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NOISE ORDINANCE BAD FOR VALLEY BUSINESS.

Byline: Mark Sullivan

ACROSS the street from my aviation facility are homes and apartments that the city has allowed builders to construct. And it is for this reason that the operators at the Van Nuys Airport have taken a ``bad rap'' by the surrounding residences. The city of Los Angeles has ignored the requests by the airport operators not to allow the building of homes and apartments near the airport, as it will only cause friction between aviation operators and residences over airport noise.

Now, because of the city's past mistakes, the city has proposed an airport noise ordinance that will have a severe negative impact on the aviation operators on the airport and the communities throughout the Valley that depend on the airport.

The airport's own outside independent consultant along with others have estimated that the loss of jobs will be in the hundreds and the loss of revenue to the area in the hundreds of millions of dollars if the City Council passes the proposed ordinance.

Already one major corporation's flight department has moved to Burbank Airport instead of Van Nuys as a result of the proposed noise ordinance.

Van Nuys Airport, the fifth busiest airport in the country, employs more than 10,000 workers and is the largest economic engine in the Valley, contributing more than $1.2 billion to the local economy.

The city and the Valley can ill afford to place severe economic restrictions on this airport to placate a small number of residents in an area of 1.5 million households.

Some area residents say that the noise is getting worse, but in fact the noise contour of the airport has shrunk by more than 20 percent from the forecasted noise contour in the Federal Aviation Administration's Part 150 study, to less than .008 per square mile of incompatible land use area in the noise contour. In comparison to LAX, which does not have any noise regulations, Van Nuys Airport's noise contour of incompatible land use is less than 1 percent of the Los Angeles International Airport.

Homeowners against the airport have also complained that their home values have gone down significantly because of the noise caused by Van Nuys Airport. But a recent survey, conducted by an outside independent real estate service, has shown that their home values increased substantially, especially in Encino and Sherman Oaks where home values have increased by double digits, leading the Southern California area.

What is so ironic about the proposed noise ordinance is that it will cause more noise instead of less and also shift additional noise to neighboring communities around the Burbank and Los Angeles airports. This is because aircraft seeking not to violate the city's proposed ordinance will drop off their passengers at Van Nuys Airport and then fly to neighboring Burbank or LAX airports to base their aircraft. Therefore, instead of one landing and departure, there will be multiple landings and departures thereby transferring the noise.

It is further ironic that the city of Los Angeles is threatening to sue Burbank Airport because of noise that it now wants to transfer to Burbank Airport.

There are issues with the proposed noise ordinance other than transference of noise. The city will most likely have to defend lawsuits filed by the operators on the airport and by trade groups. This will be expensive and costly to the city's taxpayers. The assistant city attorney for the Los Angeles World Airports has admitted in writing that the passage of the ordinance will cause the city to be exposed to an unknown amount of monetary damages by the airport operators. The only defense that the city is relying on a is so-called exemption under federal law, which allows airports to grandfather in regulations. But such a regulation has to have been initiated by the city of Los Angeles City Council prior to October of 1989. Records show that this was never done.

The proposed noise ordinance is not the solution at Van Nuys Airport. It only allows city and government officials in the Valley to wash their hands of this issue so they can proclaim to their constituents that they did something.

Instead, if they pass this ordinance, they will transfer noise to neighboring communities, cause hundreds of people to lose their jobs, lose millions of dollars of tax base, and enter the city into potential lawsuits for which the taxpayers will eventually have to pay, as they so frequently do.

The City Council must not ignore the vote by the Van Nuys Airport Advisory Committee; it must not ignore the pleas of its Van Nuys Airport tenants; and it must not ignore the anti-airport homeowner groups who also oppose this ordinance.

The City Council should listen to its community and its businesses and reject this ill-conceived ordinance, which is being mistaken by all sides and seriously pushed only by certain council members with broader political careers that create appeal for free publicity at the cost of the city.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 22, 1999
Words:830
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