Historic Phoenix Neighborhood Affected By New FAA Flight Paths

Published: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 5:37pm
Updated: Friday, October 3, 2014 - 10:40am

(Photo by Kathy Ritchie/KJZZ)
Phoenix's FQ Story Neighborhood runs from McDowell Road south to Roosevelt Street, and from 7th Avenue west to Grand Avenue.
(Photo by Kathy Ritchie/KJZZ)
Steve Dreiseszun​ lives in the FQ Story Neighborhood.

When the Federal Aviation Administration implemented new arrival and departure procedures at Sky Harbor Airport last month, the agency had no idea the move would rally residents in one Central Phoenix neighborhood. But fly-over noise is just one of many issues facing residents.

Steve Dreiseszun is a 40-year resident of the FQ Story neighborhood. And when it comes to noise in his area, there’s already a lot of it.

"We have I-10 that runs right through our neighborhood, we have helicopters that fly over us all the time, we have switching stations with train noise to west of us and we have just the ongoing hustle and bustle of the standard noise you would have in the core," Dreiseszun said.

Now, Dreiseszun and his neighbors are dealing with yet another layer of noise, aircrafts flying out of Sky Harbor.

On Sept. 18, the FAA implemented its new satellite-based system called Next Gen. It’s supposed to improve safety and efficiency.

Part of Next Gen’s implementation involved new arrival and departure procedures, or flight paths. And one of those flight paths travels above FQ Story. Besides going over Dreiseszuns’s neighborhood, the departure procedure veers north much sooner than before.

"Airlines are always seeking efficiency measures, this would be for fuel-efficiency purposes, they can save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of time, if they are able to turn sooner in this case and make it to their destination more quickly," Said Robin Sobotta, the Chair of the Department of Business at Embry-Riddle. 

Sobotta said the FAA works with airlines when they develop new procedures. And airlines always offer input that could affect their operations and their bottom line. The FAA also consults other stake holders, like homeowners who might be impacted by a new flight path.

"The problem that we’ve got is the non-existent notice to our area," Dreiseszun said. "This was not a public process, and now taking the burden of that noise and putting it on us, is just not fair."

What’s also not fair, according to some residents, is what this could mean for property values.

Don Mertes is a Realtor specializing in Phoenix’s historic neighborhoods. He said homes in the area can average around $200 per square foot.

"If this continues, I could see it affecting the resale value and the average price per square foot that this wonderful historic district has come to earn," Mertes said.

The FAA has scheduled a public meeting with residents and Sky Harbor officials for Oct. 16.

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