Update! Guest Article – Pitiful Settlement, By Michele Monda

Update on Airplane Noise Issue – February 2018

City Hall, specifically those who run the city and not City Council, are at it again. They have been deceptive about the wonderful “new” settlement to make it look like they got a win and make it seem like the tens of thousands of dollars that we just spent with our city attorney’s law firm, Rutan and Tucker, were well spent. What’s worse is that City Council did not know anything about the details of the settlement until it was presented to them for their signatures. All this was done behind closed doors. And what a pitiful settlement this is for Laguna residents.
What they got has already been in place since NextGen was implemented in March 2017.  Their “negotiated” flight path change to south of Laguna (or really to over my head IN South Laguna and north of Three Arch Bay) – they’ve been doing that for the past 3 years but it really intensified after March. That’s their NextGen Flight path. The fact that the overflights over much of Laguna have decreased 80 percent in the past year – well YES, because they are all now on the laser beam flight path right over my house as mandated by NextGen. The altitude at crossing land of 10,000 ft – that’s their normal flight trajectory after they hit the last way station in the ocean at 7,000 ft. on the NextGen flight path. They’ve already been doing that. City officials are excited that the FAA has agreed they will not take short cuts over Laguna (well, Laguna north of me in So. Lag). But there are so so many exceptions that the FAA put into the settlement that basically they can still take short cuts whenever they want.
So all that was accomplished with this settlement is that Laguna Beach has formalized and legitimized what the FAA wanted all along and has been doing since March 2017. They didn’t negotiate anything – they gave away any possibility of getting what all of us wanted – to have them fly the planes farther out in the ocean and cross land higher up like they used to before NextGen was developed. They got nothing that wasn’t already being done with NextGen.
So what’s the next step for those of us STILL under the flight path in Laguna? We will be redoubling our efforts legislatively, appealing to Laguna Niguel officials to join in the fight and take the issue directly to the airlines. The City of Laguna Beach is now officially out of their nightmare of having to look like their doing something for their residents. They can point to this worthless settlement and say “See, look what we did for you.”  Bah.
Michèle Monda

Update on Airplane Noise Issue

The regional Town Hall meeting held in Laguna Niguel in May 2017 on airplane noise did in fact create a whole lot of noise. We had OC Supervisors Bartlett and Spitzer attend as well as Congressman Rohrabacher and major representatives from every south county city and Citizens for No Plane Noise.

As a result of that meeting Congressman Rohrabacher wrote a letter to the FAA. He requested that the planes fly higher and fly farther out in the ocean before turning back to cross land. As predicted, the FAA sent him a boiler plate, pabulum, pat on the head letter saying that there is ongoing legal action and they can’t (read won’t) do anything about it. Plus, it’s just so complicated . . .

So after this fell on deaf ears at the FAA, Congressman Rohrabacher followed up with legislative action. He introduced two amendments to HR 2997, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act. These amendments pertain to coastal overflight procedures and the concomitant inclusion of community concerns to flight path changes. And the best news is that it specifically calls out the California Metroplex and our concerns. The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee – stay tuned for progress.

Laguna Niguel passed a city resolution supporting the limitation of the negative impacts of air flights over Laguna Niguel on August 1, 2017. The mayor of San Juan Capistrano sent a complaint letter to the FAA Administrator in Washington requesting a review of the environmental impact now that NextGen has been implemented.

Currently, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and the County of Orange are involved in a lawsuit against the FAA and it’s supposed environmental impact report (that was computer generated and not based on reality). They are currently in mediation behind closed doors about which no one seems to be able to get information. The FAA has requested a 45-day extension on the stay for mediation, which is set to expire on November 17, 2017. I sure would love to know what’s going on.

I’ve saved the best news for last. The city of Phoenix, Arizona sued the FAA AND WON!!! It took 2 years for the case to be heard (FAA is all about delay, delay, delay) and Citizens for No Plane Noise is currently digging into the case to see what we can use for our case. There are many similarities and points that we can use in our lawsuit, as their issue is identical to ours minus the ocean!

Yes, this is a slow process. But in the meantime we need residents affected by the noise to write letters and more letters. I personally am woken every morning at 7:02 when the planes start roaring over my once quiet house. In 2012 I NEVER had a plane. Now it’s constant. To learn how to write a complaint letter and to whom to write please go on our website NoPlaneNoise.us and look for the Laguna Beach tab.

Together we can make a lot of noise – we need to help our legislators help us!!

Michèle Monda
Citizens for No Plane Noise
Laguna Beach

* Editor’s Note: LagunaBeachCHAT welcomes guest articles on topics of general interest, from respected sources. If a guest article is accepted as relevant and topical, we commit to making no changes (other than spelling and small technical corrections) and will publish the article in its entirety.

To a packed house of over 500 residents on May 15 in Laguna Niguel Town Hall, Supervisors Bartlett and Spitzer and Congressman Rohrabacher presented the airplane noise situation. Since the FAA implemented the NextGen flight path realignment in April south county homes have been under attack day and night with noise. Elected officials from Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and Mission Viejo attested to the noise increase and the number of residents complaining.

As a result of the noise, a grass roots organization called Citizens for No Plane Noise was formed. They helped organize this meeting to educate the public and let them know how to complain to the FAA to stop the low flying planes.

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said the solution is easy – fly the planes farther out in the ocean so they gain higher altitude before they turn back over land. 20,000 feet would mean very little noise. Citizens for No Plane Noise has documented planes as low as 8,000 ft. crossing over. The FAA has slowly implemented this change of flight path and lower altitudes since the fall of 2015. When you complain they tell you nothing has changed. BUT IT HAS. Where before planes would fly out to Catalina before turning, they are now turning right after take off from John Wayne and following a very precise flight path thanks to satellite based navigation versus ground based navigation. They are now on a super highway in the sky and if you live under it you are besieged.

Additionally, with the realignment of the airspace, when John Wayne shuts down at 10 pm for their curfew, LAX takes over the airspace. Those are the planes that you now hear at 3 am. They are coming up from South America and Mexico and instead of flying over the ocean as they used to they are now flying over the coastal land area.

Why is this happening??? To save fuel and time in the air. This is the goal of the airlines and since they were instrumental in the design of NextGen these new flight paths serve their interests without taking into account the people under the flight path. Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and the County of Orange have lawsuits against the FAA saying that they did not do a proper environmental assessment of their new flight paths. Imagine the increase in pollutants from the jet fuel – and you are now breathing it.

What can you do about this? Write letters complaining of the noise and pollution!! Go on Citizens for No Plane Noise’ Website and write as many letters as you can to the FAA, city officials, and Congressman. Sample letters and the addresses are available. The more letters they receive, the more they will take notice. The website is www.NoPlaneNoise.us.

If you are bothered by the airplane noise, please write, write, write! Only in numbers will they listen and change their flight path – fly farther out in the ocean and cross land higher up!!!

Michele Monda
South Laguna

* Editor’s Note: LagunaBeachCHAT welcomes guest articles on topics of general interest, from respected sources. If a guest article is accepted as relevant and topical, we commit to making no changes (other than spelling and small technical corrections) and will publish the article in its entirety.

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