"Perception Gauge" Shows That More Than 240,000 People Can Be Affected
IRVINE, CA - April 15, 1999 - - Contrary to county promises that the proposed airport at El Toro will be "community friendly," two noise study reviews commissioned by the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority (ETRPA) show that persistent loud noise will severely impact more than 9,500 homes and approximately 30,000 residents outside the 65 CNEL line. These people will experience 85 dB single event (SENEL) noise from El Toro more than 30 times over a 24-hour period, seven days per week from aircraft like 747's or 767's. This is the noise equivalent to a blender or garbage disposal - - loud enough to disturb sleep and interrupt conversation.
In addition to the large aircraft, the county’s Alternative B has more than 800 flights arriving or departing from El Toro everyday. A comparison of perceived noise annoyance levels by residents outside John Wayne Airport’s 65 CNEL line shows that the county’s noise studies are "surgically" drawn by computer models, and bear little resemblance to actual impacts from flights. The research data shows that reactions to noise is a personal perception, not an easily quantified response. Many Newport/Costa Mesa residents outside the 65 CNEL line often believed they were in the John Wayne flight path, even though they were miles away from the official flight paths. Others, closer to the airport had grown accustomed to the noise, or felt that it did not bother them.
Noise studies are conducted over precisely configured parameters and bear little resemblance to how an airport actually operates, or impacts people. To give Orange County residents an idea of how an airport at El Toro might affect the surrounding communities in the course of real operations, the polling data from John Wayne was overlaid on the flight paths of El Toro. Conservatively, this "perception gauge" shows approximately 145,300 homes and more than 245,000 people can experience regular, disruptive noise 24-hours per day, every day of the year.
"The county has created a 'bluffer zone’ by claiming that no homes are going to be impacted by an airport at El Toro. This is blatantly false," said ETRPA chairperson Susan Withrow. "The significance of the CNEL and SENEL lines has more to do with money than noise. Homes within the CNEL line are eligible for sound-proofing; homes outside this average noise equivalent are simply out of luck. If your home gets 85 dB noise, but is outside the CNEL line, you will bear the burden of overflights without compensation for sound-proofing. This sound-proofing can cost well in excess of $30,000. Disruption of outdoor activities can never be mitigated. The county needs to stop trying to massage the numbers to mask the impacts of El Toro and deal squarely with the facts of how a real airport will affect the nearly one million people in South County."
According to Withrow, "ETRPA will continue to press the county for full disclosure of the technical reports and studies for El Toro. After spending nearly $40 million, the county planners should have some pretty conclusive studies. We will continue to demand they lay all the facts on the table in a timely manner so that people across the county can get a true picture of what this airport is all about."
The El Toro Reuse Planning Authority (ETRPA), recently commissioned
the analysis to estimate the number of homes within the single event noise
(SENEL) levels from 747's and 767's which will fly from El Toro. This footprint
was compared to responses from the Newport/Costa Mesa poll conducted by
Competitive Edge Research and Communication. The analysis compared population
figures and polling data to the county’s recently-released "Technical Report
9.1, Year 2020 CNEL Contours for El Toro and John Wayne Airports," and
the county’s EIR 563 noise contours.