The FAA intentionally designed the Part 161 process to be burdensome and costly, and went into the process with a clear policy preference to find a way to turn down the curfew, said Peter Kirsch, the city’s attorney on airport issues.
“It’s unfortunate that there is a federal process that you have to go through [when] every indication is that the federal agency is going to turn you down no matter what,” Kirsch said.
While acknowledging that they had advanced notice of the FAA rejection, commissioners declined to reveal what alternatives were being considered, citing the need to review them with the airport authority’s legal team.
But city officials this week laid out what they dubbed “Plan B,” which would focus on using legislation to achieve the same end.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Oct. 9 submitted a letter to Burbank Mayor Gary Bric pledging a commitment to “crafting noise mitigations that serve both Van Nuys and Burbank airports and their respective constituencies.”
Councilman Dave Golonski referred to the joint mission to seek valleywide nighttime noise relief as “a logical approach at this time,” after exhausting the administrative process. He also lauded the airport authority’s recent pledge to continue to seek avenues to impose a curfew.
And Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) this week announced legislation to allow Bob Hope and Van Nuys airports to implement mandatory nighttime curfews. Support has also come from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Howard Berman (D-Valley Village), and is expected from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills).
Officials are working to identify a legislative vehicle in Congress to attach their curfew language, but nothing is expected to be introduced before Nov. 18, a spokesman for Sherman said.
“That is, we aren’t deceiving ourselves that this is going to be a cakewalk,” Kirsch said. “We’ve done everything we could possibly do with the FAA, and if there is ever an example of an airport that deserved a curfew, if there’s ever an example of an airport where the benefits exceed the costs, it’s the Bob Hope Airport.”