Complaints soar at airport, neighbors fight noise

Complaints soar at airport, neighbors fight noise

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There's little traffic on the ground in south Charlotte's Mountainbrook neighborhood. However, up above the birds get drowned out by the planes.

"I can hear the international flights coming," said resident Brian Cox. "If someone is flying to Paris, or Madrid or London, generally, we are going to know because they fly over our rooftops at 5,000 feet."

Cox can easily track each plane and its altitude online. There's more noise the past year since the FAA changed flight paths based on research aimed at improving efficiency nationwide.

A mile away from Mountainbrook, some neighbors have put up signs about where to file complaints about airport noise.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport says complaints have soared in a year. In 2015, there were around 10,000 noise complaints. That number rose to nearly 70,000 in 2016.

Brent Cagle, Aviation Director at the airport, says about 60,000 of those complaints came from a group of about 15-20 property owners who were greatly bothered by the noise.

"The reality is, we are a large airport and we are in an urban area," said Cagle. "There's no perfect flight path that doesn't go over residential areas."

Wednesday, for the first time, Cagle and nearly two dozen concerned citizens from across the Charlotte region will join in a newly formed Airport Community Roundtable to discuss noise.

Because the group will have participation from all parts of the area, no one group of citizens can create change without agreement.

"I would never compare what we're experiencing here to what people in Steele Creek are experiencing," said Cox.

However, he believes the new noise is troubling because longtime homeowners never expected it to be an issue based on their distance from the airport.

He's hopeful that being part of the roundtable will bring about agreeable, safe solutions which the FAA and airport can consider.

It meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the CLT Center on Wilkinson Boulevard. The first meeting will be largely a meet-and-greet among members. It is open to the public.

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