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    News / Perspective

    City Mgm't Proposes Counter-Measure Against Gabelich-O'Donnell-Uranga Green Airport & Neighborhood Protection Programs

    (April 23, 2007) -- In a confrontation highlighting differences over protection for residents and the City in expanding LB Airport's permanent terminal area facilities, city management is proposing what amounts to a policy counter-measure against efforts by three Councilmembers who seek stronger safeguards and commitments than city management wants to provide.

    As previously reported by, Councilmembers Rae Gabelich, Patrick O'Donnell and Tonia Reyes Uranga have recommended accompanying expansion of LB Airport's permanent terminal area facilities with a "Green Airport Program" and a "Neighborhood Protection Program." The proposals, nine in total, are item 19 on the Council's April 24 agenda.

    About an hour after Councilmembers Gabelich, O'Donnell and Reyes Uranga submitted their items to the City Clerk, city management (in a memo by Public Works Director Christine Andersen, co-signed as approved by City Manager Jerry Miller) submitted a counter-measure agendizing ten "Airport policies and actions." They are item 26 on the Council's April 24 agenda.

    Management calls its counter-measure proposed Airport "policies and actions," a reflection of "many recommendations...made by the [EIR] appellants' representatives that staff felt could be accommodated and would help alleviate community concerns." Management says its recommendations "could have been a part of the settlement agreement being negotiated" (negotiations which City Hall ended when one EIR hearing appellant chose to sue). compares the two items side by side below.

    Gabelich/O'Donnell/Reyes Uranga measuresCity management proposalOur view
    A policy to reduce pollution related to aircraft, ground equipment and vehicle transportationThe Airport's "Green Airport Program" shall be a key focus of the Airport staff efforts, and the City Council will be presented with an annual progress report on the Program's content and achievement.While Councilmembers explicitly seek reductions in three pollution sources, management proposes an unintelligible "key focus" on a "Green Airport Program" defined and decided by City Hall.
    A policy that the City shall strive to meet AQMD attainment levels by 2020The Airport's Land Use Compatibility Program shall include the use of mobile noise monitoring units and, potentially, additional fixed/permanent noise monitors, as measures to accurately identify land use noise mitigation impact areas. The need for and location of additional permanent monitors will be determined by the City's expert consultants, and must be approved by City Council action.Councilmembers set goal of actually meeting AQMD pollution attainment levels. Management entirely omits meeting pollution attainment and limits itself to pollution "monitoring"...and some only "potentially."
    A full air quality monitoring program, similar in nature to the programs enacted at the Port of Long Beach and/or Teterborough Airport.The City will encourage AQMD to continue and expand air quality monitoring in Long Beach and the Airport area.While Councilmembers seek a full, specific program being used elsewhere now, management only offers to "encourage" LB's status quo or expand it on unspecific terms.
    The addition of six new noise monitors, including areas currently without monitors, such as Bib Hill[Cited above]While Councilmembers explicitly call for six new monitors covering presently unmonitored areas such as Bib Hill, management would let City Hall-hired consultants decide the need for and location of monitors
    Creation of an Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance legal defense fundThe City's Airport Enterprise Fund shall maintain an adequate funding mechanism to support vigorous defense of any and all legal or administrative challenges to the City's existing Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance.While Council directs establishing a legal defense fund, management proposes simply budgeting for commitment and a potential conflict in which Airport management has incentives to budget its funds elsewhere.
    [Not explicitly discussed]The Airport staff will work with the Federal Aviation Administration, pilots, and others to establish approach and takeoff protocols for pilots to follow in order to reduce noise impacts to Long Beach neighborhoods.To our knowledge, this restates current policy
    [Not explicitly discussed]The City's Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan shall include "end of block" treatments in those instances where residential structures fall within established 65 CNEL noise contours.Appears to be basically a palliative measure
    Elimination of Parcel "O" [Willow St/Clark Ave. area] as part of this terminal expansion project.The City shall eliminate the current option of developing the Airport's Parcel "O". A new environmental review document shall be required if Parcel "O" is to be developed in the future.Good. Some common ground.
    Creation of terminal deed restrictions or covenants prohibiting use changes within the post-security terminal areaThere will be no capacity changes to the Council approved post-screening facilities within the Terminal Building without formal Council review and approval.Management offers no commitment, leaving post-security changes open to future expansion.
    Require that a new Environmental Impact Report be completed if the Long Beach Airport ever exceeds 4.2 million annual passengers;Appropriate environmental studies will be conducted, as determined by the City Council, if and when the Airport exceeds the annual passenger level of 4.2 million. Further, funding mechanisms shall be explored at the time of each study to insure that appropriate mitigation measures are implemented.Management doesn't commit to doing a new EIR...and only says mitigation funding will be "explored."
    Covenants not to challenge the Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance incorporated into all airport leasesNew Airport leases shall include provisions prohibiting the challenge of, or participation in, the challenge to the City's Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance.Good. Management avoids using term "covenants" by cites "provisions." Basically common ground.

    Asked about the dueling items, 4th district Councilman Patrick O'Donnell told, "Management's proposals are weaker and our recommendations are stronger." He added that he hopes the differences "reflect miscommunication, not substantive differences."

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