Waikoloa, Hawaii – Video by David Corrigan
Most of the testimony at Wednesday’s Land Use Commission hearing on the proposed Ooma land reclassification – from conservation to urban – focused on public use, open space, and traffic issues. Amidst the clamor, two Hawaii Island residents focused their attention on another aspect of the project… airplane noise.
Midland Pacific Building Corp hopes to develop the Ooma Beachside Village – a mixed use, residential neighborhood – on 181 acres of Kona land. The project will be located on the south side of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii, which borders the Kona Interntational Airport.
At the LUC hearing, Debbie Hecht and Kathleen McMillen testified that they believe the noise from the airport will be too much for the future residents of the planned neighborhood. Both testifiers found fault with the Environmental Impact Statement that studied the noise from the airport, which found it to be “compatible with the proposed land uses of Ooma Beachside Village.”
The EIS says noise from the airport, measured in units of “Day-Night Average Sound Level” or DNL, will pollute the Ooma Beachside Village at a level of 60 to 65 – a level that it says is “typical of urbanized areas” – only along the shoreline and coastal preserve area, part of the setback where no homes will exist. A level of 55 DNL is expected to be heard above dwellings in the Makai Village, which the EIS says is acceptable according to FAA and state DOT standards.
McMillen says that 55 DNL may still warrant mitigation (like insulation and other measures that McMillen says conflict with open air, Hawaiian home design.)
McMillen says the future growth of the airport will change the projected DNL pollution over Ooma, and she says the airport is too important to the region to be have its growth impeded by the noise needs of planned residential neighborhoods. Her and Hecht both warned that in other states, residential neighborhoods that have been negatively impacted by the noise levels of growing airports have been purchased from fleeing owners by the government at the taxpayer’s expense.