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The peace and sanctity of home
by Patrick Jirschele


August 03, 2004

My letter of July 25 has generated a lot of interest. I received a disturbing call from a mother who has a child with ADD. As a baby her child couldn't nap because of airplane noise. She now suspects the noise in her home above the floatplane docks has caused her child's problems. If anyone has any information about airplane noise and ADD, maybe you can post it here on Sitnews.

I would like to correct Mr. Kiffer on one of his statements. The Borough does not take noise into consideration when it assesses property values. This is what the assessor wrote when I challenged my taxes on March 24, 2003. "Any adverse effects to value related to noise from air taxi and industrial operations is already reflected in the current market and current assessments reflect this market." In other words, people will pay what property is worth and that is what the assessment is based on. Because the Borough never adopted noise overlays (like most communities) the assessors cannot possibly take noise into account.

On March 24, 2003 I successively argued that because our property is in a documented high noise area and because there was no way for us to know it (except by knowing of the existence of a fifteen year old noise study), we paid too much for our property and therefore our assessment was too high. The Board of Equalization agreed and awarded us a 37% reduction in property value. As far as I can tell, our assessment is the only one in the Borough that reflects the cost of excessive noise to a homeowner. In all fairness this reduction should be granted to all residential property from Wolf Point to the Coast Guard Base.

The "gentlemen's agreement" is called "Recommended Standard VFR Arrival and Departure Procedures and Patterns". The noise study is called "Airport Master Plan and F.A.R. Part 150 Noise Study" with a separate Appendix D. These documents are located in the library in the rear of the planning office. Dave, they are dry reading, but very enlightening. I will try to get my Sitnews letter of 2/6/04 reposted, very dry but informative.

If I were to knock the muffler off of a lawn mower and run it in Bear Valley at six in the morning, I would be arrested for disturbing the peace. A pilot has a special privilege, not to run a mower, but to fly an unmuffled Pratt & Whitney 450hp radial piston engine over or near people's homes. With this privilege comes an unwritten social obligation to cause as little disturbance as possible. Mike Ellis's father knew that. I really like the rubber stamp story.

A flightseeing ad in the Local Paper says, "narrated tours", "spectacular scenery", "rustic Herring Cove", "Saxman native village totem poles". Do you think they are looking at totem poles from 500 feet? We are all part of the circus. Any time, anywhere, any way, at any cost to those who live here, anything goes. That is the consequence of untaxed, unregulated, out of control, industrial tourism. I'm surprised no one is running a tour of the grave sites here on Pennock.

Some of the letters spoke of a lack of common courtesy. When you deprive someone of the privacy, the peace and the sanctity of their own home, it is not a lack of courtesy, it is a loss of common decency.

Patrick Jirschele
Pennock Island, AK - USA


Related Viewpoints:

RE: Peace in Our Homes by Dave Kiffer - Ketchikan, AK - USA

Tax assessment... by Patrick Jirschele - Feb. 06, 2004



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