Destin Executive Airport to build noise wall

Annie Blanks
The Destin Log
Okaloosa County plans to build a noise wall at the Destin Executive Airport near the Destin Jet North to reduce noise for nearby residents.

Destin residents who live close to the Destin Executive Airport will soon enjoy a little more peace and quiet.

The airport is set to mobilize a contract on a 280-foot-long, 18-foot-high noise wall within the next two months, according to director Tracy Stage.

“It will be on the northwest end of the airport by Destin Jet North, where all the homes that share the property line are,” Stage said. “That’s where the noise complaints are concentrated.”

For the past two years, the airport has been participating in a program called PlaneNoise, which allowed it to gather data on where the noisiest parts of the airport are located so it can work on compatibility issues with surrounding neighborhoods.

The program wrapped up recently, and an advisory committee recommended the noise wall as a way to facilitate noise abatement.

“We believe that the noise wall will alleviate a lot of the noise issues at the northwest end of the airport,” Stage said.

The approximately $350,000 project will be funded partially by FDOT grants and partially by airport funds.

Residents who live near the airport say they are hopeful the wall will have a positive impact on the community.

“Less noise equals a more peaceful environment,” said Emily Seeling, who lives in the Quail Run neighborhood across the street from the airport.

Destin City Councilman Jim Foreman, who lives in the Kell-Aire subdivision near the airport, agreed.

“It’s sort of expected that when houses or apartments are sold, they must know there’s an airport there. That’s not a surprise. But I think in time, they probably realize that it’s causing a good amount of noise,” he said. “So I think (the noise wall) is a good idea.”

Still, Tracy cautions that living next to an airport always carries the risk of hearing airplanes come in an out, but he hopes the noise wall will ease some of the concerns voiced by the community during the PlaneNoise study.

“Bear in mind that this is an airport that has been in place since the ’50s,” Tracy said. “So if you move into a residence that’s close by any airport, you would expect to hear aircraft noise.”