TIMELINE OF SFORUNWAYNOISE.COM
Coinciding with a major airport runway project, unusually loud jet noise began.
Many attempts to get a reasonable explanation of the increased noise from airport officials were not futile; many public complaints were filed via SFO's online forms, emails, & phone calls with no apparent results.
sforunwaynoise.com was created
Meetings with community & airport officials were not productive
Anonymous (and credible) post on local chat room described the runway layout that changed, followed by an increase in jet noise, with a way to possibly mitigate.
Our attorney asked the airport to provide
pertinent papers regarding the runway work and how it's affected the noise levels. Airport emailed back 118,000 pages of documents
Making no headway with airport officials, we felt a group tactic of repeatedly winning claims in small claims court could exert enough financial
pressure on the airport's owners (the City and County of San Francisco) who are legally responsible for airport noise (not overhead flight noise) to "mitigate and remediate" the source of the runway noise.
Response from online chat rooms indicated people preferred to file claims in groups rather than individually.
Meetings were well-attended; claim forms were filled out
We submitted 51 claims in the San Mateo County small claims court; after appearance delays by the defense (the City and County of San Francisco), the judge rendered her verdict almost 7 months after the submission. She ruled that the noise is an unacceptable and disturbing issue.
Abiding by a federal statute the defense had submitted (which mandated people who'd filed runway noise claims had to have lived in their homes since 1983 to now), the judge ruled in favor of one-fourth of our group who "qualified".
A significant number of people, believing the federal statute was appropriately used in small claims court, declined to continue.
January - An Superior Court appeals judge ruled in favor of the Round One homeowners (who'd owned homes before 1983) and against the defense. She clearly recognized the noise is harmful and an "ongoing private nuisance".
Significant and extensive research over the last several months regarding the federal statute revealed that, without question, it can not be utilized in small claims court*. We will again file, ensuring each plaintiff has the option of giving the judge the written evidence that the statute cannot be used.
July 1 - Deadline to mail non-committal papers to San Francisco. (All forms & instructions provided on this website. See "paperwork" tab on home page.) Cost: two postage stamps
September 1 - Date to mail in claims to Redwood City as a group. Cost: $65 for single filers, $90 for joint filers
mid-October (estimate) - appearance schedules mailed to claimants
mid-November (estimate) - appearances held in Redwood City unless defense requests postponements, a deliberate strategy used in some courts to discourage plaintiffs from continuing with the process.
We will likely begin another round in court.