Letters to the Editor

Please alleviate airport noise over Marine Hills | Letter to Congressman Adam Smith

Dear Congressman Adam Smith,

I am writing to you today as a member of the Federal Way City Council regarding the SeaTac Airport Part 150 Noise Study currently being conducted by the Port of Seattle.

I have heard many complaints about airplane noise expressed in our community as well as frustration at the port’s lack of progress in addressing noise problems plaguing specific neighborhoods.

I appreciate the leadership you have provided in advocating for the needs of the Federal Way community as our 9th District Congressional Representative. In that spirit of advocacy on behalf of Federal Way residents, I’d like to ask for your leadership once again in elevating the issue of airplane noise impacts in Federal Way, and encouraging the Port of Seattle to deal with these issues adequately in the Part 150 Noise Study.

Federal Way historically has suffered negative impacts from SeaTac Airport flight noise. We have, unfortunately, experienced mixed success in obtaining relief from noise impacts from arriving and departing planes flying over our city.

The neighborhoods in and around Marine Hills, along the Puget Sound shoreline, are experiencing significant flight traffic and noise. The outer flight markers that guide where flights are allowed to make their east or west turns away from or onto the airport approach path would keep flight paths from overflying these neighborhoods. It appears, however, that many flights are being allowed to make their turns earlier than the outer flight markers, bringing them directly over the Marine Hills neighborhood.

This has an incredible impact on our residents. Homeowners have told me that they avoid going outside when planes fly overhead, and that they can’t even hold a phone conversation at such times. When planes fly over the neighborhood during the night and early morning, residents are awakened from sleep.

The closer the turns are made to the airport, the closer the planes are to the ground and the higher the noise impact to the people living below that location. I believe that the Port of Seattle must reflect this noise impact in its decision-making and move the turn location as well as the outer flight markers farther south.

I have been unable to get confirmation from the Port of Seattle about its policy regarding the flight markers and the flight track pattern over Federal Way. It does not currently appear that the Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study will address these issues.

I would like to request your help in ensuring the following occurs during the Part 150 study:

• That the study provide accurate information about the current policy on flight track paths and flight turns over Federal Way, as well as the location of the outer flight markers.

• An assessment of noise impacts to the Marine Hills and surrounding neighborhoods, with data included in the update noise impacts map.

• Movement of the location of the outer flight markers and flight turn paths farther south to ensure that noise impacts are lessened on Federal Way residents.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with you or your staff. Thank you for your consideration and your hard work on behalf of the people of Federal Way.

Linda Kochmar, Federal Way City Council

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