At their monthly board meeting on September 30, the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA) approved an updated Noise Exposure Map for Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) that is expected to end the airport’s voluntary land acquisition and relocation program.
“In 2005, SARAA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducted a study to determine existing (2005) and future (2010) airport noise impacts on our surrounding communities,” explained Tim Edwards, executive director. “Following FAA approval in 2006, a voluntary land acquisition and relocation program for portions of the boroughs of Middletown and Royalton began in 2008. Since then, 24 of the 47 eligible properties were voluntarily purchased by SARAA using FAA funds. Residents were then moved into similar dwellings outside of the noise impact area. The total cost for the home acquisitions, relocation and moving costs, and ongoing maintenance of the remaining properties was $4.5 million.” Homes were purchased as noise grant money was made available to SARAA from the FAA.
In 2014, the FAA required SARAA to conduct a new Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study to determine current (2015) and future (2020) noise conditions at HIA. The combination of changes in the fleet of aircraft that operate at HIA today compared to those that operated in 2005, and less flights per day due to airline mergers, has generated a decrease in noise levels in the area surrounding the airport. The resulting changes to the Noise Exposure Map means that remaining homes within the original noise impact area previously eligible for voluntary acquisition, are no longer eligible for the program at this time.