Sunday, November 7, 2010

Airplanes landing at Waypoint will only fly over county land

Uh-huh, sure thing. And all the planes will be extra quiet. We’ve put together this chart to show the relative decibel levels of various loud sports machines. CFS family members own, and plan to attract others who own toys such as airplanes, 4-wheelers, snowmobiles, and Miami-style powerboats, to the Bayfield peninsula for our listening pleasure.

You will note that permanent hearing loss occurs from noises louder than 85 decibels. Many of those using these loud toys will be wearing ear protection, but you won’t. Also note, powerboats, ATVs, and jackhammers will not fly over your house, but hundreds of airplanes will.

Decibels Typical everyday example
10 dB Rustling or falling leaves
50 dB Louder conversation
60 dB Quiet traffic noise
70 dB Louder traffic
70 – 90 dB ATVs. Noise varies by year of manufacture and exhaust system
85 dB 8 hours of exposure to any noise above 85 dB can cause hearing loss
86 dB Legal limit for snowmobile decibel levels
86 dB Legal limit for powerboat decibel levels
88 dB Propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft
100 dB Hearing loss after approximately 15 minutes
100 dB Jackhammer (pneumatic drill) at close range
101 dB Typical business class Lear jet on approach
103 dB Typical business class Lear jet at flyover at 1000 ft
120 dB Threshold of pain. Hearing damage after very brief exposure


Bayfield County has a noise ordinance for ATVs and snowmobiles, but not for airplanes. The DNR has a noise ordinance for boats, but not for airplanes. There is currently no legal minimum level for overflights. Planes can be as loud as they want, they can be as low as they want, and they can legally disrupt your Apostle Islands’ vacation experience. There are no laws to protect you.

The time to speak up against the noise is now, before the “Last Best Place in Wisconsin” is sold to the highest bidder.

Decibel level stats from Center for Hearing and Communication, DNR, Bayfield County noise ordinance, FAA Advisory Circular- Aircraft Noise Levels, Boston Logan Airport Noise Study

Shame on the Bayfield County Zoning Committee

Letter to the editor, Ashland Daily Press
Published: Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Is it any wonder that people feel so alienated from and disgusted by their government officials? The public hearing before the Bayfield County Planning and Zoning Committee on Thursday regarding the CFS LLC fly-in airport resort in the backwoods of the Town of Russell was a case in point. It was an astonishing display of arrogance and contempt by elected officials for the people they purport to represent.

The meeting opened with a brief presentation by the out-of-state applicant of a completely new project – now called Waypoint rather than Shadow Wood Landing — from the one previously approved (and still in litigation). It was supported only by the applicant’s big-city lawyer and two speakers from outside the Town of Russell. These latter two made no reference to the project itself, but simply extolled the tiresome and cliche virtues of so-called “economic development” and dismissed the roomful of some 60 project opponents as dishonest “boo-birds” (whatever that means).

They were followed by 27 – 27! — speakers opposed to the project who struggled to squeeze into their three-minute slots articulate and impassioned pleas to consider the negative impacts of this project upon their lives, their businesses, the Pike’s Creek watershed and the special appeal of life on the Bayfield Peninsula . The speakers – overwhelmingly residents of the Towns of Russell and Bayfield – were business people, farmers, wage-earners, contractors, retirees and others. Their carefully researched and fact-based presentations – each sharply cut-off at the three-minute mark – showed clearly that the project does not conform to the town comprehensive plan and fails to meet minimal health, safety and quality of life requirements. Even the local county board supervisors Bill Bussey (Bayfield) and Beth Meyers (Russell) spoke adamantly against the project.

And what was the response of the committee – Brett Rondeau (Cable), Patti Rantala (Iron River), Kenneth Jardine (Port Wing), and Shawn Miller (Mason) – all from areas far removed from the project site? They sat stony faced and indifferent. Their attitudes reeked of impatience for the process as well as contempt for those who appeared to testify. Their attention was riveted upon the three-minute stopwatch. They asked not one question! They made not one comment! Aside from a weary, pro forma “thank you” from time to time there was not even the expression of graciousness that one might expect to hear for such a display of citizen participation in government. Nothing! Time’s up! Good riddance!

It was an ugly and disgraceful display of arrogant government officials acting as if the people work for them rather than the other way around. They ignored and dismissed the concerns of profoundly involved citizens. They steamrolled the views of the supervisors who actually represent the affected districts. They looked like country bumpkins dazzled by the showiness of big-city development waifs and big-city lawyers. They rolled over to the wishes of a tiny cadre of town movers and shakers with personal financial stakes in the project. That’s what Bayfield County government has come to. Shame!

Theron O’Connor
Town of Bayfield