(November 14, 2003) -- Nearly two months after Cal. Hts. resident and FAA certificated pilot Larry Mebust was prevented from using the Council chamber's visual equipment to illustrate his safety concerns over diverting large jets onto shorter runway 25R/7L, Mr. Mebust will get a replay in prime time.
At the November 18 Council meeting, 7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes-Uranga and 8th district Councilman Rob Webb have agendized an Airport related item that includes "a presentation, from a resident, on the community's concerns related to the use of runway 25R."
The Uranga-Webb agenda item also seeks a city staff status report on the construction schedule and the City's effort to minimize the impacts to residents, along with a report on how airport staff processes noise complaints from residents.
"The diversion of flights to 25R and continued curfew violations have prompted many residents who were not previously under the flight path to contact the Council offices for such information," says the Councilmembers' agendizing memo, which LBReport.com posts verbatim below.
The agendizing memo notes that at the Sept. 23 Council meeting, city staff was asked to provide a report on safety issues related to the use of runway 25...and such a report may be forthcoming in connection with the Nov. 18 agenda item.
At the Sept. 23 Council meeting, Mr. Mebust tried to show Councilmembers why they should not vote approve a main runway rehab plan that includes some diversions of large jet aircraft onto shorter runway 25R/7L. Citing a policy she instituted without Council objection several yeas earlier, Mayor Beverly O'Neill prevented Mr. Mebust from using the Council chamber's visual equipment to display maps supporting his testimony. The Council went on to vote 6-2 (Reyes-Uranga and Webb dissenting, Lerch absent) to approve the main runway rehab plan that will result in the diversions.
However, after hearing Mr. Mebust's verbal testimony, Mayor O'Neill acknowledged that he was well informed, Councilman Webb said he found the testimony compelling...and Airport Manager Kunze (while holding a different view) said it had raised important issues.
Mr. Mebust, who has over 17,000 hours of incident free flying experience although he doesn't pilot large jets, said on Sept. 23 that large aircraft can use 25R/7L if they carry lighter loads and fewer passengers but said this effectively requires virtually flawless performance with little room for misjudgments.
Airport Manager Chris Kunze responded that runway 25R/7L meets all federal standards, is certificated under federal air regulation part 139 as an airline alternative runway, is longer than John Wayne Airport's main runway [491 feet longer] and said 25R is not an unsafe operation for large aircraft.
[As part of our in depth coverage, LBReport.com has previously posted satellite photos comparing the approach and take off paths for LB and John Wayne Airports. To view these photos, click here.]
Runway 25R/7L is normally used only by smaller aircraft and is almost 3/4 of a mile shorter than LB Airport's main diagonal runway 30/12. 25R/7L runs east-west and aligns roughly between Monlaco Rd. and Keynote Ave. to the east and 36th St. to the west.
In recent months, some large jets been temporarily diverted onto 25R/7L when LB Airport officials temporarily closed main runway 30/12 for emergency pothole type repairs. City management has cited the potholes as one of the reasons for its planned resurfacing of main diagonal runway 30/12, which is now getting underway.
Approaches on 25R/7L can involve much of northern ELB from El Dorado Park to the airport, passing over homes at Clark Ave. just over half a mile from the runway. Takeoffs over Cal Hts. homes are even closer, starting at Cherry Ave. barely a quarter mile from 25R/7L's western end. In reversed winds (Santa Ana type), takeoffs and landings are reversed.
The Council's Sept. 23 vote approved the main runway 30/12 rehab on a schedule that city staff advised will send large commercial jets onto runway 25R/7L on seven (and potentially eight) Saturdays in summer 2004...and possibly during overnight hours for a period spanning roughly a year if -- despite Airport efforts -- unscheduled arrivals and departures occur between 11 p.m.-6 a.m. when main runway rehab work is scheduled.
After his Sept. 23 experience with the City Council, Mr. Mebust -- who had not previously been involved with homeowner-based opposition to City Hall's airport policies -- swung into action. He launched a web site -- www.chnojets.org -- [standing for Cal Hts. no jets] that states in part:
Our Mission - NO JETS ON RUNWAY 25R, EVER!
The number of Jet Air Carrier flights departing runway 25R over our neighborhood on September 9, 2003 is only a mild introduction to what will happen if the airport staff gets its way. October 14th gave us yet another dose! 5:20 AM on the 17th is yet another "Wake Up" call.
These flights enter our neighborhood as low as 300 feet off of the ground under full takeoff power. They are not only way too noisy, they are spewing the highest level of toxins an aircraft can produce!
The unprecedented usage of this short runway for this level of Jet Traffic creates the need for an entire Environmental Impact Report (E.I.R.) on its own... "NONE IS PLANNED" (City Council for "shut up and go away")!
We must work together to stop this nonsense and stop it NOW!
THE CAMEL HAS PUSHED HIS NOSE INTO OUR TENT...
We can either Stomp on the camel's nose and send him packing, or we will have to learn to sleep with him on a permanent basis! The "Air Show" quality of these Low and Loud takeoffs will simply destroy the property values of one of the nicest neighborhoods in Long Beach... OURS!
To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Councilmember Tonia Reyes Uranga, Seventh District
Councilmember Rob Webb, Eighth District
AGENDA ITEM: Update on Status of Long Beach Airport Runway
Improvements and Processing of Noise Complaints
When the City Council approved the plans/specifications and awarded the
construction contract for the improvements to runway 12-30 at the City Council
meeting on September 23,2003, Staff was requested to provide reports on:
1. Safety Issues related to the use of runway 25;
2. Curfew Violations report from offending airlines; and,
3. Airport Advisory Commission report to City Council.
Now that the improvements of the runway have been initiated, we would
like to request a status report on the construction schedule and the City's effort
to minimize the impacts to residents. For example, while the discussion at the
City Council meeting of September 23rd focused on weekend closures of
runway 12-30, information provided at a pre-construction conference on
October 27, indicated that partial closure of runway 12-30 would begin
intermittently on November 7. The Project Manager stressed the importance
of having back-up equipment available due to the need to adhere to a strict
schedule for the closures with severe penalties incurred for failure to open
runway for operations. We would also like to provide a presentation, from a
resident, on the community's concerns related to the use of runway 25R.
Consistent with the request for a report to the City Council on information
provided to the Airport Advisory Commission (Item #3), we would like to
request a report from the City Manager on how airport staff processes noise
complaints from residents. The diversion of flights to 25R and continued
curfew violations have prompted many residents who were not previously
under the flight path to contact the Council offices for such information.
Request report on LGB Runway 12-30 improvements and AAC Noise report from City Manager on Dec. 2.
Receive & File presentation on use of Runway 25R.