EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) — Some homeowners in Eagan say airplane noise has grown steadily worse over the past few years.

There was a day last month when the St. Francis Woods neighborhood had 116 planes fly over it.

One homeowner estimated that 10,000 planes flew over his house last year.

“There are days when it’s completely unbearable,” Ted Gladhill said. “It’s a significant quality of life issue for us.”

Twenty-six years ago, Gladhill and his family settled down in the St. Francis Woods neighborhood. He remembers it being a close-knit, mostly quiet area. That was until 2015, when the FAA began directing more departure flights over his home.

“Literally, one to two minute intervals. And there’s no way to escape it,” Gladhill said.

It doesn’t happen every day but when it does Gladhill said conversations and everyday tasks are impossible.

He now uses a sound level meter to keep track of the noise.

“It’s 75 to 80 decibels for some of the planes,” Gladhill said.

The city of Eagan is also paying attention. They recently sent a letter to the Noise Oversight Committee, asking for help.

“At this point, we are looking for changes that will reduce the number of planes over residential areas, and instead put those planes over areas of the community that are commercial and industrial as well as better utilize the Minnesota River Valley,” said Dianne Miller, assistant city administrator.

“There have always been flights in this area of Eagan. It’s just that there have been more of them since 2015,” said Brad Juffer of the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

Juffer said 2015 was the year the FAA implemented new safety rules. As a result, about 30 percent of all departure flights now leave Runway 17 and fly directly over Eagan neighborhoods.

But Juffer said it could be months before the FAA agrees to any changes, and even that’s not a certainty.

“Having to make adjustments to these departure procedures is a very complex task,” Juffer said. “It takes a lot of different entities to review and look into it.”

The Noise Oversight Committee will next meet on Nov. 20 to talk about the changes the city and homeowners are asking for.

Afterwards they will make a recommendation to MAC as to what might be plausible flight alternatives.

From there, MAC will forward their recommendations on to the FAA.

John Lauritsen

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