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Airport curfew on agenda

A four-hour-long workshop allows members of the community to give their input on proposal for flights at Bob Hope.

April 16, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

AIRPORT DISTRICT — Dozens of residents filtered in and out of the airport Sky Room Monday afternoon, as a brief video laid out the Burbank- Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority’s case for banning all late-night and early-morning flights.

The four-hour workshop was the first public input session meant to gain support for the proposed curfew laid out in the Part 161 Study that would ban all flights, save for emergency, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Informational packets were also made available and airport officials were on hand to answer questions from residents.

In the video, Mark Hardyment, Bob Hope Airport’s director of noise and environmental programs, told residents of the history of and benefits to the Part 161 Study, including a positive cost benefit analysis for the airport.

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The authority publicly began working on a plan to severely limit or ban nighttime noise in 2000. By 2003, officials submitted a draft proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration, which rejected the airport’s claims that a curfew would not negatively affect commerce saying it would create an undue burden on nighttime commerce, including business from cargo planes that operate around the clock.

A retooled Part 161 Study was completed this year and approved by the authority on March 17. They say the newest incarnation of the curfew — which would replace the voluntary 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew — is nondiscriminatory, which was the FAA’s complaint in 2004 with the original proposal.

“The curfew does not create an undue burden on the national aviation system,” Hardyment said. “The system has enough elasticity to accommodate flights to other airports.”

The airport stands to gain more than $11 million from a curfew, Hardyment said, adding that the savings from not outfitting homes with noise-reducing measures would outweigh the costs to lessened nighttime commerce.

“But that does not guarantee FAA approval,” he said.

Attempting to ensure passage by the FAA, airport authority officials will travel to Washington, D.C., Tuesday to meet with Reps. Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman to elicit support.

“No one’s ever done this before and I’m sure everybody will make their opinions known,” said Dan Feger, interim executive director of the airport. “There’s a lot of uncertainty by a lot of people, but I believe we’ve made a strong argument.”

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