Silence is golden, or in this case at least, green.
El Segundo residents either will have to pay now for 20% of the cost to insulate their homes against the roaring noise of Los Angeles Airport, or wait in hopes that city and airport officials reach an agreement that would allow residents to pay nothing.
But that could take years, said Harvey Holden, El Segundo's airport projects administrator. About 3,800 households are affected by the noise, which can be reduced with soundproof windows and doors, additional interior walls, Z-shaped slats in crawl spaces and insulation.
Residents have until Monday to accept the offer recently floated by the City Council. If by then the city has not received enough pledges to total $250,000, the Federal Aviation Administration will take back $1 million it had set aside for the project in May. To get the money, Holden said, the city had to find another source to pick up 20% of the $1.25 million needed for the project. In this case, they decided to ask residents.
Those who accept the offer can expect to pay from $1,320 to $8,960 depending on how close they live to the airport.
The city had expected the money to come from the Los Angeles Department of Airports. In 1992, the Board of Airport Commissioners pledged to give El Segundo $1.7 million for its soundproofing efforts. But the current board appointed by Mayor Richard Riordan has decided not to release the money unless residents relinquish future rights to sue LAX.
That will never happen, Holden said. Just the opposite: The city has sued in an effort to force the airport to release the money.