Opinion / Guest Commentary:
The Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC) held its regular meeting Aug. 15. La Jolla ‘s rep, Cindy Greatrex, was absent. There are several takeaways from the meeting.
• The FAA’s District Manager for Southern California, Michael Valencia, participated and met with several La Jollans afterward. Valencia is the most senior FAA official responsible for Southern California air traffic control from Santa Barbara and the Mexico border. He spoke candidly about the “dust just settling on the MetroPlex rollout,” the “FAA efforts to now assess the consequences and impacts on affected communities” and “the existence of wiggle room to make flight path and procedure changes to accommodate and mitigate noise.”
He described the pre-NextGen environment as a three-mile-wide swath of sky through which flights were dispersed for departures and landings. NextGen concentrated those flights “on a rail,” creating commercial jet freeways. There is strong cause for optimism that the FAA will work collaboratively with the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (SDCRAA), La Jolla, Point Loma and other communities to fix the noise issues. Valencia also said that a rep from his office will try to attend ANAC meetings in San Diego, demonstrating the FAA’s commitment to the process.
• The next Flight Path & Procedure Citizen and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting will be 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Aug. 30 at the ANAC offices, 2722 Truxtun Road, Point Loma. Your Citizens’s Advisory Committee (CAC ) and TAC representatives, through Quiet Skies La Jolla, submitted a consultant’s report proposing common sense recommendations to reduce the noise impacts on La Jolla. These ask that the FAA make better use of the Pacific Ocean by routing departures further from the La Jolla coastline before turning north or south, and reducing noise over La Jolla Shores, UCSD and the Muirlands by routing arrivals further over the 805/52 Interchange, adjacent to the landfill and eliminating an unnecessary jog south closer to La Jolla.
SDCRAA’s consultant will present the initial recommendations on Aug 30, taking into account La Jolla’s submission. Notably, the FAA Director was appreciative of La Jolla’s engagement and recognized the consultant’s qualifications and good reputation.
• Noise complaints spiked in July, particularly from La Jolla and Point Loma. ANAC encourages complaints to be filed because they enable objective fact-based reporting to the FAA. The more household complaints the better, even if it is only one per month. Most complaints were filed via the AirNoise button (airnoise.io). SDCRAA is rolling out a new noise complaint app and website upgrade called “EMS” that will purportedly yield more precise data about which flights are causing the most complaints and under what conditions.
ANAC and its vendor are holding five workshops to help people download and use the app or website, including one in La Jolla, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at the Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave., and one in Pacific Beach, 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept 5, at the Taylor branch library, 4275 Cass St. People who cannot attend these workshops are invited to call the Air Noise Office (619) 400-2660 for a phone tutorial. We encourage use of either the SDCRAA app or the AirNoise button. The Webtrak complaint system is found at webrak.bkems.net/san and the app-based complaint system is viewpoint-app.emsbk.com/san4
• SDCRAA extended the comment date to Sept. 7 to address its Draft EIR, about the forthcoming construction changes to Terminal 1 and the surrounding airport infrastructure. Quiet Skies La Jolla has engaged counsel to represent us in this process and individuals may also submit comments to San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Attention, Ted Anasis, via e-mail to the email@example.com Comments may also be mailed to the SDCRAA, PO Box 82776, San Diego, CA 92138-2776 and postmarked by Sept. 7 or delivered to the SDCRAA offices at 3225 N. Harbor Drive, 3rd Floor, San Diego, CA 92101, or faxed to (619) 400-2459 by 5 p.m. Sept. 7. (For a draft proposed response, see our last column online at lajollalight.com or quietskieslajolla.org) Residents must speak up now to advocate for practical adjustments to the flight path and procedures associated with the anticipated increased air traffic.
• Maintenance on the runway will recommence on Oct. 18, decreasing the number of flights at night. There will be a temporary respite because construction begins at 8 p.m., reducing the number of aircraft operations in this post-summer, non-peak period. The full schedule will resume before the holidays, so don’t become complacent.
• The Airport Noise Advisory Commission received a $12 million grant from the FAA to fund the Part 150 and Flight Path & Procedure studies about NextGen Metroplex. San Diego International Airport will kick-off the Part 150 study in September or October.
• The next ANAC meeting will be Oct. 17 at the Harbor Island Holiday Inn. We appreciate the community’s strong support. Please keep it up.