Houston Airport System presents noise solutions to North Hollow residents
North Hollow residents were invited to a noise mitigation briefing Thursday, July 20, to hear plans from the Houston Airport System to alleviate the noise caused by close proximities to the airport.
A detailed timeline for the project as well as any development plans to occur were presented to the community members prior to opening the floor for questions.
“People are finding out what they can do. They have been waiting around for years for this to happen,” Congressman Ted Poe said.
The Sound Insulation Program introduced was divided into two phases presented by Mario Diaz, director of aviation, and Devon Tiner, assistant director for asset engineering for the Houston Airport. The first phase completed full treatment for 27 homes, while the second phase is planned to serve residents of 146 homes. Tiner said homeowners can choose between sound insulation, sales assurance, transaction assistance, purchase development rights or avigation easement.
A homeowner that chooses the sound insulation option will receive treatment to windows, doors, ceiling insulation, vents and HVAC (heating and air-conditioning). Anywhere that air can get into the home, that air can bring in sound waves, and modifications to seal off the noise will drop the level of sound entering a home.
“There is a standard pallet of products that are federally approved that will be available for review and the contracts will come in and get them done,” Tiner said.
Transaction assistance is a federally funded program, which is why homeowners who decided on this option will deal directly with the airport. Homeowners who choose to sell will receive the 6 percent reimbursement of the sale value.
Sales assurance guarantees the homeowner that the appraised fair market value is received on a timely sale.
“A certified appraisal makes the determination of appraised value. There is a list of certified appraisals or (homeowners) can bring their own to us, and we can certify it from there as well,” Tiner said.
If a homeowner sells the house for less than the valued cost, the program will pay the difference.
Purchase of development rights, Tiner said, really applies only to individuals within the subdivision who own the vacant lots in the area. This allows for any future development to have the avigation easement subject to development standards of the mitigation program.
Avigation easement provides a one-time payment to the homeowner in exchange for having an aircraft move over the house.
Homeowners have the option of opting out of the program entirely. Then, the Houston Airport System will purchase the avigation easement from the homeowners directly for $5,000, which is a payment that will be made within two to 12 months.
Andrew and Linda Richardson have lived in the North Hollow subdivision for more than 27 years and said they have no intention of selling their home and leaving anytime soon.
“Why not take the improvement? I’ve been there forever. When I bought the house, I only paid over $70,000. Now, it’s worth a whole lot more, and once we do the improvement the value will go up,” Andrew Richardson said.
Diaz addressed the crowd, reassuring them that this phase will get done in a timely manner and while he admitted he lost sight of this project, he plans to push forward and beat the set deadlines they presented.
“I’m here today, and I have changed and appointed the individual that’s going to make this happen and you’ll have to wait and see the delivery,” Diaz said.
A form was presented to residents to fill out to apply for the method they choose to alleviate their long-time frustrations.
Houston Airport System plans to complete the second phase of the Sound Insulation Project for all 146 homes by August 2019.