Warning! I am a satirist! If you do not have a sense of humor or are easily-offended, these blogs may not be for you. May I interest you in an innocuous episode of Peppa Pig instead?
Not Why We Moved Here
I received the text from my cousin on October 27th, and did not really realize what I was reading at first.
My cousin and his wife just moved back up to Washington in February of this year. I helped them. In fact, I suggested their new home to them, and sent them pictures and walk-through videos. I met with their realtor up for them since they were on the other side of the country. As it turns out, their new home is now a half-mile from what might become a mega airport with huge urban sprawl.
For us, we thought we moved to a place with peace and quiet. People generally move to a rural area because they are seeking peace and quiet. Now, I realize that my readers will be aware that we have a 6- and a 3-year-old and therefore are daily deprived of anything remotely resembling peace or quiet. But you could say that we moved here to balance things out.
We may have been wrong. Now, don't get me wrong: I do enjoy a good fly-by from Ghost Rider like the next voice actor, as long as my studio is 800' underground buried under molten rock and carbonite, and we are talking about a paper airplane. I do not want any planes in my sky...ever. When I first started out in voiceovers, we lived far up north near Paine Field in Everett. Occasionally, while recording, I would have to pause everything, and wait until the skies cleared before I could reconvene recording. An incredible nuisance, and how dare they. Do they not know who I am?
Welp, here we perhaps go again...
In May of 2019, SSB 5370 was passed in Washington, creating a state Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC, pronounced like "cack" as in ipecac which is used to induce vomit, which brings us right back to CACC). What was the bill for, you might ask?
A committee to decide where a new mega-airport goes. And one of those locations is roughly 7-10 miles south by southwest of us. Close to my cousin's house. And not just any airport. A mega-airport. And not just any mega-airport. One that would see a runway pointing north by northeast. Right at us. With a flight path of roughly 3000 feet: Right. Over. Our. Home.
It is every voice actor’s nightmare.
There are 300,000 residents in Thurston County. Public outcry is growing, and a movement is awakening. But will it be enough? There are three potential sites for a new major airport in Washington state, as SeaTac is outgrowing itself, and commercial aviation expects passenger flights to grow to 80-94 million passengers by 2040. A decision will be made in June of 2023 on where exactly said new airport will go. Unless they want every single plane flying over my home to be covered in spitwads, they will wisely choose somewhere else.
Thurston County, our county, is one of those choices for a 6-mile diameter new mega-airport.
We are holding our angry breath until then, and doing something about it with groups like Stop The Airport. Why?
No Good Can Come Of This
Because no good can come of this. That is why.
Aside from the sheer noise, what will happen if the airport gets built?
- People being forced out of their homes due to eminent domain.
- Homes bulldozed.
- 14,397 residents in the 6-mile target zone: 3164 houses, 141 businesses. Gone. Residents offered paltry sums for their properties and homes – and nothing for the loss of their livelihood.
- Important wetlands – critical to the ecosystem of carbon neutrality and heat absorption – drained and paved over. Estuaries and nature preserves gone. A “greenfield” in aviation terms, is an area where an airport has never been. I may not be a smart man, but I do understand "green" + "field" to mean "not" + "airport".
- Farms decades in the making: razed and destroyed.
- One realtor estimated property values plummeting as much as 80% (!!!) and while I think that is an exaggeration, property values will take a hit. And home loans could be underwater as a result: ours potentially included.
- Additional homes beyond the 6-mile zone would be affected due to commercial needs from expanded railways and commercial districts.
- Impact on the Nisqually Tribe living in the area and entitled to protection.
- Impact on local military Joint Base Lewis McChord and associated flight paths.
- Endangered species potentially extinct in this local ecosystem.
- 79 acres of important orca and salmon habitats displaced.
- 12 federally threatened or endangered species within the circle of the planned airport would be further endangered.
- Health risks extend 12 miles from around the airport, primarily from air pollution, which can lead to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.
I had asthma as a child. Asthma affects your breathing ability. I am predisposed to asthma. I was always under the impression that I would need to breathe to perform voiceovers. As you can see, this is no small issue.
In 2021, the Washington State Climate Control Act was signed. Everything I have just listed contradicts that Act. There are also conflicts with the Shoreline Management act, the Growth Management Act mandates, the Critical Area designations, the Endangered Species Act, etc. And the most damning of all: this proposal will eliminate protection of our major aquifer recharge zones and wellheads…permanently.
We would be living in a commercial construction zone for TWENTY YEARS.
78,000 additional residents beyond the actual 6-mile airport radius will be affected by noise and pollution.
Sounds great and perfectly healthy to me.
Know: No Flying Aloud Allowed!
No one wants this airport. I certainly do not. Short of losing my voice entirely, it's every voice talent's worst nightmare: noise.
On October 24th this year, the Port of Olympia voted 3-0 to oppose the airport. There are legislators and policymakers sympathetic to our cause and who have expressed opposition to the airport, but they must be routinely convinced in preparation for the June 2023 date.
In short, as stated by one user of the Facebook "Stop The Airport" group:
The CACC is violating its mandate. Legislative Oversight was decommissioned (ended) under Governor Inslee in 2014. "The WSDOT Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC) is operating without legislative oversight and has exceeded its legislated mandate to not consider siting a new international airport on or near a military installation that would be incompatible with the installation's ability to carry out its mission requirements. All three proposed greenfield sites are near, adjacent to, or overlap JBLM, violating the CACC's legislated mandate to avoid military installations (SSB 5689 and SSB 5165). The lack of legislative oversight has created a wasteful, industry led commission that is ignoring the will of the legislature. Government Accountability and Oversight must be reestablished to ensure compliance with legislative intent, evaluate agency performance, and prevent executive encroachment on legislative prerogatives and powers."
If you are in Thurston County, write to Governor Jay Inslee. Write to your legislators.
If you are a voice talent - anywhere! - and you hear talk of a mega airport under consideration around where you live, as in the words of Geena Davis in The Fly:
Do something about it. Become an activist.
For us, June 2023 will be an important date to determine whether or not we stay or move from our dream home and property...before its value plummets.
Subscribe to my blog for updates on every voice actor's worst noisemare!
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34 thoughts on “Every Voice Actor’s Worst Nightmare”
Oh no!!!!! I don’t have much to offer other than good luck with this situation, I know you’ll find a way through.
Thanks my friend! Will keep you posted!
This sounds devastating. I record in a part of South Scotland where a plane going over is rare, so I can’t imagine how frustrating this must be especially as you’ve just moved there! But generally for the environment as well this sounds awful. Wishing you every power in your fight against this.
Thank you for your support, Ruth! Will keep you posted. It’s just downright NOT right here…there has got to be a better way, including light rail, that would be more economically and environmentally sound. Hoping those in charge see the light of the day before this airport “lands” anywhere. 🙁
Didn’t you JUST move there?? Wow Josh, I hope this nightmare turns into a pipe dream soon. Horrible. I’ve followed you and seen your custom studio progress and from what I can see, you can’t just pack all that up and move to the next happy convenient place, that’s a fixed studio, right? Again, I hope this all resolves and they don’t build it there.
Yes we sure did. And thank you for the kind wishes. Can’t say at this stage how likely it is, but government is government, and they’ll do what they want and pave right over anyone’s hopes and dreams. We’re too far away for them to pave right over for this airport, but we’re not too far away to them to fly right over. Crossing my fingers all prepositional phrases are ruled out in the context of an airport and our home!
Wow. Just wow. I am so sorry this is a possible future you are facing. Given all the things you listed, I can’t see how the project could possibly go through. I mean, endangered species? Native American tribal impacts? Military base impacts? Shoreline protection problems? The Port of Olympia voting against it? It doesn’t sound like it will happen, but you obviously have to be aware and proactive. I have an idea. If they need another mega-airport with access to Seattle… there is a lot of flat land in the Cle Elum area. The drive across the pass isn’t THAT bad…
It sure isn’t! And all those carbon emissions coming from eastern Washington commuters seeking to fly internationally out of western Washington? Uh…I’m no rocket scientist, but how about an airport for Eastern Washingtonians in….wait for it…..here it comes…..drum roll please………. EASTERN WASHINGTON?!?!?
I am telling you, I ought to run for President with genius ideas like these.
Yikes! Definitely a major nightmare scenario, Josh. So sorry to hear that this might happen to you and your beautiful new home. Good luck fighting it and I hope you win the battle quickly.
I hope we all do! Thanks my friend! Good thing I, being super, can fly without the help of an airplane. But still…
Ugh! I’m so sorry. Having lived under a major flight path in South Minneapolis for five years, I feel your pain. Not to mention the other woes such a project would cause. I spent my first few years of doing voiceover recording mostly between midnight and 3am when the planes mostly stopped. The rest of the day, I had to stop recording frequently in order to flip double birds at the sky and mutter a profane incantation to ward off the giant metal sky birds that flew overhead about every 20 seconds. It was awful. Wishing you all the help you need to fight this successfully. ❤️😢
Thanks Billie Jo! I really appreciate it. Nothing is conclusive yet…the only thing that is is that no one wants it. It doesn’t make the slightest sense to have one in this area, there are so many incredible drawbacks. I hope the committee will listen and make a recommendation for elsewhere other than the 3 proposed sites: somewhere that makes far more sense.
I live under a flight path in Seattle… That has been one of the biggest challenges in the pursuit of creating a good recording space for my work. Now, about 1 in 3 flights will interfere with recording after the treatments I’ve done. More than I care for still and a very frustrating issue. I’m so sorry you’ve got this mess to deal with!
Well – knock on wood – we won’t have to deal with it unless they decide that Thurston County is where it will be. If it does land here, we may take flight…
Can I also just commend you for adding that gif from The Fly to this post??? I just watched that movie again maybe 3 weeks ago! 🤣
I know. I see all. You look great in that new mink bathrobe, by the way!
This does sound like a nightmare! I wonder if in the near future due to noise pollution increasing everywhere if a business opportunity might be on the horizon. For VOs who can no longer depend on their at home studios, what if little “rent a booth” facilities might be the answer. Little neighborhood sound studios – not major commercial recording studios, just efficient sound proof one person private booths to rent hourly. I remember all the rehearsal rooms in college that provided a piano and a mirror. You used them on an as needed basis. Talent would be able to bring their own mic and laptop but all else provided. Maybe this is a nightmare of a different kind. But so sorry you have to fight a frigging airport!
Hi Lee! Thanks for the comment. Ultimately renting a studio has HUGE drawbacks…you’re entirely dependent on their availability in order to perform auditions which come in at all hours of the day, and some of which might be mortgage paying. If producers develop the dreaded “audition fatigue” before you even step foot into an available booth, you’ve lost that chance. And pickups, when they are required, would need to be delayed. You’d be running back and forth from your home to whatever studio you’re renting, to say nothing of the fact that all of that money spent in rentals just eats away at your bottom line. No, the solution for me is to build as sound-proofed a studio as possible, and the solution for them is to get out of my skies. 🙂
I am so sorry to hear about this Josh-it’s a nightmare! Sometime ago we lived near Oakland Airport and the planes were absolutely deafening. I can’t even imagine trying to record under those conditions. My heart and hopes are with you that this will resolve with a positive outcome and that the committee will listen and relocate the airport to an area that makes sense. All the best and take care!
Thank you so much Deb – will keep you posted! This is just one of those things that we couldn’t have anticipated when we moved in, for the most part. Although we moved in 2020, and the committee was formed in 2019. I wish I had done more research on POSSIBLE airports!!! You always miss something when you look at an area to move to, right?
As my room is next to a highway for pedestrians living in the estate, I totally get noise. Pedestrians are never quiet on the highway. If I could do something about that, I would. So I record, when I do (which is rare these days,… ), while they aren’t there (during the typical working day). Unfortunately, international airports with perfectly aligned flights, don’t really have an off switch… I’m sorry I can’t also chime in on the issue, but I do know it’s so needed to participate.
I participate on many things that come up for public comment. My fav has been a business license for even the most mundane sale. If you sold an old bike to a neighbor – you’d have had to get a business license just for that transaction. Oh yes, this will promote entrepreneurship in the country. #SarcasmWithYourHumorBoxLOLNightAtTheMuseumOneTooManyTimes
I sincerely hope you get it banned from ever being classified as usable for an airport.
Besides, we all know teleportation via catapult is the next big thing ;)!
Now THAT I would vote yes on! But – wait…are you talking catapults such as those that they used in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King? If so, I wouldn’t want to be sent flying through the air and accidentally collide with one of those giant rocks that the OTHER side is flinging back at us. Can I choose a side? Oh man, choosing which catapult to be flung from is becoming more stressful than the notion of an airport!
Well, there is the classic, but then there is the French way (last minute of the video):
LOL, I did hear from friends in kindergarten that you can fly, theoretically, if you flap your arms fast enough. At least, that’s what we hypothesized based on the flight mechanics we observed on birds in cartoons, hehe.
Ha! Did you really just say “flight mechanics we observed on birds in cartoons”? Now THAT’s something I can get behind hypothesizing about!
I can’t shake, however, that the bus driver sounds UNCANNILY like Pee-Wee Herman…
Mrs. Dunk : Don’t forget the ipecac.
Miss Dunk : I thought you said syrup of squill.
Mrs. Dunk : I can’t hear you. Talk louder.
Miss Dunk : I thought you said syrup of squill.
Mrs. Dunk : Alright, syrup of squill. I don’t care.
Miss Dunk : I don’t care either. I’ll get ipecac if you want me to.
Mrs. Dunk : Well ipecac or syrup of squill, I don’t care which.
Miss Dunk : I don’t care either. You tell me what to get and I’ll get it.
Mrs. Dunk : Get whichever one you want. I don’t care. Whatever they have handy. Just the same to me.
Miss Dunk : Ah, it’s just the same to me too. I hate ’em both. Oh, where’ll I go, to Jones’s?
Mrs. Dunk : Use your own judgement.
Miss Dunk : No. You tell me where to go.
Harold : I’d like to tell you both where to go.
Mrs. Dunk : There’s no use dear, I can’t hear a word you’re saying. Somebody’s shouting on the floor below, so you’d better go along.
I couldn’t help myself, bonus points if you get the movie reference. 😀 Seriously though, that is a crappy situation. If it does get shoved down everyone’s throats in your county, and you don’t end up getting imminent-domain-ed (that’s the technical term for it, right?), what do you think about turning that property into an air b n b for folks flying in or out, if the worst case scenario happens and your property value does take a dive? I don’t use air b n b very often at all, myself, but the couple of times I have, they were tiny little nightmares. I’d have paid a pretty penny for a nice, spacious place, just sayin’. LOL
Fingers crossed, don’t let ’em get their way without a fight!
Well we are about 9 miles away so we’re not going to take the same “hit” that those much closer to ground zero (pardon the expression) will take. Nonetheless, we will drop in value. But it’s not going to be “eminent domained” because we’re not part of the 6-mile diameter of where it would be. All that to say however that there will be tangible impact felt far beyond the 6-mile diameter, us included. Fingers crossed for June 2023 that they vote nay!
I feel your pain. We wanted to live further out of the DFW metroplex, but the housing market made it such that we are just barely on the border of it. And of all the places, we ended up with the one that is a stone’s throw from railroad tracks, the Texas Motor Speedway (which fortunately is only an occasional nuisance), and the airport which not only serves as the major commercial airline hub for the region, but also as a personal airplane and military aircraft landing strip and hangar bay. In fact, we have an annual air show that I just mark off on my calendar as a no-record date. Might as well not even try to compete with the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds flying right over the house so close that we can almost see the pilots! On the bright side, at least we never really have to buy tickets to the show…
Oh my stars and garters…if the Blue Angels came in to this airport too? Hell hath no fury like a voice actor’s scorn…if those engines blasted over my house on a recurring basis, I’m afraid that there would be hell to pay. Sorry about your train situation!
OMG, you just moved there and had your beautiful studio built! This is unconscionable on so many levels. I stand with you, Josh. May more sensible heads prevail.
Thanks so much JD. Yes, we just moved there. Yes, I just had my beautiful studio built. Fingers crossed. I appreciate the sentiment!
Oh my! I hope that things work out for you, especially since you just built that beautiful studio! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you, Josh!
Thank you so much Theresa, I appreciate it! Yeah, it’s a bit irksome. We’ll keep our level heads about us, and not stress until we know we have something to be stressed about. That news won’t come until June of 2023. And even if the CACC recommends that the location be in Thurston County, it would be just that: a recommendation. There are many, many steps any recommendation would need to go through prior to final approval and permitting for construction of an airport. To add a third runway at the Sea-Tac Airport, port officials worked for 20 years to get to construction. Most of the steps required would – by law – include a requirement for public comment before any action could be taken. Hopefully that recommendation is discarded and the whole process is averted. Fingers crossed!
This kinda thing makes me mad. Like, throw ’em all in the bin mad.
I hope those legislators (and the rest of them everywhere else!) see sense.
I sure do too. Thank you so much for the kind words and sentiments, Sumara! Is it OK, if they do decide on Olympia as the proposed location, for me to sick Sumara on them so that she can throw them in said mad bin?