Church Sues Chicago for Soundproofing Money
to Reduce Aircraft Noise in Schools

SEPTEMBER 26, 1997

The Chicago Sun-Times (News; page 14) reports that the Immaculate Conception parish in Elmhurst (Illinois) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago Thursday, seeking $7.6 million for soundproofing to reduce aircraft noise from O'Hare International Airport. The lawsuit alleges that the jet noise disrupts classes at the parish high school and elementary school and that city officials reneged on a promise to fully soundproof the schools.

According to the article, Reverend Gerald Riva, pastor of Immaculate Conception, said in a previous case, the City of Chicago was forced to pay for comprehensive soundproofing of St. Charles Borromeo school in Bensenville.

Chicago officials offered 38 cents on the dollar for a much reduced soundproofing system, saying that some areas would not be used for educational purposes and that the city didn't have to pay for fire protection upgrades, Riva said. But he added that more money was needed to muffle noise from a new heating and air-conditioning system that is part of the planned soundproofing, and because of heavy wiring for the system.

Meanwhile, Mary Rose Loney, the Chicago Aviation Commissioner, said the city can fund $4 million in soundproofing, but the rest of the items are not eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Aviation Administration. However, Riva maintains that Chicago's soundproofing obligation exists independently of federal subsidies, the article concludes.