Major Airport Development:
City Att'y Shannon Announces "Settlement in Principle" That Will Avoid Airport Litigation
Public Details Still Pending And Deal Awaits FAA Approval
We Provide Transcript of Mr. Shannon's Statement To City Council & Public
Background (from LBReport.com)
(August 28, 2002) -- In a major Airport development announced at the August 27 City Council meeting preceding city staff's presentation of a controversial proposed Airport passenger facility expansion, City Attorney Robert Shannon announced that the city has reached a "settlement in principle" that will avoid airport litigation.
Mr. Shannon indicated that although he was "not in a position to say exactly what all the of the points of that settlement will include," he could say "definitely that the settlement will avoid litigation and avoid the risks that are attendant to litigation -- the main risk being that we would lose the protection of our noise ordinance."
Mr. Shannon called the result "excellent." He added that the airlines (including JetBlue, American, Alaska) have already agreed in principle and the deal is pending FAA approval.
We post Mr. Shannon's statement verbatim below.
I am very pleased to announce that after several mediation sessions attended by the FAA, and the airlines, including JetBlue, American Airlines and Alaska, I believe we have reached a settlement in principle.
I'm not in a position to say exactly what all the of the points of that settlement will include, but I can say definitely that the settlement will avoid litigation and avoid the risks that are attendant to litigation -- the main risk being that we would lose the protection of our noise ordinance.
And more importantly that this settlement will preserve our noise ordinance as it presently exists, including the noise limits which are among the most restrictive, if not the most restrictive, of any airport in the country.
As I say, I'm limited as to exactly what the full range of the settlement will include, but we are going to preserve that ordinance. We do have a settlement in principle. We are now going to be talking to the FAA to get them, as I believe we will be able to, to agree to the terms of the settlement. The airlines have already agreed in principle.
I think we have what I believe is an excellent result here.
LB's Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance, enacted by the City Council in 1995, is considered one of the most progressive in the country. It uses "noise budgets" that effectively encourage users to fly quieter aircraft.
The ordinance provides that if an empirical noise study, based on actual LB Airport operations, shows noise for a class of aircraft (like the daily 41 over 75,000 pounds now allowed) is demonstrably lower (due to improved technology for example) than when the ordinance was enacted in 1995, City Hall could increase flights administratively (without Council action) above 41 if the data show more quieter flights can fit within the current noise budget.
City staff and City Attorney representatives have taken pains to point this out in community meetings, noting flight increases could occur under LB's current ordinance if that's what noise data show; it's part of LB's current law.
Although others have sometimes used the term "41" flights as shorthand for LB's current daily limit on large aircraft, we think it's more accurate to say -- as City Hall has done and we try to do -- that LB's ordinance actually allows 41 noise budgeted flights over 75,000 pounds...and the 41 flights could increase if an empirical noise study shows more flights can be fit within the current noise budget.
The 41 large aircraft flights expected to begin in October, 2002 will mark the first time since the ordinance was adopted that such an empirical noise study on 41 flights can be conducted.
LB's current Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance has been approved by a reviewing federal district (trial) court.
We have posted the text of LB's Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance on our affiliated web page for LB Airport information, LBAirportWatch.org. You can jump to the ordinance directly by clicking LB Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance.