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Helicopters warned not to buzz Westside during 'Carmageddon II' work

Some homeowners around a closed section of the 405 freeway last year complained about helicopter noise. Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times
City and county officials joined the leader of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. on Monday to implore helicopter operators to respect the privacy of Westside residents and fly higher during this weekend’s "Carmageddon II" closure of a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway.

At a press conference on the parking lot roof of the Sherman Oaks Galleria, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Congressman Howard Berman and Assemblyman Mike Feuer asked that pilots flying above the road be mindful of residents trying to enjoy their weekend and get some sleep.  

Sherman Oaks board director Bob Anderson took it a step further, demanding that those flying over the closure “stop having wine and cheese parties on helicopters to watch the bridge come down.”

“We went to bed that Friday night [during the first phase of the Mulholland Bridge reconstruction last year], and a helicopter actually woke both my wife and I out of a sound sleep,” Anderson recalled. “It left at 1 a.m. We were really tired and mad.”

The warnings from officials come just days before media are expected to again take to the air to grab photos and video of the empty freeway and the spillover traffic on the roads nearby. After the first Carmageddon closure, Berman (D-Valley Village) introduced legislation that would require the Federal Aviation Administration to establish rules on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter operations in Los Angeles. Emergency, law enforcement and military operations would be exempt from the regulations.

Complaints over media, touring company and other private helicopters came to a head during last year’s Caramegeddon, but progress on Berman’s Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act has stalled.

Still, Berman said that helicopter pilots have asked to move away from regulation and toward voluntary compliance.  

“Next weekend is a very important test of whether self-restraint and self-regulation will make it better for the people whose quality of life has been damaged,” Berman said.

The Los Angeles City Council voted to endorse Berman’s Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act in August following a public hearing in Sherman Oaks where hundreds of residents demanded a crackdown.

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-- Matt Stevens

Photo: Some homeowners around a closed section of the 405 freeway last year complained about helicopter noise. Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

 
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