Dallas lacks tools to track dramatic increase in noise complaints against Love Field

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 7:52 PM

DALLAS –– Noisier neighborhoods near Love Field may be Dallas' first complication caused by repealing the Wright Amendment, which was the big push to open Love to long-haul flights across the country.

Since the new airport terminal opened in April, noise complaints against the airport have skyrocketed. Now it appears the city of Dallas may not be collecting the kind of information needed to address the problem.          

The big complaint is a spike of activity on the east runway that sends planes over Dallas neighborhoods like Greenway Parks and into the town of Highland Park.

The city previously tracked takeoff and landing activity in a weekly newsletter. But in the last five months, the newsletter tells concerned residents "...our Noise Monitoring and Flight Tracking System is temporarily unavailable."

Out for a walk on Tuesday in the neighborhood of Greenway Parks, which is sandwiched between the Dallas North Tollway and Inwood Rd., Lois Langhenry notices something hard to ignore.

"See, there it goes. Every five minutes,” she said, pointing to an overhead plane. “And it definitely is coming this way."

Officials in Highland Park report a huge spike in noise complaints from residents and plan to hire former Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher to help them find some relief from the city of Dallas.

However, many residents in Dallas and Highland Park say they are reluctant to talk publicly, partly concerned that calling attention will hurt their high-end property values.

"It is definitely louder pattern over the neighborhood here," said Langhenry, a 30-year resident who says she’s adapting to the additional noise.          

In mid-April Love Field opened its new terminal. The city says because of the way the terminal is laid out, pilots have greater flexibility to use either runway and are showing a preference for the east airstrip that runs along Lemmon Avenue.

Judd Bradbury is a Highland Park resident who frequently files noise complaints with Love Field, which is run by the city of Dallas.          

He said he was stunned to find out the city no longer monitors noise or tracks traffic levels on its two runways, especially now with noise complaints on the rise, increasing from one to two monthly to five to 10 each day.

"I have a question about their priorities or how seriously they're taking it,” Bradbury said.

For a second day in a row officials did not confirm or deny if noise is on the rise. A spokesman also would not speak about what the city plans to do about the rising concerns.

Email dschechter@wfaa.com

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