- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - Some people who live near the Atlanta airport say noise makes their lives miserable, and conditions could get worse as the airport grows.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has nearly 2,500 arrivals and departures daily, with a takeoff about every 45 seconds during busy periods. The city of Atlanta, which owns and operates the airport, is taking the first steps in a $6 billion master plan modernization and expansion.

“The noise is excruciating,” Burness Davis, who lives in the Clayton County community of Conley, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (https://bit.ly/2gs19gC ). “It’s just horrible. It affects us daily.”

College Park residents voted this month to urge Congress to direct the Federal Aviation Administration to develop new noise exposure measures and authorize new funding for insulation in affected areas.

In surrounding areas, cheap apartment rent is a main attraction. But, noise can disrupt sleep.

Hartsfield-Jackson has logged 143 noise complaints so far this year compared to 107 for all of 2015. The airport said about half of the complaints came from two people.

Prior expansions have cleared out entire neighborhoods, such as Mountain View to the east of the airport. The latest plan would put the sixth runway on the existing airfield, rather than having to significantly expand the airport footprint and displace residents, but it still is expected to require the clearing of hotels southwest of the airport.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also wants to attract more cargo flights at night, when the airport is now mostly quiet. The airport is building new cargo facilities on its south side.

To Davis, cargo is an unwelcome nighttime visitor. “When do we get a rest? Because we can’t sleep at night,” she said.

Most residents who live next to the airport are not constituents of Reed or Atlanta City Council members.

“That’s the crux of the whole battle,” said Mike Flannagan, a landowner and developer in Sterling, Virginia, who previously owned apartment developments in College Park. “There’s nobody in the city council of Atlanta that’s got to look a College Park resident in the eye and say, ‘Hey man, how am I doing?’”

Flannagan sued Atlanta over airport noise issues and lost, withdrawing his lawsuit last summer and selling his properties, ending a five-year fight.

Hartsfield-Jackson has a noise insulation program, gradually adding new windows, doors, air conditioning and other measures in homes, offices and apartments. Insulation projects cost about $10-$15 million annually, with 80 percent covered by the federal government. Hartsfield-Jackson said it insulates a few hundred apartments a year.

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