Homeowners Assistance Programs
BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
HOMEOWNER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
MARYLAND AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
The Office of Noise, Real Estate and Land Use Compatibility is currently NOT taking any new application for the Home Owner Assistance Programs.
In 1988, the MAA completed a Federal Aviation Regulation Part 150 Study which identified homeowners residing in communities that were exposed to cumulative noise levels of 70-75 Ldn. Properties which were determined to be impacted, became eligible for federal noise mitigation funds to provide sound insulation through modifications to their homes, with a goal of reducing interior noise levels to an average of 45 Ldn. In 2007-2008 the MAA updated its Part 150 Study which expanded eligibility to homeowners exposed to cumulative noise levels of 65 Ldn, although the overall noise contours have been reduced considerably due the phase out of older noisier aircraft.
Typical Soundproofing Improvements
The type and extent of the improvements are dependent upon the noise reduction capabilities of the existing structure. An architect or engineer will design a package of modifications for each selected house. Sound energy, like water and air, follows the path of least resistance. Accordingly, standard windows and doors, outside air vents and other cracks and crevices that admit air are the most common routes thru which noise enters a house. Under this program the most common improvements include: the replacement of windows and exterior doors with specially manufactured noise reduction windows and doors; additional caulking and weather stripping, tight-fitting closures or baffles on exterior vents and increased attic insulation. In some cases, additional layers of wallboard are added to interior walls to increase the weight, and thereby the sound-stopping ability, of the walls.
In addition to the soundproofing modifications, ventilation must be provided to ensure acceptable air circulation while allowing windows to remain closed. Central air conditioning may be installed in those houses that do not have it. Houses that have central air conditioning will receive ventilation modifications to provide fresh air circulation when neither heating nor cooling are necessary.
At this time, only residents of certain communities are eligible to apply for the program. Individual properties must fall within the 65 Ldn Noise Exposure Contour of the recently approved FAR Part 150 Study. Additional criteria for eligibility are:
- Property owners must be willing to grant the State an Avigation Easement in exchange for participation in the program. This easement, a written agreement, will become a permanent part of the property title. The easement allows normal aircraft operation, and its accompanying noise and effects, in the airspace above the property.
- The property must be owner occupied and not have received a variance from the Board of Airport Zoning Appeals which was subject to the granting of an avigation easement to the State.
The MAA's design consultant will survey each residence to determine the general size and condition of the structure and its acoustical characteristics. Using this information and a design guide developed by an acoustical engineering consultant for this program, a specific list of noise reduction modifications necessary to meet the interior noise goal will be developed.
Contract with MAA
When the specific modifications for a property have been approved by the homeowner, the homeowner will enter into a contract with the MAA. This contract will contain the MAA's commitment to 1) pay for the construction of the agreed upon set of noise reduction improvements and 2) monitor the construction and assure its quality. In exchange the homeowner will agree to deliver to the MAA an executed Deed of Easement to be recorded upon the MAA's acceptance of the finished construction.
Construction Contractor Selection
Each homeowner will be provided with three bid packages and asked to obtain bids from three contractors. These bids will be reviewed by the MAA and the lowest responsible bidder's price will be the amount that the MAA will pay for the construction. The homeowner may select a different contractor to actually perform the work, but they will then be responsible for any difference in price.
The construction of the improvements usually takes five to six weeks, depending on the amount of modifications necessary. Homeowners should be aware that the construction will entail a certain amount of inconvenience and disruption.
A member of the MAA's soundproofing team will monitor the construction while it is in process and inspect it upon completion. Inspections by the county building inspector and the manufacturer of the acoustic windows will also be required.
Payment of Contractors
Upon completion of the agreed upon modifications to the satisfaction of the MAA's inspectors, a check will be issued payable to the contractor.
Upon satisfactory completion of the soundproofing, in accordance with the Soundproofing Contract, the Avigation Easement Deed will be recorded in the Land Records.
This easement is a written agreement required by Maryland law which will become a permanent part of the property title. The agreement grants the MAA permission to carry on normal lawful airport operations in the airspace above the property. The purpose of the agreement is to protect the State's interests in return for the financial assistance it provides. The agreement does not hold the State or other parties harmless from aircraft accidents or other actions which may result from gross negligence.