environmental review as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the FAA has determined that the increased use of this NextGen procedure will not produce significant environmental impacts, as defined under NEPA."

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