Here’s an example flight, showing how FAA/ATC chooses to accommodate airline profits ahead of citizen impacts. In this case, ATC controls a North Flow arrival from Alaska, to land on Runway 34L at SeaTac [KSEA]:
And, here’s a VFR sectional (aviation chart) that enables us to precisely identify distances ‘on final’, from the approach end of the runway at KSEA:
Air traffic controllers (ATCs) generally do not factor environmental impacts into their control decisions. So, if an arrival lined up on the NextGen RNAV route over Vashon Island sees the airport on a clear day, if other traffic allows, ATC will be inclined to turn that arrival early, to line up onto a short final. In this example, that early turn happened because ATC saw enough space to safely issue the early turn, ahead of the next arrival. This arrival turned final near 279th. The consequences include an adverse impact upon thousands of homes, because early turns need to be much lower, to make the descent to the landing runway.
ATC needs to fully incorporate community concerns into their standard operating procedures.
For noise mitigation, and to protect residential communities, turns should be conducted no closer than to a 10-mile final. In this example, a turn to a 10-mile final (near Wild Waves) would occur over industrial/commercial properties at the Port of Tacoma, thus would potentially impact thousands fewer homes.
To the left, see an example of a later flight that was kept higher and, turned onto final at a distance of approximately 14-miles: Xiamen Air Flight #845, a Boeing 788, from Shenzhen, China (near Hong Kong).
— Federal Way residents are also heavily impacted by departures. In South Flow, ATC routinely turns many departures to the west (for Alaska, coastal BC, Hawaii, Asia, and south to California), and at low altitudes (as low as 3,000ft above sea level). Here is a copy of the BANGR8 departure with satellite views added. Notice how the published route tracks over the northern half of the point, and all the way to the end of the point; a better route would be to climb higher, a few more miles, then turn west over the large commercial/industrial area encompassing the Port of Tacoma.