Amid residents' complaints, Newport Beach considers updating airport noise analysis

Newport Beach is considering updating an impact study for noise at John Wayne Airport as residents are roiled by recent changes in takeoff patterns.

City Manager Dave Kiff said a resolution he will take to the City Council on Tuesday is generally intended to memorialize Newport’s long history of actions to protect residents from the airport’s effects. But it does reflect some new strategies, including updating the departure noise impact analysis conducted by ASRC Research and Technology Solutions in 2008.

Kiff said an update will help the city and others know more about which flights are using which departure path and how newer planes affect the “noise footprint.”

The resolution also formally encourages pilots and carriers to reach a higher takeoff altitude and use appropriate noise abatement procedures when safe to do so.

New departure paths implemented this spring have planes not staying directly over Upper Newport Bay as they did before. The city argues that flights headed to points east of Las Vegas now veer too far west, and the path that heads to the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest is too far east.

That shift a few hundred feet from the water and closer to homes has ignited public outcry.

The flight path alterations are part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Southern California Metroplex project. The FAA says the new air traffic system covering the region’s airports, including John Wayne, will shore up inefficiencies, saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions and flight delays.

The city has created a form on its website to collect complaints to forward to the FAA. Residents can find the form by clicking “Nextgen Departure Concerns at JWA” under the “Trending” tab at

The council will hear about the issue, and members of the public can share their concerns, at a study session preceding Tuesday’s regular meeting. The council will vote at the regular session on whether to accept the resolution.

New sewer rates

Also planned for the meeting, the council could finalize new sewer rates. The council gave tentative approval this month to a new rate structure that would see the typical residential sewer bill climb by $2.36 per month starting next year, and continue to climb incrementally through 2022.

Civic Center Park sculptures

The council will cast the final vote on which sculptures to place next in Civic Center Park. The rotating sculpture exhibit, now entering its third phase, will get nine new pieces in October. The city Arts Commission made its selections earlier this month after a series of meetings and public outreach efforts.

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 4 p.m. with the study session, followed by the regular session at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive.

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