San Lorenzo Citizens Fighting Airport Noise

About Noise Complaints

Complaints of unreasonable aircraft noise are an important measure of the impact of airport operations on surrounding homes. Each complaint to the airport must be logged and investigated. Records of complaints (but not complainants' identities) are public records open to inspection by anyone. (See San Jose v. Superior Court (Mercury News), California Court of Appeals, Sixth District, 1999.)

The Hayward Airport maintains a "noise hotline" -- 293-8692 -- which is open all the time. During weekdays until 5 p.m. an airport employee may answer the phone and take information. At all other times an answering machine is in service.

You should report the following:

Ask that you be notified of the results of the investigation!

Also, if a noisy plane appears to be taking off and landing repeatedly, say so. Such "touch and go" flights (typically training flights) can be particularly bothersome.

You are not required to know the identity of the plane or the flight direction. But if you can see the "N" number on the aircraft (usually painted on the fuselage), you can identify the owner by entering the number at the FAA aircraft registry.

You can avoid the phone altogether by using a noise log to record several noise incidents on one sheet of paper and mailing the log to the airport (keep a copy).

The City of Hayward has an ordinance that limits the noise level (measured in decibels) of planes using the Hayward Airport and provides for fines for violations of the limits. The airport maintains four noise monitors that are designed to measure the noise of aircraft taking off and landing. When you complain about noise, airport staff will check noise monitor records to see if the noise you reported exceeded the limits set by the ordinance. If it did, the staff will then determine the identify of the aircraft that exceeded the established noise limit. Noise monitor records and the identity of aircraft flying out of and into the airport are easily retrieved by airport staff from an automated system called ANOMS.

If the aircraft is based at the Hayward Airport, airport staff will speak to the owner to learn why the aircraft may have exceeded the noise limit. If the aircraft is not based at the Hayward Airport, the aircraft owner is notified that the aircraft may not use the airport so long as the aircraft is unable to comply with the noise limits.

The airport manager has stated that noise monitor records are routinely reviewed to identify all violations of the noise limit -- independently of public complaints. However, if there are no complaints of noisy aircraft, the airport staff can legitimately conclude that aircraft noise -- even when it exceeds established limits -- does not bother surrounding residents. In that event the City of Hayward could decide to do away with its aircraft noise ordinance.

[Revised Jan. 10, 2012]