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GUEST COMMENTARY: Time to abate the La Jolla helicopter nuisance

James Murray
James Murray

Recent letters from residents calling for an investigation into the significant increase in the frequency of helicopter flights over and around La Jolla in the last couple of years is an important issue. La Jolla residents need assistance from their San Diego city, county, state and federal representatives to get action on the problem.

I discussed the matter two years ago at a La Jolla community meeting with the administrative assistants of City Councilmember Sherri Lightner and County Supervisor Dave Roberts. Since helicopter flight patterns are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, city and state representatives need support from our Congressional representative, Scott Peters, and the two U.S. Senators from California, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. Senator Feinstein has been a mainstay in assisting Los Angeles residents address helicopter problems.

I’ve been a La Jolla resident for the better part of 40 years in the north La Jolla Village Square neighborhood, west of the I-5. Five years ago, the helicopter traffic multiplied dramatically. Now, several times a day, helicopter noise is no different from a war zone or airport. Helicopter routes are vectored dangerously over five densely populated condominium complexes and over the La Jolla Scenic Drive South residential district, including Torrey Pines Elementary School and the YMCA. The helicopter issue is one that should be key in the 2016 election campaigns of La Jolla representatives!

The following L.A. Times article reports on recent steps taken to combat helicopter noise in that city:

Los Angeles County residents can now officially complain about excessive helicopter noise. The so-called Automated Complaint System, which began operations on Tuesday, allows residents to track local helicopter flights and identify aircraft producing excessive noise as well as their operators. Complaints can be lodged online at heli-noise-la.com or by calling (424) 348-4354.

We need citizens to call for the same system here in San Diego/La Jolla.