Council backs possible airport-noise suit

The Minneapolis City Council is lending support to Mayor R.T. Rybak's vow to go to court to enforce 1996 noise-mitigation agreements made with residents near the airport.

On July 16, the Council unanimously passed a resolution that "appropriate steps be taken to support and enforce the noise mitigation plan."

Rybak aide Laura Sether said that the resolution "means a lawsuit."

Rybak has said it isn't yet clear whether the city itself will sue the Federal Aviation Administration or whether Minneapolis will help facilitate a class-action suit brought by affected residents, including hundreds in Southwest.

Airport noise activists argue that the 1996 airport expansion agreement compels the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) to insulate homes near the airport out to the 60 DNL (day-night-level of noise) line.

The MAC recently voted to offer discounted central air conditioning to homeowners between the 65 and 60 DNL lines, rather than the sound-insulation packages given to those in the 65 and above area, an offer Rybak deems unacceptable.

Said Sether, "We're definitely proceeding with all of our legal options."

She said that because the MAC still has to go through a public hearing process before taking a final vote on the noise-mitigation plan, it's likely that the earliest the city could file suit would be October.