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Frequently Asked Questions

John Wayne Airport 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 signatories 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 signatories.

Q. When does the Settlement Agreement expire?

A. The original Settlement Agreement was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2005. In 2003, the four signatories approved a series of amendments to the Settlement Agreement that extended the agreement through December 31, 2015. This amendment 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 "Million Annual Passenger Cap" or "MAP 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.

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

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 was established in the County’s General Aviation Noise Ordinance (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 was 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. What is the current status of the Settlement Agreement amendment process?

A. On September 10, 2014, the Planning Commission will be asked to consider and make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the adequacy of the EIR. On September 17, 2014, the Airport Commission will be asked to consider and make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the proposed project.  The Proposed Project, Alternatives and the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR 617) are scheduled to be considered by the Orange County Board of Supervisors on September 30, 2014. Once they are publicly available, agendas for each meeting will be posted here for the Planning Commission, here for the Airport Commission and here for the Board of Supervisors.

Q. Will the Responses to Comments be Available to the Public?

A. The Draft EIR, Technical Appendices, and Responses to Comments will be available for review between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm at the John Wayne Airport Administrative office, located at 3160 Airway Avenue in Costa Mesa and at the City of Newport Beach Planning Department located at 100 Civic Center Drive in Newport Beach. Please call 24 hours in advance to view these documents at the Airport (949.252.5171) or the City of Newport Beach (949.644.3200). The Draft EIR and Technical Appendices may be viewed online here.  The Responses to Comments to the Draft EIR may be viewed online here.

The documents are also available in electronic format at the following public libraries:

Costa Mesa/Donald Dugan
1855 Park Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Costa Mesa/Mesa Verde
2969 Mesa Verde Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

El Modena
380 South Hewes Street
Orange, CA 92869

Irvine/Heritage Park
14361 Yale Avenue
Irvine, CA 92604

Irvine/University Park
4512 Sandburg Way
Irvine, CA 92612

Laguna Beach
363 Glenneyre Street
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Mariners Library
1300 Irvine Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Newport Beach
1000 Avocado Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92660

407 East Chapman Avenue
Orange, CA 92866

Santa Ana
26 Civic Center Plaza
Santa Ana, CA 92701

345 East Main Street
Tustin, CA 92780

Villa Park Library
17865 Santiago Blvd.
Villa Park, CA 92861

Q. Can the public provide input?

A. Yes. The meetings of the Planning Commission, Airport Commission and Board of Supervisors are open to the public and the public will have an opportunity to provide oral comments at those meetings.

Q. Does the FAA have to approve any amendments?

A. No. The County has requested 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 important stakeholders in this matter and may provide input.

Q. Who makes the final decision?

A. As the owner and operator of John Wayne Airport, the County of Orange is the "lead agency" for this project. As a result, the Board of Supervisors is responsible for adopting a project, certifying the environmental impact report and taking related actions. 

It is important to note that any amendment of the Settlement Agreement would also require the approval of the other three signatories: the City of Newport Beach, the Airport Working Group and Stop Polluting Our Newport. Before an amendment is considered final, a stipulation from all four signatories must be filed with the U.S. District Court which would then need to review and confirm the amendment.