By now you should be well acquainted with the fact that the City/County negotiated a Settlement Agreement with the FAA, thus avoiding having to move the lawsuit to a judicial setting. The specifics of the agreement have been well publicized in the local newspapers and on social media platforms. Here’s a quick recap of the most important aspects of this Agreement:
First, The FAA has agreed that the NextGen flight takeoff path will stay between the existing seven (7) noise monitors, and will design a curved departure procedure for flights that will cause planes to follow the curves (an “S” curve) of the Upper Newport Bay, thus avoiding flyover of as many residential neighborhoods as possible. Implementation of the “S” curve departure route is scheduled to be implemented in the next couple of weeks.
Second, and in my opinion the most significant “win” for the City, is that we have gained a place at the table with the FAA when it comes to any further changes in flight paths which will be analyzed under the National Environmental Policy Act. This insures the City of the FAA’s commitment to working with us and the airport on a going-forward basis.
And third, protection was secured against excessive “early off-shore turns” which protects the communities of Corona del Mar, Newport Coast, and to the north, Huntington Beach.
So, what’s next?
Our job now is to work with the air carriers flying out of JWA, and the most effective way of doing this is through organized community groups such as Airfair, the Airport Working Group, and the newly formed Citizens Against Airport Noise and Pollution (CAANP). Steps have already been taken by the Council to protect our community against the negative effects that the airport creates related to our quality of living.
First, additional noise monitors have been installed in key locations along the flight takeoff routes to determine if the seven (7) existing noise monitors are providing accurate readings. The Council will be considering the purchase of permanent noise monitoring equipment to be placed on or near Balboa Island to continually measure the noise of departing flights in order to identify the difference between air carriers, and then to ask why?
Second, the City is in the process of hiring a public relations firm to work with community groups and the City to get air carriers to embrace the concept of “flying higher and flying quieter”.
And third, the City will be hiring a lobbyist firm to advocate for us with our elected official at the State and Federal Levels as well as the air carriers. This may take the form of future legislation that would further protect our quality of living from the effects of JWA on our community.
Future meeting dates are:
Community Airport Forum Meeting
Friday, January 26th, 3:00 p.m. City Council Chambers
Aviation Committee Meeting
Monday, February 12th, 4:00 P.M. - City Hall, Community Room
As always, I remain very reachable and will always be a good listener. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or observations.
Jeff Herdman, Councilman