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Long Beach to insulate some homes near airport to curb noise [Updated]

October 7, 2009 | 11:05 am

First comes the faraway rumble, then the roar, and before long the whole house is rattling.

But for dozens of residents near the Long Beach Airport, the ear-numbing flyovers that have become a daily reality are about to get a little less agonizing. The City Council adopted a plan late Tuesday night to soundproof houses most affected by aircraft noise.

An increase in flights – particularly louder military planes – in recent years prompted officials at the airport to offer soundproofing for neighboring homes. About two dozen homeowners along the southern end of the main flight path will be eligible for acoustic windows, attic insulation and other soundproofing measures, said airport spokesperson Sharon Diggs-Jackson.

But the border designating eligibility for the program will leave some residents without help, while their next-door neighbors get their homes soundproofed. Many outside the zone are angry.

Robert Guzman, 30, lives just north of the airport’s main flight path and says he has to cover his newborn son’s ears 30 to 40 times a day as planes blast over his home. Guzman, a Bixby Knolls resident, painted his walls in January, only to see them begin to crack just days later.

The fractures are three inches wide now, he said, and growing with every rumbling flyover.

“It vibrates my whole house – the ceiling, the walls, everything,” Guzman said. “I don’t know what to do anymore.”

Airport officials aim to limit the noise level inside of soundproofed homes to a hushed 45 decibels, but that target is a daily average still allowing for individual booms throughout the day.

“If you get an F-18 jet flying right over your house, it’s going to be loud. I don’t care what kind of windows you have,” Diggs-Jackson said.

This week's vote paves the way for funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for the estimated $2.8- million project, Diggs-Jackson said. [Updated at 10:20 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9; correction: This post previously said the program cost $28 million.]

-- Robert Faturechi at Long Beach City Hall

Photo: Long Beach Airport. Credit: Los Angeles Times file

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