ST. CHARLES – St. Charles is poised to join an intergovernmental agency dedicated to reducing aircraft noise in the communities around O'Hare International Airport.
At their Aug. 26 meeting, aldermen on the St. Charles City Council's Government Services Committee unanimously recommended joining the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission. The full City Council will vote on Sept. 3 on whether the city should join the commission.
Currently, 43 communities and 22 school districts are members of the commission. The nearby communities of Bartlett and Wayne have recently joined the agency.
"ONCC believes in replacing confrontation with cooperation by bringing together the city of Chicago and suburban communities, the airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration, air traffic controllers and airline pilots to reduce the impact of aircraft noise in communities surrounding O’Hare," states its website. "This approach has produced significant results – decreased aircraft noise and increased spending on sound insulation programs."
City staff has recommended the city join the commission. St. Charles Public Works Director Pete Suhr told aldermen the city continues to receive complaints from residents about aircraft noise related to the operations at O'Hare Airport.
"By joining this commission, it will give us the opportunity to tell those residents that we are doing everything we can and we will have a voice at the table," Suhr said.
Suhr noted that St. Charles resident Richard Lewis has offered to attend the commission's meetings, which would result in reduced staff commitment. There are no membership costs or fees, Suhr said.
Lewis is a former Geneva mayor and alderman and brother-in-law of St. Charles 5th Ward Alderman Maureen Lewis.
"We are not the most affected community by any means, however, we are an affected community," Richard Lewis said, in addressing the aldermen.
St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina said he thought Richard Lewis was well suited for the position and that it would be in the city's best interest to be part of the commission.
"I think it's a good time to jump on board," Rogina said.
This year, O'Hare International Airport topped Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia as the busiest airport in the United States in terms of total flights. O'Hare processed more than 903,000 arrivals and departures in 2018.