The Orange County Board of Supervisors took another step Tuesday in the process of approving a plan to keep flight curfews in place at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana through 2035.
The supervisors unanimously voted to create an environmental impact report on the plan. The move clears the way for a series of community meetings inviting public comment on the proposal.
"There will be plenty of opportunity for the public to offer their opinions," said Supervisor John Moorlach, who represents the district that includes the airport.
Orange County supervisors and the Federal Aviation Administration still have to give final approval to the plan, which stems from a 1985 lawsuit settlement between the city, the Airport Working Group and Stop Polluting Our Newport.
The environmental review will examine what impact extending the agreement would have on the airport's neighbors. The review process is expected to be done early next year.
The proposed curfew would continue a ban on commercial plane departures before 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and before 8 a.m. on Sunday, and on arrivals after 11 p.m.
The proposal also would cap passenger flow at 10.8 million for another eight years through 2020, with a million more travelers allowed between 2021 through 2025.
During 2026-30, 700,000 more passengers would be allowed if the airport sees at least 11.2 million passengers in any year from 2021 through 2025. If that level is not reached, then only 400,000 more passengers would be allowed between 2026 and 2030.
The cap of 85 average daily departures of commercial flights and four cargo flights would be maintained through 2020, with 10 additional daily commercial flights and no new cargo flights allowed, beginning in 2021.
Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry hailed the board's decision.
"The board's unanimous vote today was welcome news," Curry said. "We greatly appreciate Supervisor Moorlach's leadership on this issue.
"We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at the county, the Airport Working Group and Stop Polluting Our Newport to gain approval of the John Wayne Settlement Agreement extension and making sure the important protections therein remain in place for years to come."
-City News Service