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Panel Expands Airport Curfew

Homeowner groups and Van Nuys Airport tenants left the Thursday meeting of the city Airport Commission a little relieved but far from satisfied.

The commission voted to expand the curfew for planes at Van Nuys Airport, something homeowner groups and area residents have pursued for years and a concession that airport tenants believe would cause little negative impact.

The provision now goes to the City Council, which is expected to approve it.

The change sets the curfew one hour earlier, at 10 p.m. for takeoffs and landings. The curfew currently takes effect at 11 p.m.

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Left unresolved was whether the airport should close its hangars to noisy planes under the “non-addition” rule, which limits the number of noisy aircraft permitted to land at the facility.

Although the commission had no reservations about approving the early curfew provision, a vote on the non-addition rule was delayed for 60 to 90 days to give the Department of Airports a chance to conduct a noise study and economic analysis of the airport.

“We’re not going to adopt a provision that has so many questions,” said Tom Henry, an aide to Councilman Joel Wachs. “An ordinance that could have such a big impact must be reviewed so we can make a fair and balanced decision.”

Others agreed, saying the issue needs to be further explored.

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“We’re fine with the curfew, we understand the need for it,” said Harold Lee, president of the Van Nuys Airport Assn. “But the non-addition rule could have a serious negative impact on the tenants and it needs to be looked at. Jobs could be lost.”

Members of the homeowner associations, however, say the curfew is not enough.

“The curfew is just a drop in the bucket,” said Gerald Silver, president of Homeowners of Encino and a member of the Stop The Noise Coalition, a group composed of 24 homeowner organizations.

“The only way we’ll be happy is if the noisy jets are phased out.”

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The commission has no plans to look into that matter, according to a spokesman.


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