Emanuel announces more O’Hare noise hearings | WBEZ
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Emanuel announces more FAA meetings on O'Hare noise

After a quick trip to Washington this week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city will hold two more public hearings before a new runway opens at O’Hare International Airport. But the Northwest Side community group that’s long protested the noise problems is calling the mayor’s move “insufficient.”

Many Northwest Side residents--mainly those who hail from the 39th, 45th, 41st and 38th Wards--have complained about loud noise since flight patterns changed at O’Hare in 2013. Another new runway is set to open in October of this year.

While in Washington, Emanuel met with Federal Aviation Administration Administrator, and former colleague, Michael Huerta. In a statement, Emanuel said that after sharing Chicagoans concerns, the FAA agreed to increase the number of public meetings about the new runway from two to four.

“The residents who live near O’Hare deserve every opportunity to share their thoughts and views about O’Hare with federal officials, and I’m glad the FAA has agreed to hold more public meetings,” Emanuel said in a statement.

But Jac Charlier, co-founder of the Fair Allocation in Runways (FAiR) Coalition, said he and his neighbors haven’t had that opportunity.

“I’m glad that Mayor Emanuel traveled all the way to Washington, D.C. to meet with the FAA, [but] FAiR coalition has asked 13 times for Mayor Emanuel to travel all the way to Chicago’s Northwest Side to meet and hear and speak directly with the residents who are being impacted,” Charlier said.

Charlier said four hearings isn’t enough for the tens of thousands of residents who are affected by this problem. He said that FAiR has heard from aldermen, a few members of Congress and suburban officials; and the group has two pieces of legislation working their way through Springfield--but still, no sit down with Mayor Emanuel.

Emanuel’s office said the city will spend approximately $120 million insulating 4,700 residences over the next three to five years, and that it will add more noise monitors in the affected areas.

Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @laurenchooljian

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