ANAC board supports sub-committee recommendations: All 21 noise-reducing ideas forwarded to Airport Authority

The San Diego Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC) voted to advance to the San Diego Airport Authority for evaluation and implementation, all 21 recommendations for reducing aircraft noise drafted by its sub-committee. These recommendations were discussed for two-and-a-half hours during the Oct. 18 ANAC meeting in Point Loma.

La Jolla resident and ANAC sub-committee member Chris McCann told La Jolla Light he was “pleasantly surprised” at the clean sweep.

“I think (the ANAC) recognized the amount of thought and effort that went into this, that we are trying to find a holistic solution that works for everybody, and that the wider slate of suggestions we boiled down to these 21, put the best foot forward for the neighborhoods affected by noise. I think they recognized that and that’s why we had an easy time.”

The recommendations, which include reviewing the fines assessed on airlines for curfew violations and using those fines for noise mitigation efforts, can be found here

ANAC facilitator Heidi Gantwerk said: “I want to acknowledge the work of our sub-committee. For the last year, they’ve been diligent, thoughtful and engaged, and they worked very hard to put together these recommendations. The vote here today is whether to move these recommendations forward for consideration by the Airport Authority board. If it goes to the board, there will then be a staff report and analysis, looking very carefully at the implementation of the recommendations.”

Gantwerk read through all the recommendations, then the board heard public comment and voted to approve each one. During public comment, community members advocated for complete approval.

The only item that prompted debate was the continuation of the sub-committee. It was formed and charged with meeting on a monthly basis “until it is determined the issues are thoroughly addressed.”

With the submission of its recommendations, some argued that the sub-committee should be dissolved. But others strongly disagreed, insisting it allows for more community representation, discussion, and the ability to conduct research beyond ANAC’s.

“I joined the sub-committee because I sat at a meeting last January and realized all the people around me were from La Jolla and were unhappy with the situation, yet there wasn’t a single person on the committee who represented La Jolla,” said McCann (a former pilot). “I joined to give myself and my neighbors a voice in these conversations.”

One ANAC member said the sub-committee is the “voice of the audience” and that the dissolution idea was “crazy.”

However, ANAC member Debbie Watkins opined: “Before agreeing to continue the sub-committee, I propose waiting to see how the Airport Authority acts on these 21 recommendations. I recognize many sub-committee volunteers and those who spoke during public comment were concerned that their voices were not taken seriously. I recommend, we who sit on ANAC, roll up our sleeves and take on these types of issues for discussion and submit recommendations. If certain issues are prominent and merit further review, a sub-committee can be re-engaged to address them.”

After some discussion, the motion to continue the work and regular meeting of the sub-committee for the foreseeable future passed 4-3.

It’s unknown when the Airport Authority would respond to the 21 recommendations. ANAC next meets 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20 at Portuguese Hall, 2818 Avenida de Portugal, Point Loma.