Op-Ed: Clean and Quiet SBA

By Cheryl Rogers for the members of Clean and Quiet SBA

It is the primary responsibility of our government to protect our citizens so that they may live a healthy life and thrive in our County. We rely on you to protect us from environmental and other impacts.

A significant noise impact has been keeping citizens awake at early and late hours due to the extremely loud airplane departures from the Santa Barbara Airport. In spite of the many complaints to the designated phone number, there has been no change in the takeoff and landing routes which have been ignoring historically designated noise corridors over Ellwood and More Mesa in Goleta. In prior years these noise corridors were observed by pilots according to their charting, but for some reason in the last few years these corridors have been ignored.

A large group of residents has formed an organization called Clean and Quiet SBA and we continue to add residents who are very upset about this problem. Our activist organization plans to advocate for the cleaner and quieter Santa Barbara County until our problem is resolved.

While the noise problem created by large airliners departing at 5:30 am as well as midnight are the main problem we cannot ignore that significant air pollution is expelled on takeoff which has been determined to cause heart disease in older adults as well as asthma in children. We see black soot on our windowsills which is evidence of this air pollution. These impacts should be identified in an updated EIR.

Citizens are also concerned about the reports of airport expansion, especially in view of  the environmental impacts that we are already experiencing. This is another obvious call for an updated EIR.

The City of Santa Barbara and environs is getting a great deal of economic benefit from the airport since the airport is in their jurisdiction. This ignores the fact that the airport is located within the boundaries of the City of Goleta. The City of Santa Barbara therefore must work with the City of Goleta. Another problem is that the City of Goleta does not have a vote on the Airport Commission although they are allowed to sit in on meetings. This is not at all fair and needs to be addressed.

We look to the City of Santa Barbara to help solve these issues for us.  Numerous articles have appeared in local news media (The Independent and Noozhawk). Further advocacy by our organization is being planned.  Hopefully these noise and air pollution impacts from the airport can be resolved before more advocacy by our organization is necessary.

Supervisor Hartman is very aware of this problem and has participated in meetings where she heard from residents whose sleep has been chronically disturbed. We look forward to working with her on this problem in the future.

Thank you for your consideration and attention to this issue.

Op-Ed’s are written by community members and local organizations. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.
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  1. there have been many flight plan changes recently. A relative just flew into SBA last week. he noted that for the first time they flew over Montecito. He said the plane was really low and he could see into the backyards. It was low enough to identify the roundabout and other landmarks. I also know Hope Ranch is now in the flight path of some airlines. i was at a fundraiser in the yard of a hope ranch resident. The plane flying low overhead was deafening. Again, both new changes.

  2. AHCHOOO – good point about the excessive noise, but that needs to be balanced with the risk of requiring pilots to adopt a completely offshore approach and landing and the benefit of having a local airport as you point out. I recently landed at SBA around 11pm from LAX and we were far out offshore until the last minute banking sharp over El Capitan to land. This was a small commuter jet, with no wind and no air traffic. This is not always possible for all flights/planes. To ask that flights either cancel or ban any land-based approaches is probably not a reasonable solution given the possible safety concerns and the benefits of having as many flights as we currently do.
    Excessive or late night/early morning noise is a concern, sure, but to demand it be stopped ignores the safety risks (to those on the ground as well) and the benefits of having an airport.

  3. I’ll go libertarian on this one too. You bought where you bought. You live where you live. Public greater good is served by this airport (thank god we have it too). I cam hear it at 5something too every morning if I’m sleeping too lightly and that happens regularly. My advice would be to deal with it or move. Home prices are very good still in SB/Goleta. You’ll get a great price unless you just bought in the past 12 months, which I doubt.

    • LETMEGO – Flights at SBA (at lease commercial flights – the loud ones) are already only scheduled between 5:15am and 11:59pm. — https://flysba.santabarbaraca.gov/flights/arrivals-departures
      Noise corridors are subject to conditions. See here: “Adherence is determined by the pilot-in-command, in real time, if the approach can be made safely.” That means the expert flying the plane is allowed to determine the safest approach for his/her passengers and his/her aircraft. This should not be “enforced” by laymen on the ground who have no stake in the game other than not liking a few seconds of loud noise.
      These temporary (as in SECONDS) inconveniences need to be weight against the safety of the passengers (as well as those on the ground). Great thing about airplanes is that they’re pretty fast so you’re not being subjected to a constant noise, like a train or the 101 or a neighbor’s gardener.
      Living in a city, there are sounds that have to happen in order for you to live in that city. Airplanes are one of those sounds.

  4. Sensibly Selfish–your interest in the services of the airport is not more critical than the day-to-day living conditions of those around the airport! Let them work with the authorities to do what can be done to make their lives and properties more livable. Routing flights over the ocean, scheduling flights at reasonable times, changing the nature of the airplanes that service SBA, and such would seem possible.

  5. This is a tough one because it is also an issue of safety. Pilots use the approach over populated areas if they don’t feel comfortable with the recommended route. The recommended route is more complicated to maneuver. I don’t feel it is in anyone’s best interest to force pilots to take a more difficult route if they aren’t 100% comfortable with it, that’s asking for disaster.

  6. “It is the primary responsibility” of an adult, when buying a home, to research what is nearby, such as an airport. It’s pretty crazy to move under the flight path and then act shocked about the sound of planes at the airport you chose to move next to. Rerouting flights (safety of this has been brought up by 12:07) or changing or eliminating flight schedules (affecting thousands of people each day) to accommodate a few homeowners who didn’t notice the nearby airport, is not the responsibility of the City.

  7. On the post Thanksgiving Sunday, We were grabbing a bite @ Kyle’s Restaurant, across from the Costco Shopping Center… In a 35 min time frame that we were on the outside patio, we counted 8 private Lear or Cessna jets… The Carbon footprint is ignored by all the Moneycito and SB Elites… “You others down there better buy electric vehicles and do what THEY tell you…”

  8. SBA has received over 18,000 noise complaints and interestingly enough the areas reporting are not just those living close to the airport so your argument about choosing not to live by the airport falls flat. Complaints are coming from the Mesa, Upper Mesa, Bel Air Knolls, the West side, Campanil Hill, …..the disbursement of complaints is pretty spread out. There is not much space between our mountains and the ocean so we basically all are living by the airport. Go to a meeting sometime and learn that there are real ways to mitigate this issue. It has been done at Burbank, Van Nuys and Santa Monica airports to name a few. Public outcry initiated change and improvements were made.
    Also, the new Airport Director seems very receptive to listening to the public and making an effort to find some real solutions.

    • 195930 – wait a second. You live 20 miles from the airport and you’re complaining about the sound? You in Gaviota or Carp? The landing approach from either end puts planes at such an altitude that you shouldn’t be able to hear much of anything.
      20 miles??? What, SPECIFICALLY, do you see over your “Santa Barbara neighborhood” (there is no “Santa Barbara” 20 miles from the airport) that has increased? Commercial flights? Private small planes? Military flights? What have you seen 20 miles away that warrants you demanding that the airport change/cancel current flight paths?

  9. When Southwest first arrived in Santa Barbara they would fly very near our house recently this has not happened that often. Seems this could be a marketing ploy by “showing the colors” to let residents there was a new player in town. I”m half deaf to the noise does not bother me. There is some chatter here about safety for the passengers, how about those on the ground…

  10. they aren’t moving the airport. SERIOUSLY you people are over the top whiners. if you don’t like noise, don’t live near the airport. they aren’t going to move an airport. houses and rentals are cheaper near airports for a reason. i really hate logging on here and explaining life and common sense to grown adults. this is just toxic and dumb.

  11. Still waiting to hear from 195930 – 20 miles from the SB airport and you’re complaining about the noise? See, this is the problem. This has riled up people who don’t even have skin in the game who just want to sign a petition and be loud. We have a lot of those in our community. Formal complaints about the noise should be only considered if the complainant lives within 5 to 10 miles of SBA. Anyone else is just complaining for complaining’s sake.

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