(WSVN) - Homeowners near a South Florida airport live with the constant rumble of jets overhead. Now, neighbors are making noise of their own. 7’s Brian Entin has our special assignment report Payday Delay.
It has been two and a half years since the first plane touched down on the new runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
More flights are a good thing for a growing airport, but not for these Dania Beach neighbors.
Gordon Wooley, homeowner: “Yeah, here comes a plane right now.”
In the few minutes I talked with Gordon Wooley, three planes passed right over his townhouse at the Yacht Club at Treasure Cove.
Brian Entin: “And this is your life? Planes constantly?”
Gordon Wooley: “At high traffic times like early morning hours and early evening hours, it is every two minutes.”
Because of all the noise, Broward County agreed to pay homeowners about 22 percent of their home’s value. The planes have long since arrived. Their checks have not.
Gordon Wooley: “No one has gotten their money. In fact, no one anywhere has gotten their money.”
It has been almost nine months since neighbors signed agreements with the county.
Vicki Santini, homeowner: “Yes, I know the government is slow, but I didn’t think it would be like this.”
Most say they’re owed between $60,000 and $70,000.
Vicki Santini: “I just want the money and get on with my life.”
The county opened this noise mitigation program outreach center. It’s where neighbors say they were told to come for help. But they say they’ve gotten nowhere.
Steven Wiesner, Broward County Aviation Department: “It is a very complicated process.”
It’s called a “closing,” and just like when you buy a house — there’s a lot of paperwork involved.
Broward’s assistant director of aviation says out of 535 homeowners in the program, only 29 have gotten their checks.
Brian Entin: “It doesn’t sound like a lot.”
Steven Wiesner: “I agree. It doesn’t sound like a lot. But you do need to recognize it takes months to get the lenders to agree to the documentation.”
The homeowners’ banks have to sign off on the transactions – which can take months. Homeowner’s Associations also slow down the process, and – there’s an outside consulting firm in the middle of it all – hired by the county to coordinate.
In this email obtained by 7News — a consultant shifts blame to the county. The email said in part, “At this point we are limited, by the county, to six closings a week, so it will likely be a couple of more months before we can close with you.”
Steven Wiesner: “There is no policy to close a maximum of six per week. If that statement was made, it was made incorrectly and I want to apologize to those homeowners where that was made.”
The county says they’re finally ready to start approving checks.
Brian Entin: “So if you’ve approved it, that means they should be getting their money soon?”
Steven Wiesner: “Soon.”
But “soon” is a word these neighbors say they have heard before…
Vicki Santini: “It’s not fair that they got their airport. That the runway is up and running. We’re all just sitting here waiting.”
Waiting with this constant reminder overhead. In Dania Beach, Brian Entin, 7News.
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