Fly Quiet committee expands, but not enough for some towns
A key advisory committee that helped craft overnight runway rotations for O'Hare International Airport is bigger by two municipalities, but the move left some hard feelings among excluded towns Friday.
Wood Dale and Elmhurst were added to O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission's Fly Quiet Committee, which will study and make recommendations on future runway rotations aimed at distributing the racket from jets evenly across the region at night. Park Ridge was left off the committee.
Commission Chairwoman and Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene Juracek said she wanted a committee that reflects a "360-degree" view around the airport.
Elmhurst, which was jolted by an unexpected din from planes during a recent rotation test, became active at Fly Quiet meetings in 2017 with elected officials and residents attending. "Elmhurst participated vocally and regularly," Juracek said.
Wood Dale is expected to be hit with increased flights once a sixth parallel runway is completed in 2020 and should be part of the solution, she noted.
Park Ridge did not make the cut, even though it has a history of experiencing jet noise and certain neighborhoods were adversely affected by overnight rotations in 2016 and 2017.
"Park Ridge has not received the benefit of any predictability in overhead air traffic and has not received the intermittent relief Fly Quiet was asked to accomplish," Park Ridge representative Rebecca Mills said, adding the decision seemed "arbitrary and unfair."
Other members of the Fly Quiet Committee are: Bensenville, Des Plaines, Harwood Heights, Niles, River Grove, Schaumburg, Schiller Park, and Chicago, which has two representatives.
The change was made following a recommendation from the bylaws committee to increase Fly Quiet committee members to 11, which ONCC members approved.
Juracek said she was constrained by that number, but will re-evaluate the specific makeup of the committee each year. Adding more members would require a similar recommendation and full commission vote.