Home Technology Hitting the Books: That time San Francisco’s suburbs sued the airport for being too loud

Hitting the Books: That time San Francisco’s suburbs sued the airport for being too loud

Hitting the Books: That Time San Francisco’s Suburbs Sued the Airport for Being Too Loud

Here at RVA we like to find the hilarity in all sorts of stories. But, this one really takes the cake. Imagine living in the suburbs of San Francisco and the airport is trying to open a new runway–which would result in more noise. No one likes loud noises, especially when it interrupts your peace and quiet.

Well, for the residents of Millbrae and Burlingame, a small city and community in the suburbs of San Francisco, they were willing to take a stand. In 1981, they decided it was time to take legal action and they sued the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for being too loud!

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What the Lawsuit Was About

Residents felt SFO was overstepping its boundaries by trying to build a fourth runway. Air traffic would double and the noise would increase drastically. The officials of San Fransisco’s airport argued that the new runway would increase safety and efficiency. Locals, however, were not taking this for an answer and filed the lawsuit.

The Arguments

In the lawsuit, locals claimed that the airport had violated the law by not being allowed to open the runway until they had obtained certain permits and upheld certain regulations. They further argued that the airport had neglected to provide legal protection to residents in the form of noise-reduction measures, such as soundproof walls.

The case ended up being successful and with a little bit of help from the residents, SFO was forced to mitigate the noise caused by air traffic. Though they still have not agreed to build a fourth runway.

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Lessons To Be Learned

This case is an example of how people can unite for a common cause. In the end, we can all learn from the example of Millbrae and Burlingame.

  • Act Together: It is often easier to take action when a group of people come together with a common goal in mind.
  • Be Resourceful: Residents were able to use the law to their advantage and find a resolution.
  • Don’t Give Up: It took several years for the case to reach its conclusion. Sometimes, you have to dig in and stay the course.

In the end, the residents of Millbrae and Burlingame had the courage to stand up to a seemingly large entity and in doing so, proved to the world that anything is possible. Now, do you still think living in the suburbs is boring?

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