Westminster leaves RMMA noise roundtable

Luke Zarzecki
lzarzecki@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 7/7/22

Westminster city council decided on June 29 to back out of the Community Noise Roundtable at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport citing a lack of action done by the group and increased …

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Westminster leaves RMMA noise roundtable

Posted

Westminster city council decided on June 29 to back out of the Community Noise Roundtable at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport citing a lack of action done by the group and increased dues. 

“Until they tell us we will actually get something for that money besides more talking, it’s not worth the public dollars,” said Mayor Pro Tem David DeMott. 

He cited a lack of action and inability to come up with a plan to address resident concerns over noise coming from the airport as the main reason. If the airport is able to come up with a plan, he would reconsider joining the group. 

Council concurred, besides City Councilor Sarah Nurmela and City Councilor Obi Ezeadi who wanted to either stay for another year or to come back at a later date with different terms. 

DeMott and City Councilor Lindsay Emmons both noted that they were big proponents of creating the group and helping fund it due to complaints from residents regarding noise and environmental health issues. 

“They aren’t actually focused on any of those things,” DeMott said at the June 20 study session. “For me, until they actually start focusing on some of those meaningful things that could make an impact, I say we withdraw and protest.”

The pull-out in motion was driven by tripling its membership dues from $3,600 for 2022 to $12,000 for 2023. 

Previously, Westminster’s council voted unanimously on Feb. 28 to give the airport $7,810 to help a regional effort to quiet Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport. That money would have hired two consultants, one to facilitate meetings during noise roundtable meetings and the other to provide aviation consulting services. 

For the $7,810, Westminster was joined by Arvada, Boulder County, the city and county of Broomfield, Jefferson County, the city of Louisville, the Town of Superior and the city of Lafayette. 

However, on May 9, Paul Anslow, the director of the airport, announced that both consultants were dropped due to a conflict of interest: the firm that was hired was supposed to give testimony for Jefferson County regarding noise in a lawsuit between the airport and Rock Creek HOA.

The airport is looking to replace those consultants, but Mayor Nancy McNally noted that no one responded to the RFP. 

City Councilor Rich Seymour raised the concern on June 20 that if the city loses a seat at the table, then they miss out on any discussions occurring at the meetings. Though he also raised the point that the city has leverage since a group with no members is not a group at all. 

“If you don’t have members, you don’t have direction,” he said. “It’s a tough problem because the FAA isn’t going to bend to our will.” 

City Councilor Sarah Nurmela stressed residents' concerns regarding environmental impacts and said the city can’t push for remedies if they aren’t in the group. 

Emmons noted the group doesn’t have direction with them in it currently.

“They have literally talked about the same thing for what seems like the last two years,” she said on June 20. 

She asked if there were different routes the city could take to help resident concerns besides the noise roundtable. 

Westminster’s Federal Lobbyist Mike Dino said other options could be advocacy through federal elected officials and talking with FAA local officials.

“The FAA does tend to take the side of aviation as that is their objective,” said Dino.

Nurmela asked if the city has any leeway to manage when flights are flying in and out of the airport, and DeMott said it’s all up to the FAA. 

Anslow and Julie Story, a spokesperson for the airport, declined to comment. 

“It’s their attitudes, we could say the most enlightening thing and they justify whatever they’re thinking and has nothing to do with what was just said, that’s what is frustrating,” said Mayor Nancy McNally, who attended a meeting in June.

In the past, Charlene Willey of the Save Our Skies Alliance, a 28-year Westminster resident, thinks the formation of the noise roundtable is not genuine.

“The Community Noise Roundtable is a pat response from the (Federal Aviation Administration) to noise complaints. They exist around the country, although they might vary a bit from locale to locale,” she said. 

Rocky Mountain Municipal Airport, noise roundtable, RMMA,

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