LETTER: Residents opposed to recent increase in airplane noise seeking support

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Hello Neighbors,

If you have been hearing more airplane noise lately, it is not your imagination. We want to alert the community to this issue. We need proactive community action to ensure the Burien City Council and the Burien City Manager advocate for the citizens of Burien to preserve the peace and quality of our neighborhoods.

The next City Council meeting will be at the Burien City Hall (400 SW 152nd Street) on Monday, Sept. 19, starting at 7 p.m.

We encourage you to attend; arrive early to sign up to speak before the Council and let your opposition to this noise pollution be heard. A large turnout will underscore the importance of this issue.

The community is organizing rapidly to address this problem and we expect to nominate a steering committee of volunteers to coordinate and organize the opposition efforts.

The following article appeared in The B-Town Blog on August 23, 2016:

“Retired Alaska Airlines pilot Larry Cripe, who lives on 23rd Ave SW, said he has become “extremely concerned over the last four weeks about the new aircraft noise … and spent many hours on the phone with the FAA discussing what is going on.”

Before the Council slipped into biennial budget mode, longtime area resident Cripe said low plane flyovers started about three weeks earlier during the rev-up of Seafair with the turning of flights taking off and turning westbound during Blue Angel practices.

Cripe says he is tracking on an application on his phone and sees 50 or 60 northbound – primarily turboprop planes – turning over Burien, starting around 4 a.m.

“It goes to 10, 11 o’clock at night and sometimes they are every five to 10 minutes,” adding that some of the flights are “as low as 1,500 feet.”

He said he discussed the flights with the Federal Aviation Administration locally and “the head guy” says they are “trying to disperse the noise around Puget Sound.”

The noise of the turning planes “is significant” Cripe said.

“As a community, I can tell you now that if we are not careful and allow this to continue they are going to shove it down our throat and we are going to be impacted in a very big way – we are going to have flight paths that are going straight down to Des Moines.”

“As a city, we are going to have to get involved and I am going to be very active in pursuing to terminate this process,” Cripe said.”

If this is of interest and/or concern to you, please let me know. This issue started recently and time is of the essence for action, before these noisy overflights become the norm and destroy our quiet enjoyment of our neighborhoods.

Please feel free to share this information and get the word out.

Susan Plecko

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our ~80,000+ monthly Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please cite your sources, remain civil and – pending our careful review – we’ll consider publishing it.]

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30 Responses to “LETTER: Residents opposed to recent increase in airplane noise seeking support”
  1. Jeanine Warns says:

    The Third Runway goes right in the Middle of our backyard–Boulevard Park & 8th Ave So, At that time, we were told it would only be used for landing in bad weather-Joke Joke Joke!!! They use it all the time-Taking off to the North & Landing not to mention the Flights taking off at all hours of the night-1-5 AM–Shakes you out of your bed. Port of Sea. gave us “SOME” Insulation but we NEED MORE!!! Not to Mention-All this Noise is making me go Deaf-Can’t even hear talking on the phone–Have to tell them “Hold On”. No Good-Something has to be done.

  2. Kamron OBrien says:

    Please, please, please make it stop. I keep dreaming I am flying an airplane that is about to crash. It is driving my wife and I nuts!

  3. Out here on the edge... says:

    Great Idea! Thanks for championing it! You might make print-outs of the various posts at this blog, to submit to the council members for their edification of what some of us (who cannot attend) are saying on this topic.

    Wish there was a place at the Burien website to voice our concerns. Check out the new ‘My Bellevue’ app at their website found under ‘customer assistance’ for a practical way to have community conversations online without using offsite social media. http://assist.bellevuewa.gov/

  4. matthew says:

    Well a long-standing question has just been answered for me, I think: I’ve been wondering why I wake up at about 3:50 every morning.

  5. Kellie Bassen says:

    I just wish they would have been called on the third runway lie. My backyard, where I am a lot, gives me a lovely view on the constant air traffic. I can’t be on the phone out there and sometimes can’t hear the person next to me.

    Because I am on the wrong side (west) of 1st ave, we were not recipients of window replacements that they did….and would not have needed them had they not used that third runway like it wasn’t an emergency/bad weather runway.

    I’m disappointed that this has been allowed to happen and I’m glad a group of citizens is going to address this. I will try to be there. The Council should have stood up to SeaTac for us a long time ago.

  6. Jack says:

    I grew up under the flight path, moved away for about a decade, but returned to Burien for many good reasons. There were rare planes over the Seahurst neighborhood until July. Two nights ago, I counted 4 over our home in ten minutes. All at low elevation. Noisy, so can’t sleep with the window open. Sometimes, I regret moving back.

    • Shari says:

      I’d be interested in hearing from real estate professionals about the reasons they hear from the prospective homebuyers and prospective commercial tenants who aren’t interested in seeing anything in Burien… how much influence does the news about increased air traffic noise have, how much does the news about the frightening situation in the public schools have, etc. Are they deterring families or businesses from locating here? What are the major concerns they’re hearing lately?

      • Time to move on says:

        All good questions Shari. I have wondered the same things. We could also ask if lack of new sewer lines and any intention of adding them under the flight path area has been a deal breaker for property sales. New sewers and Storm Water Drainage Systems are no problem if you have the Feds coming to bat for you. But, we long time citizens have no leverage without the help of our town council.
        With regard to the school situation, just think what a difference it would make if we still had all of the schools that we built and paid for! How ironic that the newer schools had to be closed leaving us with older schools that are hard to maintain.

        • Question Authority says:

          How is the addition of new sewer and storm lines under the flight path going to entice anyone to want to live/build there anyway? Nobody would trade a pipe in the ground for being subjected to virtually constant noise and the cascade of jet exhaust particulate.

    • Ex. Burien says:

      ATC has been pushing the turboprop aircraft (Q400 and formally the Q200 that Horizon had) for almost 30 years over Seahurst with the north flow operations at SeaTac. This also happens with the South flow operations over Normandy Park and Des Moines.

      Again, this is nothing new. Getting a aircraft out of the airspace quicker reduces the need for departure spacing and reduces departure delays.

      Hell, growing up I heard more noise from general aviation aircraft transitioning over SeaTac than commercial aircraft in the Seahurst area.

  7. Jimmy says:

    I wonder if this all these planes flying over burien has anything to do with the obstructions (tall trees) the port of Seattle is working on.

    It might be there bird radar system directing these flights around the birds that strike planes.

    • Time to move on says:

      We are all wondering about the change in flight path Jimmy. Wouldn’t it seem logical that we or at least our town council, could ask either the port or the FAA about this? Why all the secrecy? Let’s ask Jessy! 🙂

      My best guess is that they are accommodating the recent heavier traffic of other airports. But it’s only a guess.

      • Jimmy says:

        Yes the city council can ask. I never said they couldn’t or have any control over the city council . All I did was ask a simple question.

        Recently the port of Seattle has been working on removing trees that cause a obstruction around the air port.

        The port of Seattle also has a radar system setup to help detect flocks of birds

        Now I have read about this “Port package” contract situation.

        Ok I understand frustrations over the port and FAA and issues about the third runway.
        But why is it ever time there is issue here in burien so many people complain like it’s the end of world. When in the end most of these issues are easily explainable.

        20 thumbs downs on this will not change a thing 1000 thumbs down ahh get a life

        • Time to move on says:

          Just so you know Jimmy, I do not automatically give you a thumbs down. I rarely give any post a thumbs down. Lots of thumbs up, very few thumbs down.

          We who are complaining, are not only hearing a significant increase and frequency in noise, to the point that we no longer use our outside areas, have to ask people to wait while a plane goes over when we are on the phone, often several times in a conversation, even inside. We have seen damage and grime to our vehicles and shrubs from whatever jets expel. All of this is happening not only to us, but to our property which means it is loosing value at an alarming rate, while the rest of the county is seeing a boon in sales. Many of us have been in our homes for 30+ years. We used to believe that the Port was trying to help us while they grew. As the pattern of what is really going on immerges, our view of the Port is no longer so benevolent. We are the victims and we are crying ouch!!

          • Jimmy says:

            Well lets see hear

            I have lived hear n this area for over 30 years my self.

            I have heard airplane’s for year’s you get use to it same with the fire trucks police vehicle’s and other noise’s.

            Now you and a few others claim there’s excessive noise from plane’s left over dust from fuel ok but instead of doing the correct thing and continue to report these issues to the FAA or the Port of Seattle.

            Or even purchasing a mp3 recording device and a sound level meter and do some of your own tests. Or take pictures of this dust from fuel you speak of. But instead of doing this you now want the city council to get involved with no proof other than a few posts on a blog

            How do expect the city council to build a case of evidence to prove your concern’s are legit so the FAA or Port are going to listen to them.

            How do you expect the city council to go on private property and take these sound meter test’s.

            How do expect the city to get the funding needed for the equipment needed for these tests.

            But no you just want to complain and not even use your real first name to do it time to move on.

  8. Oman says:

    Shame on Burien council for not addressing flight path issue in the begining.
    Shame on the council for not protecting the city itself and the citizen’s living environment.
    Shame on the council for not protecting property values.

    My home is backed up to 509, that’s an 18k appraisal knock for traffic noise.
    How much more depreciation for the changing flight path?

    And hey, just for the record…I have plenty of noise from the normal flight path already.
    But knew that when I bought here. I’m okay with that, knew that going in.

    Didn’t sign on for cutting the flight path and banking right overhead.

    Shouldn’t we be compensated? Airlines are saving a boat load in fuel costs by cutting over Burien.

    Shame on you Burien council.

    • Question Authority says:

      When I bought this home the 3rd runway construction “Overhead Easement” living agreement came with it. That legal document signed by the original 48 year owner allowed for over flights in trade for the “Port Package” soundproofing upgrade done to this home. I knew what I was getting into and that I had no legal recourse to complain. I wonder how many of you being affected by the changes in flight pattern even know that legal easement exists in your home purchasing papers, or when you agreed to the “Port Package”

      • Oman says:

        Just to be clear…..my home is not under the normal flight path. Do not have a port package.

        Knew the airport was there. Knew the freeway was there. We’re okay with that, don’t like it, but we were willing to live with it.

        Think most of the complaints are about the un-normal flight path, cutting the normal and turning west over Burien.

        We didn’t sign on for that.

        Now I’m directly under the un-normal flight path. Banking west over Burien.

        Did’t get the memo on changing the flight. Anyone?

      • Question Authority says:

        As a clarification, I don’t live under the historic flight path by educated choice but adjacent to runway property so my only overhead traffic is a rare missed approach. The engine thrust reverser’s on the Third runway from normal Southbound landings and luckily the short lived distant roar of takeoffs depending on the wind is my burden. Being lifetime local I new better than to buy in line with the flight path, and as is happening now, new variations of it.

  9. Ex. Burien says:

    OMG… 99.9 percent of you whiners bought your property knowing that the airport was there.

    ATC has been pushing flights over Burien for years, namely Q400 aircraft to get them out of SeaTac faster to prevent departure delays. Now if you see larger aircraft it’s a aircraft go around/missed approach, so put up and deal with a little bit of noise for safety…

    Your just as bad as people who buy property near railroad tracks and then complain about the noise.

    Thank gawd I left Burien….

    • Time to move on says:

      You assume a lot Ex-Burien. But, I will give you credit for moving on.

      Many of the homes in this area are owned by the same families who bought them in the 1950’s-1970’s. Some of course, even before then, along with some newer homes often owned by family members who built on their parent’s property, or nearby lots. Mostly we all just liked living in Burien and thought we could live with what the Port was doing. But, that is no longer the case. The Port is knowingly devaluing our property before eventually buying it. We certainly have a right to call foul!!

      • Ex. Burien says:

        I have no sympathy for anyone that bought property. You knew that the airport was there. Simple as that.

        It’s been pretty clear for the last 70 + years that commercial aviation was not going to go away.

        It’s too bad they didn’t keep the crosswind runway from the original Bow Lake airport…

    • Shari says:

      @Ex.:Congrats. So few writers of essays know how to end the thing. Definitely not the case with you.

    • Erik says:

      Other than during Seafair weekend, Seahurst has historically had almost zero plane noise. But this summer, after Seafair ended, the planes continued. It’s pretty unbearable, and as someone who has lived in Burien for over 30 years, this is a new phenomenon. I loved the quiet peaceful neighborhood, so close to downtown. But this definitely has us considering selling and moving elsewhere.

  10. Kellie T says:

    I live between King County airport and SeaTac so have heard a lot of air traffic over the 12 years I’ve been here. Sounds like I’m just sharing the wealth with all of you lucky west-siders! However, I DID buy a house that had the triple windows and port-package sound-proofing, so I feel bad for those of you that didn’t, marginally. Of course it will be worse in the summer with those windows open. You bought near an airport; what did you expect?! Just be thankful you don’t have a neighbor with a rooster that crows all night long for the last I can’t remember how many years like me! Thankfully, I think it died this year.

    • Time to move on says:

      So, how’s your property value these days Kellie? I know, you get to pay more property tax, but what would people be willing to pay for your location? Has that increased like the rest of the county?

  11. Stuart says:

    There are people on Beacon Hill who are also very concerned about airport noise. Check this news story


    and this group in Facebook

    Quieter Skies Task Force of SE Seattle’s Beacon Hill

  12. Keith Weir says:

    Long ago, in a Community FAR, FAR , AWAY ( WE WISH !!)


    For those who really want to delve into the nitty-gritty technical details of the Port of Seattle’s airport noise study, a special public workshop will be held July 29 from 12:30- 1:30 p.m. at Sea-Tac Airport.

    The meeting is in response to requests at the last Part 150 Noise Compatibility Public Workshop for a technical session regarding detailed noise modeling and input data topics.

    Led by Vince Mestre, the Part 150’s noise analyst task leader, the meeting will be held in the airport office building’s Beijing Conference Room on the mezzanine level.

    Participants at the session will have the opportunity to discuss the mathematics and detailed data used to measure as well as model aircraft noise levels in the vicinity of Sea-Tac Airport.

    Participants will also discuss sound propagation effects associated with different types of meteorology. The discussions will be informal and focus on questions raised by the participants.

    The comprehensive report from the June 9th public workshop is now available on the airport’s website at http://www.airportsites.net/SEA-Part150/default.htm.

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