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Bensenville Residents Sue City, Claim O'Hare Noise Makes Homes Unlivable

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A group of Bensenville residents has sued the city of Chicago, seeking to force the city to buy their homes, because of a spike in jet noise from nearby O'Hare International Airport.

Some 50 homeowners who live on Hillside Drive said they have been living with the drone of jets flying overhead day and night ever since a new runway opened two years ago, leading to a major shift in flight patterns.

"They now have a volume of eight or nine hundred planes literally coming over the treetops of their houses," said the homeowners' attorney, Mike Leonard.

Leonard said the noise makes their lives a nightmare.

"The constant barrage of jumbo jet airliners, cargo carriers, commercial aircraft; they're literally coming down the middle of Hillside Drive, 50 to 100 feet over their trees," he said.


Runway 10C/28C opened in October 2013, and new flight patterns at O'Hare sent hundreds of flights over homes that had few planes flying overhead before, and do not lie within the existing O'Hare noise contour map, which hasn't been revised since the first new runway at O'Hare opened in 2008. Homeowners within the contour map qualify for taxpayer funded soundproofing.

Leonard said the lawsuit argues the near constant jet noise has made his clients' homes worthless.

"You're saying the city essentially condemned your property without giving you compensation," he said. "The city of Chicago has essentially wreaked havoc on their lives, and diminished the property value, and just made the area unlivable."

The homeowners' lawsuit seeks to force the city to buy their homes at fair market value from before the new runway went in, a cost estimated at $10 million to $15 million. Leonard said that amounts to peanuts compared to the $10 billion O'Hare expansion project.

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