For a while, there was a lull in the complaints, but they started up again in 2011 when the new, focused flight paths were being put into place.
Joyce says he feels frustrated at not being able to make much of a difference on the issue as a state senator. But he has tried to make residents’ complaints heard, and has told as many as he can about the noise complaint hot line.
In the meantime, Joyce’s staff has been studying whether more flights can be diverted over the water as they land or take off, whether certain runways that direct flights over other towns could be used more, and whether the airplanes are flying too low over Milton.
“We’re trying to gather as much data as possible to present a clear picture and irrefutable evidence that this burden is way beyond what should be permitted by the FAA, and present several alternatives that would lessen the burden,” Joyce said.
While noise complaints from Milton increased after implementation of the runway 33L departure route, the vast majority of complaints are related to arrivals on runway 4R, according to Flavio Leo, deputy director of aviation planning and strategy for MassPort.
“If you look at the runway layout, and if you extend the center line from runways 4L and 4R, Milton is basically under that path,” Leo said.
Leo added that the MassPort noise complaint line typically tends to see spikes when there are changes in runway use.
Winthrop saw a sharp spike of complaints to MassPort in 2011, when runway 33L was closed for repairs, sending more flights over Winthrop. That year, there were more than 1,100 calls from Winthrop residents to the hot line, but the number dropped significantly when 33L reopened, Leo said.
Complaint calls will be taken into account in the Boston Logan Airport Noise Study, which is an effort by the FAA, MassPort, and a Citizens Advisory Committee to determine how to best even out noise throughout the metropolitan area, Leo said.
“Milton is at the table with other communities,” Leo said. “Noise doesn’t go away; it just gets shifted. We need to be cognizant of that to find what is the best way to move forward.”
Leo said he hopes the study will be ready to present to the FAA within 18 months.
In Milton, noise is the most commonly discussed issue, but some residents have other concerns as well.
Safety is the chief concern of the Rev. Frank J. Parker, who is staying in the rectory at St. Mary of the Hills Church.
“There are 20,000 students on a school day in the town of Milton,” Parker said. “Putting all those planes over that town is a real safety hazard. There have been crashes in the past.”
No Milton resident interviewed for this story was considering leaving town or moving because of the noise — many had lived in their homes for decades already — but several acknowledged that if they did try to leave, they might find that their property values had been harmed by the planes.
Parker, a real estate professor at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, said property values most definitely are affected by noise.
The noise has even given Milton an unwanted reputation far beyond its borders.
During recent filming of the movie “The Judge,” starring Robert Downey Jr., filmmakers told Johenning that the town is beautiful and that they would love to do more shooting there.
But all the airplane noise, they said, would probably keep that from happening.
Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at email@example.com.