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Frequently Asked Questions

Proposed Extension of the JWA Settlement Agreement

Q.What is the Settlement Agreement?

A.The 1985 “Settlement Agreement” formalized consensus reached between the County of Orange, the City of Newport Beach and two community groups on the nature and extent of facility and operational improvements that could be implemented at John Wayne Airport (JWA).

Q.Who are the signators to the Settlement Agreement?

A.The County of Orange, the City of Newport Beach, the Airport Working Group (AWG) and Stop Polluting Our Newport (SPON) are the four signators.

Q.When does the Settlement Agreement expire?

A.The original Settlement Agreement was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2005. In 2003, the original four signators approved a series of amendments to the Settlement Agreement that extended the agreement through December 31, 2015 and allowed for additional facilities and operational capacity and continued to provide environmental protections for the local community.

Q.What kinds of limitations are defined in the Settlement Agreement?

A.There are six principal restrictions in the Settlement Agreement: (1) term of the agreement; (2) curfew; (3) the annual passenger limit, referred to as the “MAP Cap” or “Million Annual Passenger Cap”; (4) the number of Class A Average Daily Departures (ADDs) allocated for passenger service; (5) the number of Class A Average Daily Departures (ADDs) allocated for all-cargo service; and (6) the number of passenger loading bridges. View Frequently Asked Questions - Noise...

Q.Why is the curfew treated differently than other restrictions?

A.The curfew at JWA was originally implemented through lease agreements between the County and scheduled commercial operators using the airport. In December 1971, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution establishing a curfew. The current curfew restrictions were established in the County’s General Aviation Noise Ordinance (GANO). View GANO...

While the curfew was created and has its legal basis in a County ordinance, it is also referenced in the 1985 Settlement Agreement. Under the Settlement Agreement, the County is obligated to maintain the curfew as established in 1985. The 2003 amendment to the Settlement Agreement continued the County’s obligation to maintain and enforce the curfew through 2020.

Q.When did negotiations on the next amendment begin?

A.The four signators began discussing an amendment of the Settlement Agreement in early 2012.

Q.Does the FAA have to approve an amendment?

A.No. The County will, however, request a formal written opinion letter from the FAA regarding the project and its compliance with the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) and FAA grant assurances.

Q.Do the airlines have to approve an amendment?

A.No. However, the airlines are an important stakeholder in this matter and may provide comments, informally and/or formally, during the environmental review process.

Q.What is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?

A.The MOU defines procedures, protocols, roles and responsibilities with respect to preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Among other things, the MOU identifies the County as the lead agency for the CEQA review, presents project objectives and project alternatives, defines an equal cost sharing agreement between the City and the County for preparation of the EIR, provides for indemnification of the County with respect to the environmental process and subsequent approvals and provides for litigation waivers by the four signators to the MOU. View MOU...

Q.What is the next step?

A.The five (5) Architect-Engineer agreements related to the analysis of specialty areas needed to complete the EIR have been approved by the Board. The specialty areas consist of Air Quality Analysis, Aviation Analysis, Noise Analysis, Traffic and Circulation Analysis, and EIR preparation.

The next step in the process is the issuance of a Notice of Preparation (NOP)/Initial Study. The County of Orange/John Wayne Airport issued the NOP on October 1, 2013. The NOP is intended to notify specific parties that an EIR is being prepared.  It includes a description and the location of the project as well as probable environmental effects of the project.  

A Draft EIR presenting the results of the environmental analysis is expected to be published in the second quarter of 2014 and will be available for public review and comment.  Following the public comment period, the Draft EIR is scheduled to be presented to the Board of Supervisors for its consideration in late summer of 2014.

Q.What is the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)?

A.CEQA is a statute that requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. For more information about CEQA, visit www.ceres.ca.gov/ceqa/.

Q.What alternatives will be studied?

A. The “Proposed Project” was delineated based on input received from the City of Newport Beach, AWG and SPON. “Alternative A” was delineated based on information contained in the FAA’s “Terminal Area Forecast Detail Report” (January 2013). “Alternative B” was delineated based on input from JWA’s commercial air service providers. “Alternative C” was delineated based on the physical capacity of JWA’s airfield. View Proposed Project and Alternatives...

Q.Why can’t the Board of Supervisors select a preferred alternative now?

A.As the lead agency for the CEQA process, the County is precluded from pre-judging the environmental analysis to be conducted. The ultimate decision maker, the Board of Supervisors in this case, may not make any determination as to which project will or should be adopted until the completion of the environmental analysis and public comment process.

Q.Can the public comment on the proposed project, alternatives and the analysis?

A.Yes. The NOP comment period is designed to allow input from a defined set of parties, but the public may choose to submit comments on this document. Anyone may submit comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

Q.When will the process be complete?

A.The goal is to conclude the environmental review and decision making process in 2014.