Mayor Bill Mutz said today he is optimistic that federal officials will approve the first phase of Lakeland’s air traffic noise mitigation plan this fall and implementation can begin by December.

His comments came at a City Commission agenda review session this morning after Commissioner Stephanie Madden said she has been getting many emails complaining about noise from cargo jets approaching and leaving Lakeland Linder International Airport.

Mutz acknowledged that he understands that noise is a real concern; jets approaching Linder from the east fly over his home in the Lakeland Highlands, he said. But he urged commissioners to “just stay the course and let the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) do its work.”

That work includes ongoing discussions between the FAA, Airport Director Gene Conrad and the companies that fly jets into and out of Amazon’s Lakeland air cargo facility about changes in flight paths and altitudes.

The first phase of the noise mitigation plan involves diverting incoming flights that now cross over the Highlands; instead, those flights would come in over the Polk Parkway where fewer residents will be affected, Conrad said.

The next phase involves departing flights that currently turn north and fly over the Grasslands community. The proposal is to route those flights to the east over the Polk Parkway and get quickly up to 3,000 feet, where they could level off and reduce power, Conrad said. The flights are currently restricted to 2,000 feet over much of Lakeland. That phase is likely to take a few months longer to approve because of pending work on a Metroplex plan, Conrad said.

“We are working on something very proactively that we feel very positively will be successful,” Mutz told the commission. “The implementation is probably Decemberish; in other words the decision will be made, October-Novemberish by the FAA.”

Conrad acknowledged that he received a large number of emails about noise issues last week and into the start of this week and he understands city commissioners received them, too. Monday was the deadline for citizens to submit their comments to him about Amazon’s plans to more double the size of its air cargo facility at Lakeland Linder airport, he said, and he has only received two or three since they tapered off after Monday’s deadline.

Nearly 200 people came to an information session and public hearing last Thursday on Amazon’s plans to expand. (View a video here.) The hearing was held so that the FAA could get public input on the environmental impacts of Amazon’s expansion.

Conrad said he expects to get an FAA response on the environmental assessment in July.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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  1. These people knew that airport has been there long time if they don’t like it then they need to move to the woods or to a jungle somewhere that airport supplies a lot of jobs LEAVE THE DAM AIRPORT
    ALONE,, !,, ,,,

  2. Wasn’t aware that a dam was part of this project. Just sayin’…
    I live about a block from the Polk Parkway in a densely populated area, so that really does not make sense to me. Just sayin’…

  3. Amazing that the Amazon flights also affect flights from & to nearby airports, particularly at Bartow and Plant City. Planes in the air have priority over ones on the ground requesting Air Traffic Control clearance to depart those other airports, being directed to wait until the air is clear of ‘conflicting’ air traffic.
    More jobs are good, faster delivery of ‘stuff’ is good, patience is also good, to a degree. Maybe the new ‘noise mitigation plan’ will also provide relief for those at other airports, too…

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