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Long Beach OKs soundproofing for airport neighbors' homes

Officials hope to reduce noise levels to an average of 45 decibels, allowing for bursts of sound throughout the day.

October 08, 2009|Robert Faturechi

First comes the faraway rumble, then the roar and before long the whole house is rattling.

But for dozens of people who live near the Long Beach Airport, the ear-numbing flyovers that have become a daily reality are about to get a little less agonizing. The City Council adopted a plan late Tuesday to soundproof houses most affected by aircraft noise.

An increase in flights -- particularly louder military planes -- in recent years prompted airport officials to offer soundproofing for neighboring homes. About two dozen homeowners along the southern end of the main flight path will be eligible for acoustic windows, attic insulation and other soundproofing measures, airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson said.

The homes are located within parts of the area east of Clark Avenue and immediately north and south of Willow Street.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, October 10, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Long Beach Airport: An article in Thursday's Section A on a program to soundproof some homes near the Long Beach Airport said the program's estimated cost is $28 million. The estimated cost is $2.8 million.

Many outside the zone are angry.

Robert Guzman, 30, lives just north of the airport's main flight path and says he has to cover his newborn son's ears 30 to 40 times a day as planes blast over his home. Guzman, a Bixby Knolls resident, painted his walls in January, only to see them begin to crack days later.

The fractures are 3 inches wide now, he said, and growing with every rumbling flyover.

"It vibrates my whole house -- the ceiling, the walls, everything," Guzman said. "I don't know what to do anymore."

Airport officials seek to limit the noise level inside soundproofed homes to 45 decibels, but that target is a daily average that still allows for bursts of sound throughout the day.

"If you get an F-18 jet flying right over your house, it's going to be loud. I don't care what kind of windows you have," Diggs-Jackson said.

This week's vote paves the way for funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for the estimated $28-million project, Diggs-Jackson said.


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