Edina Leaders Urge Vote Against Proposed Flight Pattern Changes

Updated: 11/17/2012 11:33 AM KSTP.com By: Mark Saxenmeyer

Worried about noise and pollution, Edina leaders say they're determined to stop the FAA from changing airplane flight patterns over the suburb.

The mayor and city manager are meeting with commissioners of the Metropolitan Airports Commission Saturday morning to urge them to vote against the plan on Monday.

Currently, planes fan out fairly evenly across the suburb, but the new flight pattern consolidates planes into two zones; one of them cuts across the center of Edina.

Resident Scott Busyn would be directly affected. He built his dream home in Edina three years ago. Planes now fly overhead occasionally, but that would change dramatically under

The FAA's new flight pattern proposal. "They're basically going to direct planes down one narrow line," he said. "And my house is right underneath it."

There are currently about 440 daily flights over Edina and, under the new plan, there'd be just 308. But those flights would be concentrated over two areas instead of the entire city. That means residents like the Busyn would have to hear, and see, and feel them all. "Not only the noise," he said, "but the exhaust, the chemicals in the exhaust, and the fact that this being concentrated over one area repeatedly every day, They just have to check that out. We have to find out how that impacts our community."

Edina mayor Jim Hovland thinks he knows. "Their quality of life is going to be greatly affected, particularly their health and their property values," he predicted.

Hovland says he and the city leaders would have tried to block the plan--if they knew about it.

Scott Neal, Edina's city manager, said, "We didn't get consideration. We didn't get the same kind of outreach and information that other cities, and particularly other city councils, received. So we haven't had the ability to take an informed position on it."

An FAA spokeswoman told 5 Eyewitness News on Friday that the new flight plan enhances safety, reduces emissions and modernizes air traffic control.

Edina finds that hard to believe. "To suddenly do this is really a crime," Busyn said.

The FAA won't likely proceed with the new plan unless a majority of the Metropolitan Airports Commission endorses it on Monday. Edina leaders are optimistic that during their private meeting with commissioners Saturday they can convince them to make a decision that benefits this city and its residents.

But if the commissioners do approve the plan, Hovland says Edina is prepared to keep fighting it. "We're not ruling out any option," he said.

Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at msaxenmeyer@kstp.com