Nighttime noise levels from planes, Coconut Point Mall to be stopped

Estero residents bothered by nighttime noise levels at Coconut Point Mall or by airplanes flying overhead can now take action.

Simon Properties has drafted a new plan to handle noise complaints from the mall’s neighbors. While no one wants to shut down outdoor entertainment, neighboring communities have voiced complaints about the nighttime noise level coming from the Pagelli’s/Hemingway’s area and The Grape.

“Sometimes you hear the noise, and sometimes you don’t,” said Beverly MacNellis, a March Landing resident and vice chair of the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL). “It depends on the humidity, the wind and if you have any wax in your ears.”

A new plan being brought before the Estero Community Planning Panel (ECPP) calls for noise to be limited to a conversational level at the Coconut Point boundary line. Any additional businesses wanting to provide outdoor entertainment will be required to submit details to mall management and the county.

Information on contacting mall security with noise complaints has been distributed to residents of The Brooks and Marsh Landing. If mall security receives a complaint, the incident will be promptly investigated and rectified, said mall manager Jamie Grofik.

ECCL Vice Chair Nick Batos said he doesn’t think the new plan goes far enough. What happens if several other restaurants decide to start having outdoor entertainment, he asked. Batos advocated holding a community meeting each time a new application is made.

However, ECPP Chairman Jack Lienesch said he feels confident Simon’s new plan will do the job. “We don’t want to get into the code enforcement business,” he said.

Although the issue has been hotly debated at public meetings, Simon management has logged just three noise complaints in the last three years, Grofik said. Any neighboring residents with noise complaints may contact Coconut Point Security at 239-440-2113 to report the incident.

The ECCL’s Airplane Noise Committee also has been working to keep things tranquil in Estero. A new airplane tracking system is scheduled to go online within the next few months, Batos reported at Friday’s ECCL meeting.

The committee has been working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the last two years to alter flight patterns and reduce local noise. In addition, a 2011 Noise Study is being conducted by the Regional Southwest (RSW) International Airport. The study will review noise complaints received in the last five years and specifically address Estero concerns.

When the new tracking system goes online, the FAA has promised to make community presentations to show residents how to use the internet-based system to determine the flight number and altitude of any offending airplane.

In the meantime, residents are advised to record any noise complaints on the RSW noise complaint line at 239-590-4466.

© 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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