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woose.org: Media - OSU seeks better way to handle airport noise complaints
OSU seeks better way to handle airport noise complaints
Worthington News (SNP), June 22, 2005

Reprinted courtesy of The Worthington News/SNP 2005

The way noise complaints have been handled at the Ohio State University Airport is not the best, university officials said, but it is working on ways to improve the system.

Ohio State officials and members of the citizens group We Oppose Ohio State (airport) Expansion met June 14 to discuss a number of airport issues, especially noise complaints.

Both Ohio State and WOOSE agreed the airport has been unresponsive to complaints and that changes need to be made.

"... We need to do a better job, and we are working on a system that will do just that," said Elizabeth Conlisk, OSU vice president of media relations.

Airport Director Doug Hammon said he has been in discussion with other airports for guidance and has been researching a three-part plan to respond to complaints.

As part of the plan, the university will begin responding to all complaints it receives, said Nawal Taneja, department of aviation chairman, in an e-mail.

It will also begin collecting its own aircraft operations data. University officials have been investigating systems that will allow it to collect the necessary data.

The airport now must rely on the Federal Aviation Administration to release data so it can respond to complaints.

The third tier of the plan calls for the university to look for ways to reduce noise based on the complaints it receives. This would include "identifying the types of aircraft or organizations that cause the most problems and seek (a) solution to reduce noise," Taneja said in an e-mail.

Ohio State has already been in discussion with FAA officials about mitigation procedures that include restrictions on noisy aircraft, Taneja said.

In turn, WOOSE will change the way it reports complaints. Instead of sending "confirmed" complaints, it will send all reports of aircraft disturbances to the airport.

Hammon said the data previously sent has been confusing and did not provide a complete picture of the complaints.

WOOSE members want to see results before they agree the university is taking steps to solve the noise problems.

"Our concerns have fallen on deaf ears," WOOSE President Dennis Hennen said. "They'll listen to us and then they'll do nothing. This has been the case the entire time."

Hennen said he was for the third time denied the chance to speak to the OSU Board of Trustees because the airport expansion was not on the agenda.

University officials have said the community will be given ample notice when the airport issue comes up for discussion.

The issue will likely next be discussed when the results of an environmental assessment are released. Bud Baeslack, dean of the College of Engineering, said no meeting has been set up with the trustees' facilities planning committee to discuss the results.

In April, Baeslack said in a prepared statement that the earliest the environmental assessment would come up was this month, but he did not specify a date.

Read more Central Ohio Community News at the Suburban News Publications Web site, SNPonline.com.

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