For years, residents living in the flight paths of Ohio State University Airport have complained about noise so loud that it shakes windows and keeps them awake at nights.

For years, residents living in the flight paths of Ohio State University Airport have complained about noise so loud that it shakes windows and keeps them awake at nights.

But according to a report unveiled last week, the noise may not be loud enough to warrant measures being taken to quiet the aircraft flying over neighborhoods in Worthington and nearby communities.

According to the noise contour maps created during phase one of the Part 150 Noise Study, only land within the Don Scott Field boundaries reaches 65 DNL (Day-Night Average Sound Level), which is the cut-off point considered by the FAA as being worthy of federally-approved noise abatement measures.

"There are no residences within these (65 DNL) contours," said Part 150 consultant Steve Alverson. "We understand there is noise exposure beyond 65 DNL."

Following his presentation of the Part 150 phase one report to about 50 residences meeting at the airport on April 24, Alverson said that though the FAA does not approve abatement measures for areas beyond the 65 DNL level, phase two of the study may still provide some recommendations for relief for people living beyond the airport boundaries.

Alverson said that the university supports noise abatements for people living within the 60 DNL level, but must persuade the FAA to concur.

The area within the 60 DNL includes only a few neighborhoods closest to the airport, none within the Worthington city limits.

Changes such as assignment of different flight tracks or a balance in runway use could eventually benefit people living even beyond the 60 DNL limits, he said.

People who live in Worthington are particularly concerned about the university's plans to extend the north runway. That would increase the number of jets using that runway, which is more directly aligned with Worthington than the south runway, where most jets currently land and depart.

Alverson said the training flights that now use the north runway would switch to the south runway, and approximately 80 percent of the jet traffic would use the extended north runway.

The noise exposure maps, upon which future decisions about noise abatement and land use will be based, were based on aircraft operations occurring today and those projected for 2012 and 2027. Both of the future maps assume that the north runway will be built.

The maps will be further refined, then submitted to the University and the FAA for acceptance.

That will be followed by phase two of the study, which will evaluate noise compatibility alternatives.

Alverson told the crowd last week that noise abatement cannot include curfews, because they are prohibited by federal law. Airports must be open to air traffic 24 hours a day.

One alternative that could be considered is discouraging pilots from using the 50 degree turn that sends many flights over the middle of Worthington.

Public input will be considered as phase two recommendations are reviewed, he said.

"In the next phase, we will be trying to benefit as many people as we can," Alverson said.

The Part 150 Noise and Land Use Compatibility Study was undertaken by the airport with the support of the FAA after it was requested by Worthington City Council. The city has received thousands of noise complaints from residents who were bothered by the noise generated by aircraft using the airport, especially at night.

Some of those residents continued to voice their concerns during last week's meeting.

Ben Robbins, who lives in nearby Linworth, said the expansion of the north runway would put increased jet traffic right over his roof.

"That gives me a choice: fight it or move," Robbins said.

Mary Jo Cusack, mayor of the village of Riverlea, said residents in her community are tired of their windows rattling and their outdoor activities being interrupted by noisy planes.

"We've been fighting them for 25 years," she said.

John Haueisen of Worthington said the extension of the north runway will lead to increased noise that will impinge on residents' expectations of a quiet outdoor atmosphere for enjoyment of the town's unique historical attractions.

Allan Chace of Worthington said Ohio State has one consideration for the expansion: the bottom line.

"There's a huge amount of land here," he said. "What are they developing the land here for, to teach students how to fly? No. It's about money."

Bill Carleton, a member of the Northwest Civic Association (NWCA) who serves on the airport's Part 150 Study task force, said the NWCA likely will weigh in on the expansion once the study is complete.

He said he believes that while residents have legitimate gripes, they're not necessarily taking into consideration the benefits of the airport in the community. Carleton urged people to keep an open mind.

"I don't think they should judge until the study's done," he said.

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