Environmental Review of Proposed Amendments to Settlement Agreement Begins
Nearly 30 years ago, the County of Orange, the City of Newport Beach, the Airport Working Group (AWG) and Stop Polluting Our Newport (SPON) reached consensus on the nature and extent of facility and operational improvements that could be implemented at John Wayne Airport (JWA). The "Settlement Agreement," as it is now known, has become the regulatory foundation for commercial operations at JWA and is recognized throughout the country as one of the most enduring and successful collaborations between an airport proprietor and its neighbors.
There are six principal elements in the Settlement Agreement: (1) term of the agreement; (2) curfew; (3) annual passenger limit, referred to as the Million Annual Passenger Cap (MAP Cap); (4) number of Class A Average Daily Departures (ADDs) allocated for passenger service; (5) number of Class A Average Daily Departures (ADDs) allocated for all-cargo service; and (6) number of passenger loading bridges. While the curfew was created and has its legal basis in the County’s General Aviation Noise Ordinance (GANO), it is also referenced in the Settlement Agreement. Under the 2003 amendment, the County is obligated to maintain and enforce the curfew through 2020.
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. In early 2012, those signators came together again to discuss a second extension. A proposed project, crafted by the City of Newport Beach, AWG and SPON, and a series of project alternatives are set to be studied in an environmental review that is about to begin.
The first step in the process is the issuance of a Notice of Preparation (NOP)/Initial Study. 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 to be analyzed in the EIR. A copy of the NOP, issued October 1, 2013, is available on JWA’s website at: www.ocair.com/NOP.
The Airport will be hosting a scoping meeting on the NOP. The meeting will be open to the public and will take place on Thursday, October 17, 2013, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Airport Commission room in JWA’s administrative offices located at 3160 Airway Avenue, Costa Mesa. Airport staff and the primary EIR consultant (BonTerra) will be present to discuss the CEQA process and receive comments.
With respect to timing for the remainder of the process, a Draft EIR presenting the results of the environmental analysis is expected to be published in the first quarter of 2014 and will be made 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 the summer of 2014.