(March 15, 2006, updated) - On March 14, the City Council voted 8-0 to approve a softened, revised motion by Councilwoman Rae Gabelich, seconded by Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga, stemming from their agendized item [previously reported by LBReport.com, link below]:
- Request that the City Attorney return to the Council with the southern CA average of fine levels so that the Council can determine as a body what we're comfortable with, where we want to go, what's the average that we want to see for our airport as the proprietor of the Long Beach Airport
- Ask the City Attorney to draft a communication to the FAA identifying the following issues:
- A progressive penalty structure for any noise violation that occurs between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m
- To request that the City Attorney to draft written guidelines defining an "unanticipated delay" [excusing fines]. These guidelines could specify that a delay by weather, air traffic control or mechanical [reason] en route to Long Beach would constitute an "unanticipated delay" to better define what that means.
- To request City Manager to work with the City Attorney's office to revise the City's standard lease provisions with all existing and future aircraft operators, including air carriers, to clearly state that a wilful failure to abide by the City's Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance could constitute a material breach of the operator's lease with the City and could result in a suspension or termination of Airport privileges [would be added to their leases].
After hearing the revised motion and taking public testimony -- which included testimony from veteran Airport business owner Kevin McAchren (Airserve) not opposing the motion as revised -- Mayor Beverly O'Neill said, "I have more comfort with that also."
Mr. McAchren did testify in favor of sending the matter concurrently to the "Airport Advisory Commission," an action supported by Councilwoman Laura Richardson...but opposed by Councilwoman Gabelich. "The Council sets policy for the Airport," Councilwoman Gabelich said. LBHUSH2 member Joe Sopo also urged the Council not to send the matter to the AAC, saying it would create protracted, divisive meetings...and the Council ultimately opted not to refer the matter to the AAC.
[updated] After the Council meeting, Airserve owner McAchren reiterated his view about the AAC and commented to LBReport.com, "I was concerned about the original wording but since the Council basically sent the issue to the City Attorney to take a look at the issues, my feeling the'll look at it...and when it comes back to the Council, everybody should have a chance to be heard, the public and Airport area businessness...and the proposal would still have to pass muster with the FAA before going forward." [end update]
In presenting the item, Councilwoman Gabelich indicated that she'd spoken with the City Attorney's office on the matter and her intent isn't to tamper with or threaten the Noise Ordinance, but to strengthen the Noise Ordinance.
During Council colloquy, it was indicated that Councilmembers were sent communications from a number of entities responding to the item as originally agendized by Councilmembers Gabelich and Reyes Uranga. The communications weren't read into the record publicly...but LBReport.com intends to obtain copies and post portions as newsworthy in a separate article.
Councilmembers Gabelich & Reyes Uranga Propose Stiffer Penalties, Tightened Exceptions, Lease Termination Provision Re Late Night Airport Flights/Noise Ordinance Violations