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Neighbors seeing red over “Greener Skies”

September 12th, 2012 at 6:59 am | Posted by Melissa Jonas

Robert Bismuth of the Magnolia Community Council spoke at last night’s NBHC meeting. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

West Seattle Blog recently captured the frustration of many South Seattle residents at a Ballard meeting regarding proposed changes in flight paths and landing patterns that may negatively affect Southeast and Southwest Seattle.

Many of the 60+ attendees at last night’s North Beacon Hill Council (NBHC) meeting were there to discuss their concerns with the proposed FAA changes—and especially the confusion and frustration about location and tone of the FAA outreach meetings.

The lively discussion included a succinct yet thorough history by Magnolia Community Council Chair Robert Bismuth of how Magnolia successfully defended airspace above their neighborhood from changes that would have have “exponentially” increased noise and pollution.

NBHC Board member Ticiang Diangson is working with community activists from Beacon Hill and other neighborhoods to form a task force to address concerns regarding the “Greener Skies Over Seattle” proposal. (See the FAA’s website about the project here.)

If that FAA link seemed confusing or overly technical to you, you’re not alone. The NBHC voted unanimously last night to support efforts by the task force regarding “Greener Skies” to extend the public comment period on the FAA Environmental Assessment until the FAA has given residents of potentially-impacted communities the opportunity to learn more about the project. The current comment period ends on September 14. (Addresses to submit comments are here.)

The NBHC is asking Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray, Congressman Jim McDermott and Adam Smith to request the FAA hold public outreach meetings regarding “Greener Skies Over Seattle” in Southeast Seattle (of course, we’d prefer Beacon Hill), and also to extend the comment period beyond September 14 to give the FAA an opportunity to correct problems with outreach—and give our communities the opportunity to understand this proposal. Outreach materials need to be offered in the languages read by our communities and translation must be offered during the meetings.

(Melissa Jonas is the current chair of the North Beacon Hill Council.)

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