Airport Information Meeting
On October 2nd Members of the West 45 Airport Noise coalition joined with CHARGE (our sister organization on the east side of IAH) to present an informational meeting for many of our local elected officials and candidates.
As elections are near, the turnout was excellent. Among the many politicians present were Rep. Ted Poe, Rep. Shella Jackson-Lee, Rep. Debbie Riddle and Rep. Sefronia Thompson, and candidate Dan Patrick. Many other elected officials sent representatives or staff members. Representatives of the City of Houston and Harris County elected not to attend.
The focus of the meeting was to present an update and to introduce the airport noise issue to our elected or prospective officials. Mike Cothran, president of CHARGE, was the keynote speaker. Millie Cara from the Hooks Coalition brought a pictorial history of the efforts of that group over the last several years.
West 45 and CHARGE have a common set of goals. These goals are:
There continue to be land developers in the Harris and adjoining County areas that disregard the issues that effect development in the areas near our major airports. The State of Texas, Harris County and our area cities must work together to avoid inappropriate development, and to preserve a reasonable right-of-way for air traffic. Our proposal for Land Use Management addresses the future needs for growth of the airports in a positive and constructive way.
Finally, our airports and the FAA must reconfigure air traffic patterns to minimize the effects of turbine noise on the surrounding neighborhoods. Affected areas now stretch 20 to 30 miles east and west of IAH. Our system of freeways, lakes and heavily wooded areas that surround IAH offer the perfect route for approach and take-off of air traffic. There is really no need for airplanes over our neighborhoods. Alternate routes are readily available for our local air traffic.
Please help us carry the message to our elected officials. They are beginning to understand the issues, but are looking for signs of community support. Go to our websites (http://thecharge.com, or http://flightnoise.com). Register as a concerned citizen, and leave us your e-mail address. If you would like to volunteer, contact Linda Falkner (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The October 2nd PowerPoint presentation was uploaded to the website.
The Discussion board was replaced with a new system to ensure the integrity of the website.
Our joint townhall meeting was well attended by concerned residents and invited politicians.
THE FIRST NOISE CHALLENGE TO THE AIRPORT EXPANSION HAS CONCLUDED WITH A DECISION AGAINST THE CITY OF HOUSTON
Today a jury decision was reached in the Simmons vs. City of Houston case regarding the noise pollution caused at their home.
After numerous extensions and delays by the City of Houston, the case was finally tried today.
The decision was a result of a unanimous jury vote and the Simmons were awarded the maximum allowable plus their court costs in Judge Tom Lawrenceís court.
Bill Turk, an engineer who testified on behalf of the Simmons, indicated that unlike Bush IAH, other major airport cities around the country have noise abatement programs. One difference is that Bush Intercontinental Airport has county residents on three sides who have no voice in the City of Houston government. Thus far the City has ignored the need for noise abatement, pollution monitoring and land use management around the airport because the affected citizens have no representation in the City of Houston, who is also the airport owner and operator.
A jury trial was held today in Judge Tom Lawrence's court, Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Humble, Texas, to present possibly the first noise pollution case resulting from the most recent expansion of Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). The case, Simmons and Simmons versus the City of Houston, was heard by a jury consisting of 3 women and 3 men.
The Simmons, who live almost 3 miles from the new runway that was placed in service October 31st, 2003, filed the suit against the City of Houston as a result of the significant increase in noise they have been exposed to at their residence. Using the venue of Judge Tom Lawrence's "Small Claims Court," the Simmon's requested compensation from the City of Houston to allow some soundproofing to their residence.
After hearing both the Simmons' and the City of Houston, the jury deliberated for approximately one hour before reaching a unanimous verdict awarding the Simmons a total of $5000.00 plus court costs. This is the maximum award that can be made in a small claims court. The judgment will be signed today and the City of Houston has ten (10) days to appeal the verdict.
Our townhall meeting was well attended by the general public, government officials, elected representatives, and board members. We thank you all for attending. Feel free to post comments on our discussion board to let us know what you thought.
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