Making a path for conversation

Milton Select Board Chair Michael Zullas makes a point to residents gathered at the Council on Aging building Nov. 14 about airplane noise and flight paths. To his right are SB Vice Chair Melinda Collins and Andy Schmidt, chairman of the Airplane Noise Advisory Committee.

(Photo by Barry Nelson)

More than 60 residents concerned about the town’s recent efforts to fight against noise and pollution from the heavy volume of air traffic over Milton were encouraged to keep the complaints coming.

“We need to use our voices on this one,” Andy Schmidt, the chair of the Airplane Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC) told the group of residents that turned out for a public forum on Nov. 14.

The forum - the first to be held in several years - was sponsored by ANAC, the Select Board, and the town’s representative to the Massport Community Advisory Committee (MCAC), Tom Dougherty.

Representatives from those groups presented information ranging from how to file a noise complaint to technical data about the ongoing research.

Frustrated residents came to find out more about the issues, and several had questions about a July 10 letter the board submitted to the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) concerning ongoing studies being done for the agency by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

All involved said it will be an uphill battle to get any relief for Milton from the more than 70,000 airplanes that fly over two parallel flight paths as they approach Logan International Airport.

“Residents are suffering under the flight paths and they have been suffering for some time,” said Select Board Chair Mike Zullas.

He said many in Milton, particularly those who live in the area between the two runways 4L and 4R are unable to sleep, use their backyards, or open their windows during the summer.

Some parents have even rented motel rooms when their children are facing tests to ensure a good night’s sleep.

“Many residents are fearing the environmental and personal damage from the pollution that is raining down on us,” Zullas said. “There are a lot of residents that are angry and frustrated. They have a right to be. We haven’t been able to get to where we want to be on this issue. We can’t let that anger and frustration divide us.”

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