ABOUT THE PROBLEM
Los Angeles residents are being impacted by noise and air pollution from Van Nuys Airport (VNY) aircraft over Sherman Oaks, Encino, Studio City, and parts of Bel-Air, and along the Mulholland ridge. In addition, these same areas are impacted by Burbank Airport (BUR) aircraft. The presence of low-flying jets and planes over our homes, businesses, and schools (Sherman Oaks Elementary, Lanai Elementary, and others), is an unprecedented change to established flight patterns that had previously been used for decades. More southerly routes now mean flights regularly and frequently occur over elevated terrain, noise-sensitive areas, protected 4(f) parkland, protected open space, wildlife, historical resources, and mountainous terrain designated as a Fire Hazard Severity Zone by the State of California. These flights are destroying our way of life and exposing us to unrelenting noise that can cause high level of stress and health-related problems - both mental and physical.
We are a coalition of residents across Encino, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, parts of Bel-Air, and along the Mulholland Drive ridge, united to educate our communities and find a solution for new, disruptive Van Nuys Airport aviation routes in noise-sensitive areas, due to recent FAA flight path changes. We also support efforts to achieve a comprehensive solution to the FAA’s introduction of NextGen in the San Fernando Valley without proper notification to the public or adequate environmental studies, which impacts the safety and health of residents.
Frequency, Low Altitudes, High Elevations, Day & Night
Tens of thousands of residents in these communities are suddenly experiencing over 100 flights each day; some up to 300. There are no mandatory curfews. Some of these flights occur at 3:00 AM. Aircraft are flying at low altitudes, well below 6,000 feet, with their turns occurring over the Santa Monica Mountains, bordered by Ventura Blvd. to the north, the Mulholland Drive ridge to the south, Encino to the west and Studio City to the east. Thousands of residents live at elevations over 1,000 feet above sea level. This elevation reduces the distance from homes to the aircraft, and many are registering complaints of flights at 1,000 feet or less above their homes.
Dangerous Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ), Substandard Hillside Streets
The State of California has mapped much of these populated hillside communities of Encino, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Bel-Air and south of the Mulholland Drive ridge in the Santa Monica Mountains as a Fire Hazard Severity Zone, under the authority of the County of Los Angeles (LRA).
In addition, residential streets in this mountainous terrain, overlaid with the FHSZ, are also designated by the City of Los Angeles as “substandard hillside” streets. They are narrow and winding, making it difficult for fire and emergency vehicles to access the canyons should an accident occur. This is a severe threat to the safety of tens of thousands of residents.
Noise-Sensitive Areas, Protected Park Lands, Wildlife, Historical Resources
When jets fly over these areas at low altitudes or even at 7000 feet, reverberations bounce back and forth through the canyons at times for over a full minute. Although highly populated with families, this region of the Santa Monica Mountains also includes protected 4(f) parkland and open spaces, which are home to a variety of wildlife, and where hikers have traditionally found peace and solitude. A growing number of studies show that noise events such as these induce stress in humans and wildlife, along with the harmful effects of pollutants from aircraft (read about Health Risks below and on our Article Resources page).
In addition, many homes have been designated as Historical Resources by the city, and are in the National Registry or eligible for it. A vast number of these neighborhoods have been established since at least the 1950’s, built for indoor-outdoor living, abutted by quiet and peaceful canyons, nature, and overlooks.
Possible Health Risks from Aviation Noise and Pollution
Studies have shown the adverse effects of longer term exposure to aircraft and pollution emissions. These are just a few of the risks (read more on our Article Resources page):
A 2015 study estimated that aviation emissions cause approximately 16,000 premature deaths globally each year. Jet exhaust subjects residents to carcinogens, invisible to the eye, including benzene formaldehyde, 1,3 butadiene, and at least 200 other toxic compounds. (IopScience.org)
According to multiple studies, airport noise seriously affects children’s health and well-being, including significant increases in blood pressure and stress hormones, as well as impaired learning. (Cornell.edu) The World Health Organization has concluded that schools should not be located near airports. (NEMA, Appendix B). The schools that are currently affected in Encino and Sherman Oaks are miles from Van Nuys Airport but with the changes to flight patterns by the FAA, children attending them are now being exposed to unprecedented aviation noise.