Covenant Not to Sue over Aircraft Noise May
Not Bar Federal Money for Soundproofing

FEBRUARY 2, 2001

A restriction recorded on a 1962 plat won't keep a neighborhood south of Tampa International Airport from qualifying for soundproofing money from the Federal Aviation Administration.

For a while, it was uncertain whether the 35 houses would be eligible to apply for federal money. Officials with the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority proposed the soundproofing project in a noise abatement plan known as the Part 150 Study. That study outlines a number of steps the authority proposes to reduce TIA's impact on the neighborhood.

After submitting its Part 150 application on Aug. 1, the aviation authority learned about a 1962 plat restriction that clearly states: "No property owner in Mariner Estates Subdivision shall have any right to damages on account of noise, vibrations, aircraft lights or any other nuisance resulting from propeller or jet driven aircraft flying over said subdivision, and this shall be a covenant running with the land."

Louis E. Miller, executive director for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, informed the FAA about the plat restriction and asked for a legal ruling.

In its ruling released Friday, the FAA determined it wasn't clear if the plat restriction was a "conclusive bar to legal recovery under Florida law." It also noted that "soundproofing would also provide additional protection to the airport."

Preliminary estimates put the costs at $4 million to cover insulation, new windows, some air conditioning, and legal contracts to prohibit future claims by the homeowners against noise.

Source: Tampa Tribune