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Part 150 Noise Study

This is the place to find answers to frequently asked questions about the Part 150 Update Study and related matters. We will add to this section to address questions of general interest that are posed to us as the study progresses.

Official Questions

How is noise exposure described in a Part 150 study process? Closed Open

Part 150 requires that airports describe noise exposure using a measure of cumulative noise exposure over an entire calendar year, in terms of a metric called the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL).  In simple terms, DNL is the average decibel (dB) level over a 24-hour period except that noises occurring at night (defined as 10:00 p.m. through 7:00 a.m.) are factored up by 10 dB, to reflect the added intrusiveness of nighttime noise.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified DNL as the most appropriate means of evaluating airport noise based on the following considerations (from "Information on Levels of Environmental Noise Requisite to Protect Public Health and Welfare with an Adequate Margin of Safety," U. S. EPA Report No. 550/9-74-004, March 1974):

§The measure should be applicable to the evaluation of pervasive long-term noise in various defined areas and under various conditions over long periods of time.

§The measure should correlate well with known effects of the noise environment and on individuals and the public.

§The measure should be simple, practical, and accurate.  In principal, it should be useful for planning as well as for enforcement or monitoring purposes.

§The required measurement equipment, with standard characteristics, should be commercially available.

§The measure should be closely related to existing methods currently in use.rn§The single measure of noise at a given location should be predictable, within an acceptable tolerance, from knowledge of the physical events producing the noise.

§The measure should lend itself to small, simple monitors, which can be left unattended in public areas for long periods of time.

All federal agencies dealing with aircraft noise – and most agencies dealing with other types of transportation or environmental noise exposure – have formally adopted DNL.  In 1992, the “Federal Interagency Committee on Noise” (FICON) reaffirmed the 1974 EPA recommendation regarding the use of DNL.  The FICON summary report stated:  “There are no new descriptors or metrics of sufficient scientific standing to substitute for the present DNL cumulative noise exposure metric.”  [FICON, “Federal Agency Review of Selected Airport Noise Analysis Issues,” August 1992.

How is noise exposure determined? Closed Open

Part 150 requires that Part 150 studies be based on computer-generated DNL estimates developed using the most current release of the FAA’s “Integrated Noise Model” (INM).  The DNL must be depicted in terms of equal-exposure noise contours (much as topographic maps have contours of equal elevation).  Part 150 requires that the 65, 70, and 75 dB DNL contours be modeled and depicted.   Information on the noise model can be found via the following link to the FAA’s website: INM.

DNL also can be measured.  However, measurements are practical only for obtaining DNL values for relatively limited numbers of points for relatively short time periods.  The FAA does not permit adjustments of the noise modeling process using portable noise measurements.

Despite these limitations, as discussed in the CAK Part 150 Update scope of services (see the link in the Documents section of this website), this study will include a measurement program to: (1) provide a basis for assessing the reasonableness of modeled estimates, (2) illustrate the effect of existing operations and potential alternatives, (3) compare aircraft and non-aircraft noise levels, and (4) address other issues of interest to the Authority and Advisory Committee. 

Noise terminology, modeling, measurement, and other analytical topics will be discussed in detail in Advisory Committee meetings, public workshops, and study documentation.  Related presentations and documents will be posted on this website as they are developed, to permit all interested parties to learn as the study progresses.

How is land use compatibility determined? Closed Open

Part 150 Appendix A, Table 1 presents land use compatibility guidelines as a function of DNL values (see the link to the Part 150 regulation in the Documents section of this website). Those guidelines suggest that all land uses are compatible outside of 65 dB DNL.  However, the table includes a footnote the states the following:

The designations contained in this table do not constitute a Federal determination that any use of land covered by the program is acceptable or unacceptable under Federal, State, or local law.  The responsibility for determining the acceptable and perishable land uses and the relationship between specific properties and specific noise contours rests with the local land use authorities.  FAA determinations under Part 150 are not intended to substitute federally determined land uses for those determined to be appropriate by local authorities in response to locally determined needs and values in achieving noise compatible land uses.

In the two prior CAK Part 150 studies, the Airport Authority and local land use control jurisdictions adopted the Part 150 land use guidelines to serve as the local standards.  This study will reassess this position.

When were the earlier Part 150 studies conducted? Closed Open

The Akron-Canton Airport Authority has conducted two previous Part 150 studies for CAK:

§1988 Noise Exposure Map submission, with Noise Exposure Map contours and related documentation for Calendar Years 1988 and 1993.

§1988 Noise Compatibility Program submission, with revised Noise Exposure Map contours and related documentation for Calendar Years 1988 and 1993, which reflected implementation of the proposed Noise Compatibility Program.

§1997 Noise Exposure Map submission, with Noise Exposure Map contours and related documentation for Calendar Years 1994 and 1999, reflecting implementation of the existing Noise Compatibility Program.

§1997 Noise Compatibility Program submission, with revised Noise Exposure Map contours and related documentation for Calendar Years 1994 and 1999, which reflected implementation of the revised Noise Compatibility Program.

The Documents section of this website provides copies of the FAA Records of Approval for the two previous CAK Part 150 studies.

How often must a Part 150 Study be updated? Closed Open

Rather than set a fixed time interval between Part 150 Update studies, the regulation requires that updates be conducted when there is likely to have been a change in airport operations that would either: (1) increase the yearly Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) by 1.5 dB or greater in a land area which was formerly compatible but is thereby made noncompatible or in a land area which was previously determined to be noncompatible and whose noncompatibility is significantly increased, or (2) reduce noise by the same margin over existing noncompatible uses.  In both cases, the land areas to be considered are those addressed by both the existing and forecast Noise Exposure Maps on file with the FAA.  The Part 150 Update study will consider these requirements and set forth processes for monitoring and implementing them on an ongoing basis.  However, it should be noted that due to greatly reduced noise emission levels of modern aircraft that operate at the airport today, and are anticipated to operate there in the future, it is likely that few – if any – incompatible land uses will be identified for either the existing or forecast conditions noise contours.  As a result, it is expected that future Part 150 Updates are likely to be conducted at relatively lengthy intervals.

What is the study schedule? Closed Open

The Part 150 Update began in the fourth quarter of 2012 and is anticipated to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014.  The project scope presented in the Documents section of this website presents an anticipated schedule.  An updated schedule will be posted on this website as appropriate.  Dates, times, and locations of public involvement opportunities will be announced in the Part 150 Public Outreach section of this website.

What is the relationship of the Part 150 Update Study to the ongoing Airport Master Plan Study? Closed Open

The Master Plan Update will provide a significant amount of data on airport layout, existing and future operations, and surrounding land uses.  The most significant Master Plan input to the Part 150 will be forecast-related data, assumptions, and results. 

Who is involved in the study and what are their roles and responsibilities? Closed Open

In simple terms, all interested parties are encouraged to participate in the study, through the processes outlined in the Part 150 Public Outreach section of this website.  Please use the Contact section to sign up to receive emailed notices of those opportunities and to be added to the newsletter distribution list.

Several groups have pre-defined roles and responsibilities, largely based on Part 150 regulatory requirements, as summarized below:

Akron-Canton Airport Authority: 
As the airport operator, the Authority has overall responsibility for all Part 150 related actions at CAK, including ultimate responsibility for determining what elements will be included in the revised Noise Compatibility Program when it is submitted to the FAA for review.  The Authority is responsible for pursuing implementation of adopted measures.

The Authority established a Part 150 Study Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to ensure that the appropriate outside entities and groups are given official representation in the study process.  The committee is the key element of a comprehensive public involvement program that the Authority conducted over the course of the update, as described in Section 1.2.3.

Part 150 Update Study Advisory Committee: 
CAK is establishing a Part 150 Advisory Committee to provide input and oversight.  This committee will be the central focus of the public outreach effort.  The Advisory Committee will include representatives from a comprehensive spectrum of entities with interest in the Part 150 update process and its products, including government agencies with aviation and land use responsibilities, private sector interests (particularly in the aviation industry), and representatives of affected communities in the airport’s environs.  Advisory Committee members will be responsible for representing their constituents throughout the study process, including commenting on the adequacy and accuracy of collected data, simplifying assumptions, and technical analyses.  The Advisory Committee also will serve as a forum for the varied interest groups to discuss complex issues and share their differing perspectives on aircraft noise issues.

Federal Aviation Administration: 
FAA involvement includes participation by staff from several agency offices.

Air Traffic Control Tower:  The FAA tower staff at CAK provide significant input in several areas, including: operational data from their files, judgment regarding safety and capacity effects of noise abatement measures, and input on implementation requirements.  The tower staff also may solicit input from other FAA air traffic control entities with which it coordinates regularly.

FAA Detroit
Airports District Office:  The FAA’s Detroit “ADO” will review Noise Exposure Map and Noise Compatibility Program submissions for compliance with Part 150, notify the Authority of their determinations, evaluate Noise Compatibility Program proposals, prepare a formal Record of Approval for the Noise Compatibility Program, publish related notices in the Federal Register, and provide opportunity for public comment.  

Other FAA Offices and Divisions
:  The ADO may solicit review and input on more complex technical, regulatory, legal, or other matters from FAA’s Washington headquarters or from other FAA divisions on a local or regional level.  The study documentation will clearly identify that involvement.
Consulting Team:  The Authority has retained a team of consultants to conduct the technical work required to fulfill Part 150 analysis and documentation requirements, and to assist in public outreach and consultation.  The Part 150 Update is being led by Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. (HMMH),in association withR. W. Armstrong (RWA).  The firms have extensive experience in planning for airport noise compatibility and physical planning, and for aviation development.  RWA is leading the ongoing Airport Master Plan Update.  HMMH led CAK’s 1995-7 Part 150 Study.

Who is paying for the Part 150 Update study? Closed Open

The Part 150 Update study is being paid for with a combination of federal grant funds from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs), and surplus airport revenue.  The AIP is a federal program funded by fees collected from the users of the National Airspace System.  PFCs are a tax on each passenger boarding at CAK that may be applied to airport-specific projects and studies approved by the FAA.CAK and this project are not funded by general taxpayer dollars.

Who owns and operates the Akron-Canton Airport? Closed Open

The Akron-Canton Airport is owned and operated by the Akron-Canton Airport Authority.  The Authority is a government agency formed by Summit and Stark Counties under Section 308 of the Ohio Revised Code.  The Authority is governed by an eight member Board of Trustees.  The members serve four year terms, they serve at the discretion of the appointing county, and they can be reappointed indefinitely.  Four of the eight trustees are appointed by the Summit County Executive (and approved by Council) and four are appointed by Stark County Commissioners.

Why hire outside consultants? Closed Open

The Akron-Canton Airport is managed and operated by a lean and efficient staff.  Running the Airport is a full-time job, with the highest priority placed on providing a high level of customer service.  A Part 150 Update requires significant time and special expertise in many technical and regulatory areas.  The Part 150 Update is being performed by a team of firms with nationally recognized capabilities and experience in these areas, to ensure the study is conducted in a comprehensive, cost- and time-efficient manner, and with appropriate attention to technical and regulatory requirements to ensure the most productive outcome feasible.

How can I participate in the study? Closed Open

All interested parties are encouraged to participate in the study, through the processes outlined in the Part 150 Public Outreach section of this website.  Please use the Contact section to sign up to receive emailed notices of those opportunities and to be added to the newsletter distribution list.

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