Some Sunnyvale residents, and their neighbors in Mountain View and to the south in Cupertino, have a common complaint; they say dinnertime and time spent out in their backyards this summer hasn’t been very peaceful — not with the sound of airplanes roaring over their homes seemingly every two minutes and at all hours of the day.
Dozens turned out at a town hall meeting in Sunnyvale Thursday evening to ask for relief from the noise bombardment from increased airplanes in the skies flying in and out of various area airports, including Moffett Federal Airfield, Mineta San Jose International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and the smaller airports in Palo Alto and San Carlos.
Eileen Hails, a 19-year-old West Valley College student who lives in Sunnyvale’s Madera neighborhood, was the youngest among the 30 people that spoke during the hour-long public comment period. Echoing concerns raised by her neighbors, Hails told Mayor Glenn Hendricks, along with other members of the City Council and Congressman Ro Khanna, the impact airplane noise has had on her and her family’s quality of life.
“I’m someone who sleeps very, very deeply; when I sleep you can’t wake me up,” she said. “I hear it going over my head at like, 6 in the morning, and I don’t wake up until 7 o’clock for school.”
Several residents complained that the planes flying over their neighborhoods are too low, too loud and too many. “It’s hellish, frankly,” said one resident of 26 years.
While noise pollution dominated the discourse, Hails’ mother, Kelly Hails, a financial consultant who has lived in Sunnyvale for over three decades, said she worries about the health impacts of aviation emissions.
Hendricks kicked off the meeting with a short presentation on solutions that are underway, such as a request for proposals the city has sent out for airport-grade noise measuring instruments. He also shared noise management recommendations made in a report produced in May by San Jose’s Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on South Flow Arrivals, a group he chaired. That report was subsequently sent to the Federal Aviation Administration, which has exclusive authority over all air space.
Meanwhile, one promising development in the works is that both Sunnyvale and Cupertino recently joined a newly formed roundtable that aims to give the member cities a united platform to negotiate with the FAA on airplane noise. The roundtable is comprised of representatives from several other affected communities, including Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Los Altos Hills, Campbell and Saratoga.
Dozens complain about airplane noise at Sunnyvale town hall