Bogus Noise Complaints at Livermore Municipal Airport?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Gripes growing at Livermore airport
By Bonita Brewer

Takeoffs and landings at the Livermore Municipal Airport are down but noise complaints are up, says airport General Manager Leander Hauri. In less than half a year, airport neighbors have nearly equaled the number of complaints filed all of last year.

The airport received 618 complaints in 2004.

Through May 31, the airport recorded 505 complaints, even though the summer flying season hadn’t begun and residents hadn’t yet started opening their windows to stay cool.

Complaints may be up, but the planes have not been. Hauri says rising fuel costs and worse-than-usual spring weather have kept more planes than usual on the ground.

Landings and takeoffs over the past 12 months totaled 184,899, down from 193,111 during the previous one-year period, Hauri said.

He insisted that aircraft noise is not up. He blamed the boost in complaints on the airport’s new noise complaint system and on heightened awareness of the airport over the past year because of the controversy over a now-scuttled airport master plan.

The complaint system, instituted in March, involves a phone line especially for complaints, 925-373-5050. Also, as of June 1, people have been able to lodge complaints about airport noise on the city’s Web site at

“We’re more and more accommodating in taking complaint filings,” Hauri said. “We know we’re the black sheep. Airports typically are.”

He acknowledged that despite an overall drop in airport activity, there’s been an increase in takeoffs and landings by charter services operating corporate jets and turbo-powered propeller planes — aircraft that can draw noise complaints.

The airport recorded 1,802 landings and takeoffs from such aircraft over the past year — up from 1,666 during the previous 12 months.

“If we have an older, noisier jet take off, we do get more complaints than any other aircraft type,” Hauri said. “But the vast majority of jets that operate at this airport, and that will in the future, are very quiet.”

One quarter of the 177 complaints filed during the month of May came from two Pleasanton households, and 10 came from one Livermore household, according to data released by Hauri’s office.

The complainants’ identities cannot be disclosed, according to a recent court ruling in a San Jose case.

Seventeen noise complaints were about aircraft flying during the airport’s 10 p.m.-6 a.m. voluntary curfew. Of those, 10 came from the one Livermore household.

Editor’s Note: This is a well known tactic of airport opponents. Time to take them to task?