2 aldermen seek hearing on O'Hare jet noise

Tribune reporter

Two Chicago aldermen whose wards are awash in jet noise are calling for hearings on the new air-traffic patterns at O'Hare International Airport.

Alds. Mary O’Connor, 41st, and Margaret Laurino, 39th Ward, introduced a resolution at Wednesday's City Council meeting seeking hearings with Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino and other officials at the Chicago Department of Aviation, officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the major airlines serving O'Hare, O'Connor told her constituents Thursday.

The hearings would focus on the changing noise contours that are the result of new runways, O'Connor said in a email sent to residents of her ward Thursday night.

The call for hearings followed a Tribune report Monday detailing an all-time record for noise complaints involving jets at O'Hare in 2013. Almost 25,000 complaints were filed between January and November — more than for any full year on record since Chicago installed noise-monitoring devices in 1996, officials said. Complaints also sharply increased in November, a month after O'Hare's fourth parallel east-west runway opened. The runway opening triggered an increase in takeoffs and landings east and west of the airport.

O'Connor told residents that she and Laurino want to “gather information about the airline industry's efforts to mitigate the impact of aircraft noise on the surrounding population.'”

“I co-sponsored this resolution because I feel it's important to keep the conversation going about these changes that have taken place at O'Hare Airport,'' said O'Connor, who is a supporter of O'Hare expansion.

She said she wants to strike “a balance that fosters economic growth for the region while still respecting the concerns of residents on the Far Northwest Side of the city.'”

Dates for the hearings were not immediately set.

The latest noise complaint report issued by the city, which covers November, includes 2,300 from Chicago. Almost half, or 1,032, came from the 41st Ward. Next was the 45th Ward, with 923 complaints; and the 39th Ward, 247 complaints.


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