CENTENNIAL, Colo. — The latest meeting of Centennial Airport's Community Noise Roundtable went about the same as they all do.
Neighbors near the airport lined up to complain about the sound of planes flying over their homes. In the latest report, the airport said it is receiving nearly double the number of noise complaints in recent months compared to last year -- averaging about 1,100 grievances filed per month.
So when developers proposed building new condos and townhomes directly in the path of landing planes, Centennial Airport wrote planners objecting to the proposal.
The FAA even got involved, writing a three-page letter outline its objections, including noise issues and concern accidents are proportionally higher in the areas where building is planned compared to other locations.
"The FAA strongly opposes this proposed development," the agency's letter to the City of Lone Tree said.
Despite these objections, Lone Tree approved the plan earlier this month. According to the developer's website, building of the 270 units will begin in 2024. Lyric at RidgeGate will be open for residents to move in, directly under the path of landing planes, in 2025.
News of the approval and proposal was first reported by Colorado Community Media. The development was one of four the airport objected to in recent weeks, it told roundtable members at this month's meeting.
But at least one member of the board didn't have confidence municipalities around the airport would listen to the objections.
"I find it extremely frustrating when the airport, I think for good reason, says this is not a good idea to build here and the cities and towns just say we don't care, it's money," she said, according to a recording of the meeting. "The people that live in those areas are going to be living under the same kind of noise and the same kind of concerns about safety that y'all have. So it's a big circle of a problem."
The builder, Lokal, agreed to add language to inform buyers of the flight path and promised to test the decibel level inside the homes once they finish building, the city said.
In a statement, the city of Lone Tree's senior planner, Chuck Darnell said:
As part of its public referral process, the City of Lone Tree invited Centennial Airport to provide comments on the proposed Lyric Condominiums and Townhomes development. Centennial Airport expressed concerns that the development would be impacted by noise from airport activities and overflights.
This site was zoned for residential use more than 20 years ago. The City of Lone Tree has established development standards for addressing potential airport-related impacts in this area. Developers must obtain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmation that they have complied with FAA review processes, such as the Part 77 assessment of air navigation impacts. The Lyric Condominiums and Townhomes project received FAA approval, including a "No Hazard to Air Navigation" determination. The developer also committed to meeting interior noise level requirements, which will be verified through post-construction noise testing. Given this information, the City approved the development in accordance with City code and guidelines.
The City of Lone Tree values its relationship with Centennial Airport. The quality of this collaborative relationship was a key factor in the establishment of an Avigation Notice over the entirety of the City of Lone Tree east of I-25. Subdivision plats and site improvement plans in this region must reference this notice, ensuring future landowners are aware of airport-related impacts. Because of this, the Avigation Notice is part of property title work provided to homeowners during ownership transfers.
Lone Tree, like many other communities along the Front Range, needs additional housing. Specifically, Lone Tree needs additional housing options to provide housing opportunities for residents within a wide range of income levels. The proposed development includes both condominiums and townhomes - housing products that will provide home-ownership opportunities at lower price points than many traditional detached single-family housing products. This development will help the City achieve its Comprehensive Plan objective of providing “Residential areas that are safe, attractive, and desirable places, with a mix of housing types and affordability ranges to accommodate a broad range of demographic groups in the City.”
Centennial Airport also issued a statement to 9NEWS saying it has always been proactive in working with surrounding communities to identify issues that could arise from further development.
"Lone Tree has been a good partner with the airport and has responded well to our concerns. We understand the desire to continue to develop Ridgegate and will continue to work with Lone Tree to make sure that any development within our airport influence areas are properly vetted and that future residents are aware of potential impacts and have the necessary construction to counter any increased noise," the airport said.
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