FAA to buy or soundproof over 1,000 homes near Gulfport airport

Published 6:59 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2006

The Federal Aviation Administration will spend $59 million over the next eight years to soundproof or buy homes near the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.

The voluntary program will pay for 1,010 homes and apartments to be soundproofed and 122 homes to be acquired.

Additionally, 1,300 home owners will be offered easements that pay for right-of-flyover privileges.

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The FAA has found that such payments are easier than muddling through potential lawsuits, and a check of $3,000 will record the agreement on the property’s title.

“The people in Gulfport and Harrison County have been particularly receptive to the benefits of the airport on the commercial and military side. Especially on the military side,” airport attorney Cy Fanceca said after a meeting Monday with Harrison County supervisors.

The program doubled in scope after Hurricane Katrina, with plans for offering to buy some homes that were flooded. Homes that owners don’t wish to sell would be eligible for sound insulation.

The program pays for the replacement of doors and windows, along with attic sound insulation. It can also pay to have window air conditioning units removed and central air installed, with limits per home of $30,000.

Residents that don’t want that work done can also settle for the $3,000 check.

“Our client is the airport, but we work very closely with the residents,” said Iray Ledoux, vice president of W.D. Schock, which is overseeing the project.

The program would also include business, and the final phase would soundproof two schools and three churches.