The City of Laguna Beach is pleased to announce the settlement of its lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) challenging the Metroplex decision as it relates to commercial jet aircraft operations at John Wayne Airport (JWA). The City Council filed the lawsuit because the Metroplex environmental document and record of decision appeared to give the FAA broad discretion to adopt standard commercial jet departure and arrival procedures dramatically different than longstanding patterns that would potentially have a significant noise impact on Laguna Beach residents.
Over the past three years, there has been a significant decrease in the number of commercial jets departing JWA that have overflown the 8.5 miles of coastline in Laguna Beach and the City Council was concerned that the Metroplex decision might alter that trend. As a result of the litigation and the settlement agreement, the JWA departure procedure to minimize flights over Laguna Beach at low altitudes will remain in place with a commitment to maintain planes on prescribed flight paths unless deviating for safety reasons. More importantly, the departure procedure calls for aircraft to cross the coast south of Laguna Beach where they are expected to be at an altitude of more than 10,000 feet above sea level thereby decreasing noise impacts. More frequent use of this departure procedure will mean that the decrease in overflights will continue over time. Occasional Laguna Beach overflights may still occur when necessary to ensure aircraft safety.
The City and the FAA also agreed to cooperate on possible modifications to the commercial jet approach to JWA during Santa Ana wind conditions so that Laguna Beach residents experience as little noise as possible.
The City appreciates the FAA’s willingness to discuss the issues in good faith and enter into an agreement that will reduce aircraft overflights of Laguna Beach and establish the basis for ongoing discussions designed to review, and possibly modify, certain procedures in a way to further reduce noise impacts.