The Dallas City Council was poised Wednesday to approve spending on Dallas Love Field totaling half a million dollars, but one of the items was postponed until April 12 — and elected officials are still not talking about the “intolerable” noise complaints raised by neighbors for more than one year.
The City Council approved a $248,921 contract with Urban Engineers Inc. to provide engineering services for parking lot pavement, grading and drainage, to correct existing deficiencies and for bid phase and construction management services at Dallas Love Field.
A $249,000 contract for architectural services for design and bid phase services for the airport’s emergency operations center was delayed because contract language needed to be ironed out, Assistant City Manager Kim Tolbert said.
“In consultation with the city attorney’s office, we wanted to make sure we could complete it before the city council takes action,” Tolbert said.
Residents living near the airport hoping for a chance to hear from councilors about their noise complaints didn’t get what they were looking for.
Noise at Love Field
Briarwood resident Kerri Lacher said nonstop airplane noise became a new normal for her neighborhood when construction began on Denton Runway in early 2021, shifting 100 percent use to Lemmon Avenue Runway. When runway construction was completed in June 2022, noise never returned to pre-construction levels, Lacher said.
“Now there is non-stop noise all day and into the night,” she said. “I have silicone earplugs in my ears to sleep if I go to bed before 11pm and want to sleep after 6am when airplane noise starts again every day.”
Other residents from the Bluffview, Love Field West, Elm Thicket and Highland Park neighborhoods have said it is impossible to work from home or have guests over because of the noise. Some have considered moving.
Lacher did an informal survey of around 100 neighbours, and 61 per cent said aircraft noise had increased in the past three years. The noisiest time of day is between 6am and 10am, according to her survey.
There has been no official statement from Love Field since CandysDirt.com dug into the matter in October.
Mark Duebner quietly retired from the position of director of aviation in November, and Patrick Carreno took over the role in an interim capacity.
Through a spokeswoman, Carreno declined an interview with CandysDirt.com last month, saying an interview would be given once a permanent director is named.
Re-registration and the campaign path
City officials will soon review leases with various aircraft carriers and plan the best use of space at the city-owned airport six miles north of downtown Dallas. The current agreements expire in 2028.
A new redistricting map takes effect May 6, meaning some neighborhoods near Love Field will be represented by a District 6 councilor instead of a District 13 representative.
Lacher began attending meetings of a Love Field citizen action committee and has already reached out to District 6 Councilman Omar Narvaez, who also chairs the council’s transportation committee.
Narvaez is being challenged in the May election by Tony Carrillo, Sidney Robles Martinez and Monica R. Alonzo.
Lacher and other residents have done their homework. They raise questions about whether the airlines that have the leases are complying with their obligation not to fly internationally, under the 2006 Wright Amendment Reform Act. They also land planes after 11 p.m., which Lacher said is a violation of the leases.
“While these violations do not explain all of the increased noise, it does make me wonder what else is going on,” Lacher wrote in an email to Narvaez. “I’ve been using a public access tracking system called Flight Tracker to identify aircraft noise and have noticed that it’s not just Southwest planes that I’m hearing. There are all kinds of non-Southwest planes flying over my neighborhood. Sometimes it’s large cargo planes that fly in the wee hours.”
The whole city benefits from easy access to a local airport, but the council should work with tenants to mitigate noise and disruption to the quality of life of the nearby neighbourhoods, Lacher added.
“The original agreements that support the airport should be changed more than every 30 years to ensure that commercial profits don’t steamroll over neighborhood, air quality, noise control and other people-focused considerations,” she said. – The city council must do something about the complaints from the neighbourhood, because there are many complaints.