By Seth Daniel
The South End might have a new seat at the table when it comes to sounding off on airplane noise, with State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz filing legislation this week that would require a South Ender to have a seat on the MassPort Community Advisory Committee (CAC).
The MassPort CAC meets regularly and has an executive director, all in an effort to bring complaints and concerns directly to Logan officials and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – who work with and attend the CAC meetings. There are six appointees on that CAC from Boston, all appointed by the mayor, but none of them are from the South End.
Now, Michlewitz said he has filed legislation at the State House to add a seventh Boston member to the MassPort CAC, and that seventh member must be a Southender. Already, out of Boston’s six seats, it is required that one be from East Boston and one from South Boston. This would bring on a third required neighborhood in the mix.
“Hopefully, if we get a new member on there, we can get some input into the problem with airplane noise over the South End, particularly in the early mornings,” he said. “Right now, the South End has no representative on that CAC. With this legislation, hopefully the South End will have the voice it needs on this issue.”
The South End has been mute on airplane noise mostly for many years, but complaints rapidly picked up over the last two years – hitting a zenith this past summer. Most of that had to do with takeoffs in the early morning, starting at 5 a.m., from Runway 27. With a new GPS system used to pinpoint the paths of planes, the flightpaths became exponentially greater for those underneath the GPS pinpoint – where before the planes spread out, or fanned, more often.
The potential seat on the MassPort CAC is all the more critical now as earlier this year the FAA and Logan announced they would stop working with the existing and long-time CAC, known as the Logan CAC. Instead, Logan and the FAA started working only with the MassPort CAC.
The Logan CAC has a South End resident on its board, John Stewart, but that is of limited power due to the fact that the principles have abandoned working with them.
Michlewitz hopes to fix that situation by getting a dedicated Southender at the table.