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The Record, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2000 – Local News

Neighbors sign petition to ease noise from airport
Communities near Teterboro plead for state, federal help
By Lisa Goodnight, Staff Writer


Hackensack – Advocates for reducing noise from Teterboro Airport are not letting up in their fight to make it a quieter neighbor.

On Friday, Mayor John "Jack" Zisa announced that a city-sponsored petition demanding a night curfew, a new flight pattern, and funding to soundproof schools has been signed by 3,000 residents.

"The problem has gotten worse in the last 18 months," Zisa said in a news conference. "We’re not here to ask to shut down the airport, but we are asking for help."

City property owners were given a chance to support the petition by signing and returning postcards that accompanied tax bills.

William DeCota, aviation director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, released a statement later saying the agency is already addressing some of the concerns.

He said that the agency tracks and pursues noise violators and that 69 noisy aircraft can no longer operate at Teterboro. He added that a $350,000 aircraft noise-monitoring system was recently purchased and the airport is leader in soundproofing.

"All schools within the area designated by the federal government as being significantly impacted by noise are being soundproofed," DeCota said.

As for a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, DeCota said: "The Port Authority does not have the ability unilaterally to impose new access restrictions."

Laura Otterbourg, a spokeswoman for Governor Whitman, said the governor has directed the state’s transportation commissioner to work with the Port Authority to maximize efforts to reduce noise.

The petitions are addressed to Whitman, New Jersey’s congressional delegation, and the Port Authority. But Zisa said he will not send them without input from members of a newly formed coalition studying how Teterboro affects public health and safety in 13 towns. Hackensack is a member of the group.

Last month, officials from those mostly south Bergen County towns decided to form the coalition at a meeting in Carlstadt. Residents there have complained about soot on awnings and automobiles, which some believe comes from aircraft fuel.

At that meeting, officials said they would need funding to be effective and asked each town to contribute $5,000 to the cause. So far, Hackensack, South Hackensack, and Carlstadt have committed funds, said Rutherford Mayor Bernadette McPherson, co-chairwoman of the committee.

The coalition also wants the state Department of Environmental Protection to study the health impact of operations at Teterboro. But DEP spokeswoman Amy Collings said that is not an issue within her department’s purview.

"We don’t have jurisdiction when it comes to noise pollution or air pollution from airports," Collings said.

Among those on hand in Hackensack on Friday were residents who signed the petition.

Lorelei Koran said the planes have her kids "stressed out." She said planes flying overhead sometimes sound like an explosion.

"We have a 4-year old, she takes cover," said Koran’s husband, Ray Kaminsky. "The little one, she runs to our bed scared."

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