Should homeowners have protection from changes in air traffic that might affect the value of their homes?

The Metropolitan Airports Commission will vote this week on proposed changes to the flight plans of aircraft departing Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The revised flight plans are expected to concentrate air traffic along particular pathways. Some residents worry that the changes will mean more noise and reduced quality of life. Today’s Question: Should homeowners have protection from changes in air traffic that might affect the value of their homes?

  • John

    No, stop complaining.

    What about the killings in Gaza? The only nuclear power in the area is killing innocent daily, and we let it happen.

  • Gary F

    Grew up in Richfield. Played Little League at the east Richfield LL fields right on airport property. My dad always complained that his outfielders were watching planes landing and not paying attention to the game. You knew lots of kids whose parents worked for the airlines, from CEO of NW, to office personal, maintenance, and baggage handlers. It was a way of life.

    I live in Highland Park. I moved there 22 years ago knowing that it was near an airport and things will change for the better, or worse.

  • Bob MacNeal

    The proposed change is a regional urban planning policy decision that serves the many (e.g., corporate interests and the people of the region) to the detriment of the few. It seems reasonable and just that the few impacted households be compensated for their loss of property value. The dicey question is what constitutes fair compensation?

  • Mark in Freeborn

    What sort of protection is expected, or anticipated? Less noise? Tax relief? Direct payments? If people choose to live anywhere near the airport, noise problems are to be expected. Either that, or plan to move the whole airport to a less densely populated area, but that poses problems of its own in terms of distance from the central cities. You can’t have one without the other.

  • Jim G

    Loud noise is pollution and we know it causes stress with all of its negative health consequences. The airport commission and the national airlines it serves also need to take into account the people whose health are impacted by their industry. They should pay the true costs of operations by in some way mitigating the costs incurred by residents.

    Are all airport commissioners from the area around the airport? If not, then I suggest they volunteer to “vacation” in the areas impacted so they would know what it sounds like. Or better yet, maybe all commissioners should be required to live within the impacted zones.

  • david

    If this is a cost savings for the airport and airlines, and people who never had to deal with airport noise before all of the sudden will, then those people better be well compensated. They need to be paid for any devaluation in their homes, moving expenses if the chose to leave, and pain and suffering for having to deal with the noise. Other wise this is just another case of class warfare and yet another transfer of wealth from the have nots to the haves even more.

  • GregX

    Air corridors are a big deal. Cities need to manage them with Technical Advice FROM the FAA/MAC. The FAA has no real concern about cities nor neighborhoods, nor livability nor the heavy costs associated with developing ( or later moving) largely immobile ground infrastructure ( highways to service communities being one) as well as homes, apartments, shopping centers and businesses.

    While GaryF’s comments are salient for someone who moves in under an existing flight path and its current usage – well said. But when the FAA is moving the flight paths around … I disagree with that perspective. There ,,, the “existing” tennat to be aware of is the houses/communities. The FAA/MAC should be bargaining with the communities for permission to use the airspace.

  • David Poretti

    When shopping for my home, I reviewed the flight path information posted by MAC. I deliberately chose a home in Minneapolis that was not in the flight path (and that beneficial location was reflected in the price of the home). Since the near miss and subsequent rerouting of flights, I have gone from some visual with very little sound to a fairly steady drone of planes over my neighborhood. With the proposed flight path changes, my neighborhood’s exposure to airplane noise will go up another 100%, with several flights per day directly over my home.

    While I agree that those who bought a home that was in the flight path should have known what they were getting (and the price of the home acknowledged that issue), those of us that deliberately purchased a home out of the flight path only to have the flight path moved over our home should be compensated for both the loss in market value of the home and the diminished livability of the neighborhood.

  • Ann

    When I heard the report on this, nothing was said about how it is handled in other cities. Isn’t it frustrating to receive such limited information? I doubt that people in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York have much say in how the air traffic affects them.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Ownership of private property is a useful social construct but has no reality beyond what society chooses to give it. Abolishing it is a bad idea, but so is idolizing it. If we could learn to keep that in perspective, lots of other things would be much easier to deal with, whether airline flight paths, or compensation for noise, or taxes, or regulations, or whatever.

    It’s true that we have a problem with an “entitlement mentality” in this country, but not in the way right-wing pundits talk about it. The real entitlement mentality is that people feel entitled to do whatever they want with the things they claim to own, without regard to the common good.

  • Jim G

    @ Steve the Cynic

    Well said.

  • MJ

    Of course when someone buys a house in southwest Minneapolis you know there are going to be planes overhead. But the realtors and the flight path charts do not give you any idea of what it it will be like to live there until you have moved in. It can be an experience beyond what a person can imagine. Southwest is an otherwise wonderful neighborhood, but I am sometimes amazed that I or anyone else still chooses to live there.

  • Steve Amos

    The last plan that was implemented (5 yrs ago) allowed planes to turn just after takeoff – partially to relieve areas of th TCs from constant noise. With a major met airport right in the population center there NEEDS to be a dispersion (sharing) of the noise pain. Not only should homeowners be compensated (how about a 50% reduction in property taxes) for a return to the old system (a bait and switch) but in a liveable and civil place like the TCs we should be fair and egalitarian about the functional pain we inflict on city residents

  • Margo Kirwin

    This is a difficult issue. I moved out of Minneapolis 9 or 10 years ago, because as they were expanding 35W, they estimated the traffic on my block – an already noisy, busy, and accident prone road – would double when the new transit station (at 42nd Street) was built. My home would also lose value. I looked everywhere in South Minneapolis to find a place I could afford that was niether that close to 35W nor so close to the airport. Unfortunately, affordability sent me to a suburb, although I love Minneapolis and miss it to this day. I did what I could with the choices I had.

    That said, I recall that people living near the airport were allocated resources with which to soundproof their homes. That should be an option again if changing flight paths puts new people in a position of eligibility using similar criteria. Flight paths were changed to better spread the noise across locations. That should be an option too. (And btw, planes started flying over my home not long after I moved as a result, albeit from higher in the sky than they are near the airport). I don’t think we should compensate people for home value loss. This would set a precedent that we would regret, as people find myriad other reasons they should be compensated. Things are not as rosy in my suburb as they were when I moved here, for a variety of reasons. Again, I will make do with the choices I have.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Linda in Plymouth, you are so clueless I don’t know where to begin. If you think a concern for the common good has anything to do with the disasters that were with Stalin, Mao, etc., you’re much misinformed. Radical collectivism obviously does not promote the common good, but neither does radical individualism. Along with Ayn Rand, you seem to want to avoid the one mistake by diving head first into the other. Society functions best when individual rights and the common good are held in balance, with neither being absolute.

    Oh, and the etymology of “Syria” is entirely unrelated to that of “Nazi.” Where did you get the utterly rediculous idea that that they are connected? The opinions of anyone who would believe such a thing have no credibility whatsoever.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Keep posting, Linda. Like so many others of your ilk, the more you rant, the more you hurt your own cause.

  • Michelle


    You’re right. Linda (in Plymouth)’s posts are just big chunks of … we’ll at least she could define her paragraghs a bit better. A friend of mine says that at least he knows how to squeeze a loaf.

    I’m sure you mean well Linda iP, I just think you need to get stoned more regularly and take a writing course.

    Oh, and I don’t know about the noise, I remember it being so loud in Richfield sometimes I look up and just scream back at the air traffic thundering by. The backyard pond would ripple with noise. It seemed to happen every 6 minutes. I’m just glad I live in Prospect Park now it’s a lot quieter and more scenic. Maybe the commissioners need to toke up and solve this problem, I did for myself.

  • Sam

    To think 40 or 50 years ago we had the real option of building our regional airport between Minneapolis and St Cloud, with high speed transit linking the cities.

    Too intelligent of a land management idea for our legislature, I guess.

  • Jon

    Why don’t we just go back to the more civilized form of transportation of dirigible aircraft? Very elegant, little noise, can land anywhere, recently-proven that infamous explosions were due to paint and not helium. Sounds like a winning situation for all.

  • JasonB

    I can’t think of anything that would be a fair compensation except to just affirm that no one should have their quality of life reduced as a convenience for others, particularly a government entity.

    As a resident who is already affected by changes in air traffic there is no agreeable or amenable solution other than to just not establish new routes over previously quiet neighborhoods. As has been stated many times people chose their homes based on established flight paths. If you look at current paths and see the sharp left and right turns that planes are now taking immediately after takeoff, flying routes that did not exist before, you would appreciate the disapproval of those concerned.

    Some say that people should not complain because they chose to live near the airport. I did not chose to live near the airport, I chose to live away from the airport. I intentionally chose a neighborhood off of the flight patterns. The FAA with the MACs approval are changing those paths.

    I live 5 miles from the airport. What if you lived 5 miles from a landfill, and one day the city changed their normal routes and started driving their smelly dump trucks, one every 30 seconds for the whole day, down your street? When you complained, could I just say that you chose to live “near” a landfill?

    Routing air traffic over my previously clear neighborhood, far from the normal established flight paths, is tantamount to dumping garbage into my front yard.