Northeast Philadelphia Airport causing noise issues, residents say

Residents who live near Northeast Philadelphia Airport had the opportunity to share their concerns about noise during the West Torresdale/Morrell Park Civic Association meeting.

Officials from Northeast Philadelphia Airport, including air traffic controller Brian Rendina (far right), speak to residents Thursday at the West Torresdale/Morrell Park Civic Association meeting. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Officials told concerned residents at Thursday’s West Torresdale/Morrell Park Civic Association meeting that a different air traffic flow and increased activity at Northeast Philadelphia Airport may be to blame for recent noise issues.

A woman who attended the meeting said she can’t even speak on the phone inside of her house because of the noise, and a man claimed he gets woken up once a week by helicopters hovering over the area.

Brian Rendina, the air traffic controller at the airport, said planes are having to use a different runway because the facility’s main runway, 624, is closed for repairs.

The secondary runway, 1533, takes aircraft closer to a residential area that includes Morrell Avenue, Glenn Street and President Street.

Airport officials said the main runway was closed in April and will remain so until November. It will be shut down for the same period next year and in 2021 because it is being completely redone, they said.

The noise coming from helicopters and tiltrotors, similar to Ospreys, was among the neighbors’ biggest concerns.

Rendina said the airport has seen an uptick in activity this year. Leonardo Helicopters, which operates a plant next to the airport, has been expanding, and, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report, is planning to spend $65 million on building a new training facility. 

Rendina urged people at the meeting to call a special noise complaint hotline at 215-937-6879 to report issues.

In other news from Thursday’s meeting, residents voted overwhelmingly to oppose four variances related to a plan to build a three-story self-storage facility on the site of a former farmer’s market at 9559 Academy Road. 

In September 2018, the civic approved a plan to put the facility there, but the developer, NorthPoint Development, came back Thursday with revised plans.

The biggest change was moving the driveway inside the facility, so customers would actually drive right into the building to load and unload belongings. Other revisions included a larger footprint and increased signage.

Some at the meeting said they didn’t like that the new plan eliminates almost all green space. Another concern included the size of the proposed signage. 

A Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing had not yet been scheduled, according to the city’s website.

The next West Torresdale/Morrell Park Civic Association meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the 8th Police District, Academy and Red Lion roads. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com.