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November 5, 2013
Sharon Township Trustee Election
Questions concerning OSU Airport noise impacts
and
proposed airport expansion
5 candidates seek your vote
for
2 Sharon Township Trustee positions

To assist voters in understanding candidates' position on OSU airport noise, proposed additional hangars and an extension of the North runway, WOOSE submitted questions to the candidates. Background information on the proposed airport expansion follows the Q/A.

Question #1: Please identify what positive and negative impacts you believe the OSU Airport and its aircraft operations have on the Sharon Township and its residents.

John Haueisen: As I have stated for years, although airport supporters claim the airport is "good for business," it has not been demonstrated what specific "good" things the airport does for Sharon Township residents.  On the other hand, many township residents experience noisy disruptions of phone calls, outdoor gatherings, and even conversations indoors, on a daily (and nightly!) basis. The cumulative noise does not disrupt sleep nearly so much as loud, noises like the roar of a jet over your roof.  Such single-event noises startle people, and wake them up, and deprive them of the sound sleep necessary for good health.  To date, the OSU airport has done little or nothing to work with Sharon Township/Worthington residents to remedy the noisy by-product of their daily and nightly operations.

Slade Hankinson: Did not respond after multiple attempts to reach him.

Craig Mayton: Increased noise levels clearly negatively impact our citizen's quiet enjoyment of their homes. As a newcomer to this issue, I am very concerned about the lack of reliable, updated information about the noise level that would be generated by the proposed expansion of facilities and operations at KOSU. First, you (WOOSE) point(s) out that the FAA determined that the information submitted in April, 2011 in the Noise Compatibility Program was incomplete. As far as I can tell, this information has not been completed as of this year. Second, the monthly noise complaint tally is no longer being reported. We need accurate data on the affect that any expansion of operations would have on noise levels in our neighborhoods.

John Oberle: The OSU Airport has been a part of the community since roughly 1942 and has served a good role as a teaching facility.  This was the bargain that the communities around the airport got when the airport was established.  Organizations evolve and growth is inevitable in the aeronautical industry.  Central Ohio is blessed with numerous airport facilities and we need to best balance where commercial vs. teaching facilities are located.  I see too much growth in the commercial sector creating a negative impact for the surrounding community.

Phillip Smith: It matters to our residents because we live in an old neighborhood and the planes are too noisy.

Question #2: What impacts do you believe the proposed addition of hangars for 50 aircraft, development of the North side of the airport, new terminal and the extension of the North Runway at the OSU Airport will have on Sharon Township and its residents?

John Haueisen: Further development of the North side of the airport and the addition of more hangars can only result in more air traffic and the noise that comes with it.  I would ask what benefit do Sharon Township and Worthington residents get, in exchange for a decrease in their quality of life--a noisier neighborhood which lessens property value and the enjoyment of their homes and outdoor areas.

Slade Hankinson: Did not respond after multiple attempts to reach him.

Craig Mayton: Common sense tells us that expansion of this magnitude will increase noise levels.  However, as I stated in the answer to my previous question, we need updated, accurate  studies that reflect the quantitative extent of this increase.

John Oberle: It depends on the use of this development   If it is for small planes and planes utilized in the teaching mission of OSU then some expansion in this area will have some impact, but it would be at least consistent with the OSU mission.  Commercialization of these facilities would have a great impact on our residents as it would increase traffic which would cause more disruption.  Further, it would likely pull business from the other commercial airports in Central Ohio.

Phillip Smith: It would be too jammed up.  The area that OSU wants to use is too small.

Question # 3: How should these impacts be addressed by Sharon Township? What should Sharon Township's role be regarding the addition of hangars, the development of the North side of the airport and the extension of the North Runway, and the ongoing impacts of aircraft noise on Sharon Township residents?

John Haueisen: Sharon Township should use every opportunity to question the benefits of changes at the airport and to urge OSU to make every possible effort to make the airport a quieter, more considerate neighbor to the surrounding community.

Slade Hankinson: Did not respond after multiple attempts to reach him.

Craig Mayton: You (WOOSE) point(s) out that our Sharon Township Board of Trustees is without authority to compel the implementation of noise abatement procedures. We can, however, insist that our citizens are provided with accurate, updated data on the noise-level impact of any proposed expansion so appropriate and informed advocacy can take place.

John Oberle: These impacts should be fully understood and vetted prior to any decision to expand the North Runway or proceeding with the other development.  Decisions need to be informed and all residents should be educated about the pros and the cons prior to an expansion decision.  I would like to see articles in our local papers at some point every week (for a period of time) to educate our residents on all that has taken place in contemplation of an expansion decision.  The Township also needs to seek input from our residents.  As an elected official, my role must be to represent our residents and to be an effective advocate for issues important to their families.

Phillip Smith: You should get the residents and OSU to talk.

Questions #4: As a Sharon Township trustee, what do you see as YOUR role regarding the above?

John Haueisen: I have lived in Sharon Township my whole life.  I think the township should oppose anything that would increase the dumping of "noise trash" (the byproduct of operating their business) down onto the rooftops and yards of Sharon Township residents.  I would like to get the OSU airport to begin a dialog in which there could be discussion of better uses for the airport land--parks, housing for students or faculty, and perhaps even additional academic buildings.  There is no need any more for this airport.  Its functions, including aviation education for the dwindling number of aviation students, can be handled more cost-effectively through agreements with Port Columbus, Bolton, Rickenbacker, and even some of the Delaware County airports.  There is simply no longer a need for the OSU airport, and the many acres of land could be put to much better use, and use that would not decrease the quality of life for the OSU airport's neighbors in Sharon Township and Worthington.

Slade Hankinson: Did not respond after multiple attempts to reach him.

Craig Mayton: My role is to press for accurate updated data on the noise impact that will occur as the result of any proposed expansion of facilities or operation.

John Oberle: Same as question 4, and still in a leadership role.  I would like to continue to be the lead on this issue for the Township so we are not educating someone new on all the issues.  As you may know, I have been on the Advisory Committee for the airport since first being elected Trustee of Sharon Township.  I care about this issue.  We also have a new elected official, John O'Keeffe, who is highly educated and effective on these issues.  I would like to work with him as a team to advance these issues.

Phillip Smith: I will listen to all parties (residents and OSU) and then will make my decision.

Question #5: Do you believe there is a need for an expanded Corporate Jet Center at OSU Airport?  Why or why not?  What impact would an expanded Corporate Jet Center at OSU have on the airports operated by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (Port Columbus, Rickenbacker and Bolton Field)?

John Haueisen: Much as I stated in my previous answer, I would like to get the OSU airport to begin a dialog in which there could be discussion of better uses for the airport land--parks, housing for students or faculty, and perhaps even additional academic buildings. There is no need any more for this airport.  Its functions, including aviation education for the dwindling number of aviation students, can be handled more cost-effectively through agreements with Port Columbus, Bolton, Rickenbacker, and even some of the Delaware County airports.  There is simply no longer a need for the OSU airport, and the many acres of land could be put to much better use, and use that would not decrease the quality of life for the OSU airport's neighbors in Sharon Township and Worthington.

Slade Hankinson: Did not respond after multiple attempts to reach him.

Craig Mayton: Based on the information that I have, I cannot evaluate the need for an expanded Corporate Jet Center. In order to evaluate whether there is such a need, I would seek the opinion of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.

John Oberle: Generally no, but it depends on the impact of aircraft traffic and noise.  I would not like to see air traffic increase in our community at all.  Existing structures need to be kept modern so some improvement may be needed to serve the existing base.  I want to study any final plans and I believe if they increase traffic that will have a negative impact on the other commercial airports in Central Ohio.

Phillip Smith: Sharon Township people would not like jets going over all night and all day.  I know this because I used to live on the path of Port Columbus.

Additional Comments:

John Haueisen: Although many general aviation plane owners have enjoyed the use of the OSU airport, it has been at the expense of less than "best use" of the acres of land, AND at a disruption of the peace and tranquility of the homes and outdoor areas of Worthington and Sharon Township residents. The airport is simply a dinosaur that has outlived its usefulness and viability as the best use of so much acreage.  Certainly, OSU can find more productive ways to use this land, and ways that will not harm the university's neighbors.

John Oberle: First, my responses have not changed entirely from the last questionnaire.  I am an advocate of what WOOSE is doing and the need to properly protect our residents, their home values, and our community.  WOOSE has been a consistent presence and advocate over the years and I commend the leadership and members over the years for their dedication, study and belief in making a difference.  I am running for my third term as Trustee and hope to use my expertise on this issue, and relationships, to advocate on these issues.

Background information on the OSU Airport as of August 2013:

In the spring of 2003 OSU Airport stated its intent to add hangars and extend the North runway. The proposed extended North runway would be used by all jets and high performance aircraft. As a result, all aircraft using the extended N runway would descent directly over downtown Worthington and surrounding Sharon Township residential neighborhoods on final approach to OSU airport. Jets and high performance aircraft departing OSU to the East are required to make a 050 degree turn flying over Worthington and Sharon Township residential neighborhoods and remain under 3,000 feet to avoid Port Columbus airspace.

The City of Worthington retained legal counsel and experts. In June, 2003, on the advice of counsel, the City of Worthington requested that the OSU Airport perform a Part 150 Noise Study (Part 150) to document the impact of existing and future airport operations.

After years of pressure by WOOSE, the City of Worthington and Village of Riverlea representatives, OSU finally agreed to perform a Part 150 and Noise Compatibility Program (NCP) with financial support by the FAA. The study began in 2007.

OSU hired experts, consultants and a public relations firm to conduct and present the studies. The studies determined noise impacts did not reach the 65 DNL (averaged day/night level) as required by the federal government for noise mitigation (improvements to lessen noise exposure). Even though the study failed to show impacts over the 65 DNL metric, OSU agreed to analyze other options for noise mitigation. OSU posted recommended Noise Guidelines for pilots using OSU airport which you may review at http://www.osuairport.org/39 The study also included a list of recommended voluntary programs to reduce noise impacts.

In 2010 OSU submitted the Part 150 and a Noise Compatibility Program (NCP) to the FAA for review and approval.

In April of 2011, the FAA advised OSU the information submitted in the NCP was incomplete, inaccurate and dated. The FAA determined it was unable to begin the next step (a 180-day review) and was unwilling to pay for additional study to address the problems. You may review these documents at http://www.woose.org/news/news.html?newsid=154 and also http://woose.org/docs/files/2011-05-faa-foia-response.pdf

OSU Airport Director Doug Hammon wrote the FAA assuring the information provided was complete and correct. WOOSE wrote the FAA supporting the findings of the FAA as well as the importance of using complete, accurate and up-to-date data in all studies and reports. As of this writing, the FAA has not provided additional response.

As of 2013, The OSU Part 150 study has not been accepted by the FAA. The OSU Part 150 Study has not been approved by the FAA.

Update on the proposed expansion:

Update on the KOSU noise complaint collection and reporting:

Update on aircraft operations at KOSU as reported by the FAA

Update on NIFA-SAFECON- National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON)

In Summary

The City of Worthington, Sharon Township and the Village of Riverlea do not have power to compel either OSU or the FAA to implement noise abatement procedures or other mitigation, but these entities can use efforts to influence decision makers. In the event that OSU decides to proceed to extend the North Runway, there will be another wave of hearings and reports under the environmental laws, including either an Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment.

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