Several towns near O'Hare International Airport want to send a loud and clear message about their concerns with noise caused by flight pattern changes.
The communities, including Bensenville, Itasca and Wood Dale, are acting to place advisory questions on the Nov. 4 ballot about the level of noise at O'Hare.
"We're getting inundated with airplane noise," Itasca Village President Jeff Pruyn said. "Something has to be done."
Since the completion of a new runway in October, O'Hare air traffic has shifted to an east/west flow instead of in multiple directions. That has upset thousands of area residents unaccustomed to airplane noise.
"I have been around the airport over 30 years, either on the east side or the west side," Wood Dale Mayor Nunzio Pulice said. "There's never been the noise that's happening now. It's ridiculous."
Wood Dale voted earlier this month to put several O'Hare noise questions on the general election ballot. On Tuesday, Itasca village board members unanimously agreed to pursue a similar measure in their community.
Itasca's first question asks if Congress should pass a law requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to revisit the criteria it has used to establish noise and air pollution standards related to O'Hare air traffic. The question also asks if the FAA should incorporate feedback from areas affected by the new traffic patterns.
The second question asks if airlines should be required to reduce airport noise between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Right now, the FAA's "fly-quiet" restriction is voluntary for airlines.
Municipal officials know the outcome of the ballot questions are nonbinding. Still, they hope to get the attention of FAA officials and members of Congress.
"We're trying to keep the heat on the FAA," Pruyn said. "They have to look at this issue to give us some relief."
Bensenville Village President Frank Soto said village officials are working to finalize what questions will be posed to the community. Still, he said the O'Hare noise issue will appear on the ballot in the village.
Soto said the advisory referendum will help provide direction to the village about what steps should be taken to address the problem. "At the end of the day, we want results," he said. "We want to be part of a solution."