Update on Aircraft Noise from John Vihstadt and Libby Garvey

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Dear Resident:

We are writing to let you know of an important new step the Board is taking, in partnership with Montgomery County, to advance our efforts to respond to the increased commercial aircraft noise experienced in our community over the last few years to and from Reagan National Airport (DCA).

As you know, the Arlington County Board and County staff have been working in earnest on the issue of increasing levels of aircraft noise in our community since the implementation of NextGen for the D.C. Metroplex in 2014.  We continue to hear loud and clear from our residents that the noise impacts have worsened significantly since this action and have had a substantial negative impact on their quality of life.

Since October 2015, the County has participated in the DCA Community Working Group, convened by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), as the venue for a regional discussion on aircraft noise impacts and solutions.  This effort mirrors those supported by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which are being undertaken across the country in other communities facing the same issues that we face here.

Despite what look like promising recommendations for operations south of the airport, the fact remains that we do not appear to be any closer to a solution today for those communities north of the airport than we were when this effort was initiated. 

In order to advance this effort, Arlington County and Montgomery County have committed the funding necessary to jointly engage a technical consultant to examine these issues.  As County staff takes the necessary steps to execute this contract and complete the project in Fiscal Year 2019, we will keep you apprised of the project scope, timeline, and major milestones.

Simply put, our goal with the study is to quantify the noise impacts on our community, to determine what specifically is driving the increase in those impacts in recent years and to identify and evaluate all actions that could reasonably be taken to reduce and mitigate them.  It is our hope that this study will result in concrete recommendations to achieve the County’s and the region’s goal of reducing aircraft noise where possible and to equitably share it where necessary. These findings and recommendations will then be sent to the FAA through the DCA Community Working Group for their consideration and action.

Please keep current on our efforts by visiting the County’s aircraft noise webpage, which also provides the ability to sign up for email updates.  As this initiative moves forward, we will provide updates via the website and email.  In addition, you may continue to receive updates through your civic associations, as we meet regularly with those groups impacted by aircraft noise in order to provide information to, and receive feedback from, our residents.

Thank you for your continued interest in and advocacy on this important issue.


John Vihstadt

Libby Garvey

Arlington County Board Members