On Tuesday, the Redondo Beach City Council voted unanimously to support legislation pending in Congress to reduce helicopter noise. The legislation, HR 2677, would direct the Federal Aviation Administration to establish flight paths and altitudes to control helicopter noise in Los Angeles County.
Redondo’s action was recommended by Councilman Steve Aspel, who represents Council District 1, in South Redondo Beach. In a letter to Congressman Howard Berman, who introduced the bill, Aspel states that Redondo is in close proximity to Torrance Airport and residents have complained about noise from low flying helicopters.
Redondo is the latest city to support the helicopter noise bill. In all, seven local cities near Torrance have endorsed the bill, including Rancho Palos Verdes, Lomita, Rolling Hills Estates, Palos Verdes Estates, Hermosa Beach and Los Angeles. The bill also has the support of the county of Los Angeles. Torrance, whose airport is home to most of the local helicopters, has not considered the bill.
The city of Torrance has been slow to respond to the issue. In 2009, residents of Torrance asked their city council to help reduce helicopter noise. In February 2011, the city recommended changes to “voluntary” arrival/departure routes. In June of this year, the Federal Aviation Administration offered to conduct a “trial” of the revised routes, but the city of Torrance has not given the final go-ahead. Almost three years have passed and no improvements have been made.
Meanwhile, HR 2677 has been proceeding on a parallel track, and it would direct the FAA to establish “mandatory” flight paths and altitudes for helicopters. In August, Congressman Berman and the FAA held a hearing in Sherman Oaks. Hundreds of citizens attended. Dozens of speakers complained of excessive noise.
HR 2677 also has the support of California’s Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, who have introduced a similar bill in the U.S. Senate (S 2019).
Residents who would like to know more about efforts to reduce helicopter noise can get more information from Citizens for Quiet Helicopters at helicopternoise.com.