Airport neighborhood relocations based on noise, not safety - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Regional Airport Authority: neighborhood relocations based on noise, not safety

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Scott Ratterman Scott Ratterman
Burt Deutsch Burt Deutsch
Empty lots where homes once stood in Louisville's Edgewood neighborhood. Empty lots where homes once stood in Louisville's Edgewood neighborhood.
One of the few homes remaining in Edgewood. One of the few homes remaining in Edgewood.
A map of the neighborhoods targeted for buyout by the regional Airport Authority. A map of the neighborhoods targeted for buyout by the regional Airport Authority.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One day after a UPS plane traveling from Louisville to Birmingham, crashed in a field just north of the Alabama airport, some residents living near Louisville International Airport began questioning their own safety.

"You still hear the rumble and the vibration of the house from the planes flying over," said Scott Ratterman, a resident of Louisville's Edgewood neighborhood. "You've still got it in the back of your head, 'hopefully that plane doesn't crash into your house'."

Ratterman lives with his grandparents in a home within the path of Louisville International Airports flights. In addition to worrying about issues with the planes, Ratterman said he now also worries about break-ins at his family's home.

"We are the only house on the whole block," said Ratterman.

To the north and to the south, the Ratterman home is surrounded by vacant lots. The land has been bought out by the Regional Airport Authority, but not for safety reasons. Instead, the buyouts are part of the RAA's noise mitigation program.

"We performed noise modeling that showed where there were areas that were getting the most noise," said Burt Deutsch, RAA Voluntary Residential Relocation Program Manager.

"There are two principle components to the program," began Deutsch. "The first part of the program was the program that was started by the city and the county in 1989 and that involved the neighborhoods of Highland Park, Prestonia, and Standiford."

Deutsch said the Regional Airport Authority took over the program in 1991, completing the acquisition of the above neighborhoods for the expansion of the airport approved by the Federal Aviation Administration the same year.

"The second program started in about 1994 and it is what we call the Part 150 program," said Deutsch. "That is the federally funded program and it involved other neighborhoods primarily where people had come in and petitioned to be acquired for noise purposes."

Neighborhoods included in this phase of noise mitigation program included Ashton Adair, Edgewood, Knopp-Melton, and Minors Lane areas.

"All together, the program involves about 3,740 homes," said Deutsch. "In Edgewood we started off with about 817 homes and we have acquired 802."

The Ratterman family home is one of the remaining 15.

"The airport's been buying everybody out," said Ratterman. ""My grandpa won't sell until he dies."

According to Deutsch, the Regional Airport Authority uses federal funds to acquire homes, but those funds are now running low. Deutsch said, currently, there is not enough money to buy the remaining 53 homes on the identified on the RAA's Voluntary Residential Relocation list.

"We do not make an offer unless we have funds available to buy the home," began Deutsch. "So we are currently not making offers. We are waiting for some grants from the federal government."

That's welcomed news to residents interested in staying put, like the Rattermans.

"That's good," said Ratterman. "That's going to raise the value of my house."

For anyone else now worried after the Birmingham UPS crash, however, it means relocating at the airport's expense will have to wait.

Deutsch said he's optimistic federal funds in the form of grants will come about in the next couple months allowing the noise mitigation program to continue acquiring homes.

For more information about the Regional Airport Authority's Part 150 Voluntary Residential Relocation Program, visit http://www.flylouisville.com/about-the-airport/relocation/.

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