City Council members are fuming over the lack of public engagement preceding a Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) vote Monday to dramatically alter flight patterns in the area.
The proposal to concentrate routes of planes taking off from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport will impact thousands of homeowners who may have to endure more -- or less -- jet noise. Who is affected? Several Council Members said Thursday that it's impossible to tell.
There have been two open houses on the plan, but many have complained that they weren't properly advertised.
“There’s just been no information to anyone at all," said Lisa Goodman, who represents downtown. "And it seems like what they’re trying to do is shove this through before people find out what they’re actually up to. How do you think anything other than that?”
Goodman said she has had to rely on a graphic in the Star Tribune to learn that planes were likely not going to be flying over downtown. “I can’t imagine that they could have fulfilled their obligation to notify people if someone like me, who is in the loop, has no idea how this would affect my ward, my constituents, myself," Goodman said.
Paul Mogush, who serves as an alternate for the city on a MAC committee that discusses noise, said there has been little information on how the new flight plans would differ from the old ones. He added there has been little information about what this will look like years from now, when the number of flights grow.
“I’m part of the [city's] airport working group and I feel like I’m totally confused," said Council Member Elizabeth Glidden.
Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy said people need to contact their elected officials, particularly members of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, ahead of Monday's vote on whether to proceed with the new flight paths.
"We were led to believe earlier this year that there would be a long engagement process, that there would be some planning sessions for us to assist in figuring out how to get all this information out," Colvin Roy said.
"And then slam, bam, [they said], 'No, we’re doing it [in] November. And, by the way, we’re going to give you less than a week’s notice of the two open houses where people can go and be massively confused.'"
Council Member John Quincy, who sits on the MSP Noise Oversight Committee, was the sole 'no' vote on whether the Federal Aviation Administration had met the committee's noise criteria before moving foward.
Star Tribune graphic by Ray Grumney