Lawyer: JWA curfew likely to survive

A lawyer negotiating John Wayne Airport noise restrictions said Wednesday evening that the airport's nighttime curfew would likely be preserved during this round of deliberations.

Barbara E. Lichman, executive counsel for the Airport Working Group, told the activist organization's members that the curfew did not appear to be a point of contention.

The sleeping-hours ban is among John Wayne Airport's unusual operating restrictions, many of which are set to expire in 2015.

Activist groups, Newport Beach city officials, county administrators and others have met three times to renegotiate the airport's guidelines, Lichman said.

While the curfew doesn't expire until 2020, it is one of Newport residents' most cherished protections and some residents were concerned it could become a bargaining chip for airlines and FAA regulators. Planes depart over many Newport homes.

Lichman said she doesn't believe the curfew was at "serious risk"… "We don't believe it is going to be an obstacle at all."

John Wayne's curfew prohibits planes from taking off between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. on Sundays.

The other key limits under review include a cap on passengers at 10.8 million per year, a limit of 20 gates, and constraints on the types and numbers of planes allowed to depart.

Lichman delivered a brief update at the organization's annual meeting at the Balboa Yacht Club. Newport Beach Mayor Nancy Gardner and former Mayor Clarence "Bus" Turner also addressed the group.

Turner was instrumental in the 1985 court settlement that initially imposed the airport's limits. That settlement agreement was last amended in 2003, after about nine months of talks.

Discussions this time could last up to two years, Lichman said, as they will likely require an environmental review.

Gardner said "we are all optimistic" about the talks.

Twitter: @mreicher

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