FAA May Buy Windows—Or Homes—Near Tweed

Thomas MacMillan PhotoFrom her living room, Christina Ferraro will still be able to admire the lights of landing jets across the street at Tweed-New Haven Airport, but she may no longer hear the rumble of their engines.

Ferraro (pictured), a reading teacher at Nathan Hale School, lives in one of about 185 houses in a 65-decibel-plus zone around New Haven’s airport in the East Shore. That means she and her family are subjected to the brunt of take-off and landing noise as planes arrive and depart.

The airport recently finished a federally funded study to determine the boundaries of the high-noise zone. The next step in the airport’s ongoing noise mitigation efforts is to assess houses in the zone for the possibility of noise-insulation improvements, also paid for by the federal government.

If the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to pay for new soundproof windows, she’ll take them, Ferraro said. But, she said, she’s gotten so used to the noise of planes nearby that she hardly notices it anymore, a sentiment several of her neighbors share.

About a year and a half ago, said Tim Larson, executive director of the Tweed airport authority, the airport started a study of airport noise, funded by the FAA.

“For about a year, we evaluated the impact of noise from the the airport out into the community,” Larson said. “We evaluated all the current and potential equipment that comes and goes from the airport.”

The airport created a “contour map” showing the rings around the airport where noise could reach 65- and 70-decibel levels. (Scroll down to see it.) Homes within the 65-decibel range are eligible for assessment and assistance with noise insulation for their homes.

“An engineer goes out to and tests your house for noise penetration,” Larson said. The engineer then makes recommendations about what kind of improvements could be made. That might include new windows, new doors, insulation, and heating and air conditioning, “because if you have a tight [noise-proof] building, you need to ventilate it.”

The airport last week hired an engineer to do the testing.

Once all the evaluations are done, the airport will apply for another round of funding to make the recommended improvements, Larson said. The airport has contracted New Haven’s minority-owned Tri-Con to supervise the home improvements.

FAA May Buy Homes


People living in the 70-decibel range are eligible to have their homes purchased by the FAA.

“About a month ago, we sent out a letter,” Tim Larson. The airport notified 185 homeowners that they are in the 65- or 75-decibel ring and eligible for noise reduction help.

About 130 people responded, Larson said. Many are interested in noise-reduction improvements. One elderly woman is interested in selling her house, not because of noise, but because of her advanced age, Larson said.

Among neighbors recently interviewed, however, noise didn’t seem to be the main problem, except for a woman who said she lives just outside the qualifying 65-decibel zone.

Yolanda Skerritt, who lives on Stuyvesant Avenue, said she’s not bothered by the noise. She got new windows not long ago and they do a good job of keeping the noise down, she said.

The bigger problem, according to Skerritt, is fumes. Planes idle near the airport terminal across the street and the jet-fuel fumes waft across to her property, she said. “That’s what I always call about.”

“You tend not to notice the noise,” she said. “But you smell the fumes.”

Skerritt said she new what she was getting into, noise-wise, when she bought a house near the airport in 1994. “Noise is noise. You’re going to have it.”

“The planes? Forget about it,” said an 88-year-old neighbor who declined to give his name. “I’m used to it.”

He said he’s been living across from the airport since 1961, when he bought his house for $13,000. He said whether or not he hears anything depends on the direction of the wind.

As for the opportunity to make his home more soundproof: “I don’t need anything.” He said he won’t take the feds up on their offer.

Jessica Ferraro, Diana’s 22-year-old daughter, said she doesn’t even notice plane noise any longer. “We’ve been living here so long.”

Diana said the family moved to their home near the airport 14 years ago.

“It’s beautiful at night,” she said. She likes watching the planes take off and land after the sun sets.

Like Diana, neighbor Frank Carreno said he doesn’t mind the noise, but wouldn’t say no to some new windows.

Ms. Forjoine, a neighbor down the street who declined to give her first name, said she is bothered by the sound, particularly when jets idle, waiting to takeoff right across the street from her house. “That’s what’s annoying.”

But, Forjoine said, she’s just outside of the 65-decibel zone. “They stopped a block away.”

Forjoine said she thinks the study wasn’t done right, that the people who did it didn’t put their sensors in the right locations. “That’s my only gripe.”

Forjoine said she keeps her windows closed at all times to keep the noise out. “Good thing we have air conditioning.”

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posted by: DingDong on May 13, 2014  4:28pm

Considering that the vast majority of users of Tweed seem to be private planes, I certainly hope the FAA gets reimbursed (through landing fees or whatever) for this outlay from recreational pilots and the supper-rich flying private jets.  If there were more public service (or I learned that the noise was caused primarily by AA’s 4 flights a day, I might think differently).

posted by: robn on May 13, 2014  9:18pm

Rorschach Fleur-de-Lis chicken bone

posted by: Atwater on May 13, 2014  10:08pm

The FAA (i.e. taxpayers) should not pay for windows of residents living near the airport. Most, if not all, of these people were well aware of the noise when they purchased their home. Caveat Emptor.

posted by: Eemich10 on May 14, 2014  7:01am

So the author is missing the REAL story here. Completely. Tweed has asked for the study so they can try and woo another carrier to New Haven. Fine. But Tweed wants to pave the “safety strip” that they agreed not to pave a few years back. I live nearby (but not in the study zone) and I am furious. I was 100% in favor of moving Dodge Ave and creating the safety strip, but now “the market has changed”? 
Some recent observations: Harp is for expansion. She also had her inaugural ball at Robertson- the private part of the airport located on a dead end In East Haven. Coincidence? That was the best location? Other observation: no one talks about the crash where two children died. It wasn’t that long ago people.

Again, I am not in the flight pattern, or in view of the airport. The commercial flights are LOUD. And smelly. I can’t imagine if there are more than 4 a day that the taxpayers who live in the East Shore will not have their quality of life affected.

posted by: Kevin on May 14, 2014  11:23am

Atwater, FAA (i.e., taxpayers) is paying for these measures for the same reason that the Federal Highway Administration is paying the bulk of the cost of extending the noise barrier along I-91. In doing the environmental impact analysis for the Q bridge project, FHWA determined that it would increase traffic and noise levels along I-91. Under federal law, FHWA has to mitigate these impacts since the Q bridge project is federally funded. Similarly, the federally funded Tweed project will allow for more flights and thus more noise. As a result, FAA needs to take steps to mitigate these impacts.

posted by: RHeerema on May 14, 2014  6:02pm

STOP the expansion of Tweed Airport! This airport is a big drain on local & state taxes and our quality of life.
SIGN this petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/state-senator-martin-looney-stop-the-expansion-of-tweed-new-haven-airport

Regarding the fumes. The EPA is moving glacially on the issue of LEAD in airplane fuel. We need to know what’s in the fumes at Tweed, with so many families nearby. VOTE to get answers: https://seeclickfix.com/issues/1051747

As Eemich10 wrote, Tweed’s proposal to pave the safety strips BREAKS their promises with the families in this otherwise quiet residential community.

Tweed is an untrustworthy entity which does not deserve to be artificially propped up any more by our tax dollars.

posted by: steve on May 17, 2014  6:18pm

The FAA grants are taken from funds on fees added to airline tickets, not from taxpayers. The 2009 agreement allowed for up to 180,000 passengers per year. Without paving portions of the overruns, that can never happen.
The 2009 agreement was flawed and needs to be updated with airport and airline personnel, not 2 mayors and some other person, all of whom had no knowledge of airport operations.
It seems most people near the airport have come to terms with the airport since it has been there since 1929.
There will not be a floodgate of dozens of new flights, perhaps 8 to 10 more spread over the course of the day, and even at that, its the private aircraft that constitute over 90% of the daily air traffic at Tweed.
Tweed will never become a large airport with a large number of daily flights, but a small regional airport with connections to 3 or 4 hub airports, an arrangement all can live with.

posted by: RHeerema on May 18, 2014  11:14am

Let’s bring this discussion into the 21st century: Tweed IS in the midst of an established residential neighborhood. 

70 new flights per week—with larger airplanes because of extended runways—is a direct negative impact on the quality of life of an Established Neighborhood.

There are MANY neighbors who cannot “live with” further expansion of Tweed. Ask the people living on Dean Street, who’ve experienced increased flooding.  Decibel levels of 70.  Untold lead poisoning from avgas. 

Taxes or fees, these are government-required shifts of money away from people and into an airport which does not benefit us: mostly private planes.

Regional airports move “economic expansion” dollars. They don’t create wealth.

posted by: steve on May 18, 2014  9:06pm

The fact that a plane may be larger does not mean it will create more noise. The latest 70-90 seat regional airliners are stage 4 noise compliant which means they create less noise and have a smaller ground noise footprint than the current planes serving Tweed.
Other airports have residential areas on their boarders and life goes on for those people. Way too much is being made by a few who envision Tweed turning into a mega airport complex, it will never happen. Tweeds land area and market means it will stay a small airport but with a few more daily flights to several other hub airports apart from Philadelphia.
Tweed was opened in 1929, everyone who has bought homes in the area knew full well the airport was there and all city airports have grown over the years to keep up with the demand for air travel.
Its time to realize that Tweed is underutilized and the region loses money spent by the traveling public when they use out of state airports and since Bradley field is almost in Massachusetts, I include it in the list of out of state airports.
Over the years, the New Haven area has lost out on companies moving into the area due to the limited runway at Tweed. Now is the time to correct this deficiency.