Lawmakers revisit L.A. helicopter noise bill

Local residents may finally get some relief from the helicopter noise that disrupts sleep and makes it hard to work. Congressman Adam Schiff is joining with Congressmen Henry Waxman and Brad Sherman, and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to keep the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act in the legislative pipeline. The bill was reintroduced Monday.

It would require the Federal Aviation Administration to set and implement guidelines on flight routes and height limitations for aircraft such as news media helicopters that hover over crime scenes and crowded freeways. It would not restrict helicopters operated by the Los Angeles Police Department, other emergency responders or the military.

The FAA created a working group under the leadership of Ray LaHood that has been meeting with residents to hear their concerns about helicopter noise.

A report is expected in May with recommendations for height and route restrictions. Lawmakers hope the bill will provide leverage in getting the FAA to move on its recommendations.

Schiff, whose district now includes Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz–as well as West Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills and Atwater Village–has taken over as a primary sponsor of the bill, along with Feinstein.

The bill originally was introduced by former Congressman Howard Berman along with Sherman and Boxer, but had to be reintroduced when Congress began a new session.

“I’m heartened that Congressman Schiff and Senator Feinstein will be taking up the mantle of helicopter noise regulation next year,” Berman said in a statement. “They have been steadfast partners with me on the L.A. Helicopter Noise Relief Act.”

Schiff added in the same statement:

“The terrain of canyons around the Rose Bowl concentrates low-flying helicopter noise to high levels, and Hollywood Hills and West Hollywood residents frequently suffer from noise generated by celebrity news media that follow stars to the beach, the grocery store, or for court appearances.

“The residents in these areas deserve peace and quiet, and if the FAA won’t act, Congress must pass this legislation to give residents the relief they need.”