Waterbury-Oxford Airport will receive $8.2 million to acquire land and homes near the airport, bringing the total amount for the project to more than $13 million.
A news release from Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal states that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will give the money to provide for relocation of residents who have been impacted by noise disturbance from the airport. Most of the residents affected live in Middlebury and they are the ones who will be relocated.
“We applaud FAA’s strong commitment to the Middlebury residents who live next to Waterbury-Oxford Airport – the noise pollution that these homeowners have been subjected to for the last several years poses severe health and safety concerns,” stated Lieberman and Blumenthal in a joint prepared statement. “We are glad these homeowners will finally receive the restitution that they deserve – fair compensation for their homes – and that a process that has taken far too long for these residents is one step closer to being over.”
State officials and others have studied noise complaints at the airport for several years. A study completed last year indicates that residents have reason for concern because the area is considered a "noise impact area," per federal standards, according to a website formed in partnership with the state Department of Transportation titled www.oxcstudies.com that has information about the noise issues at the airport. The informational website states the noise study indicated the following recommendations could be implemented:
- Voluntary acquisition of homes in the Triangle Hills neighborhood located within the airport's Runway Protection Zone, or RPZ.
- Voluntary acquisition or sound insulation of homes in the Triangle Hills neighborhood that are not within the RPZ.
- Directing more aircraft activity to depart to the south when conditions permit, in order to reduce takeoffs over the populated areas of Middlebury.
- Conduct other operational modifications that may reduce noise levels adjacent to the Airport and result in more consistent flight patterns.
- Recommendations for local zoning and subdivision regulations that would reduce the future potential for airport noise impacts. These land use measures can only be implemented by the Towns.