Long Beach : Airport Noise Law Enacted

The City Council Tuesday formally approved an ordinance that ties expansion of Long Beach Airport to airlines' compliance with strict guidelines for noise.

The ordinance, approved 7-0 with council member Edd Tuttle absent, says that the number of daily commercial flights can be expanded on a quarterly basis from the current 18 to a maximum of 32. The increase of up to two new flights per quarter can only be approved if airlines adhere to a 65-decibel noise limit for adjacent residential areas, according to the ordinance.

The council in a unanimous July 1 vote authorized City Atty. John R. Calhoun to draft the ordinance. After a second reading, scheduled for Tuesday, the ordinance is to become law Aug. 22.

In amendments to the ordinance approved Tuesday, the first 10 new flights would be awarded on a preferential basis to airlines not no doing business at the airport, according to Assistant City Atty. Robert E. Shannon. Any additional flights will then be awarded on a random basis to all interested airlines, Shannon said.

The ordinance is expected to be challenged in court by several airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration, which has favored expanding the number of daily commercial flights to at least 40. Also, the ordinance will be reviewed on July 28 by U.S. District Judge Laughlin Waters. In 1983, Waters struck down a city airport noise ordinance, saying it was arbitrary in the way it allocated flights.

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