Californians Fighting Airport Noise


Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport

Citizens United of Burbank (1809 Clark Avenue, Burbank, CA 91506; tel. 818.848.1808) and the City of Burbank are fighting the Airport Authority over 103 acres left unused when Lockheed announced plans to move. The land is within the airport but also within the City of Burbank. The Airport Authority is an independent agency comprising commissioners from Glendale, Pasadena, and Burbank. Burbank considered this acreage to be a unique opportunity to meet its needs for public facilities such as schools and parks. As early as 1990, the city and the Airport Authority exchanged correspondence regarding the development of the Lockheed property. The Authority at that early date was already talking about using the Lockheed site to expand the airport. In 1996 the FAA approved the airport's expansion plan. The dispute has led to several lawsuits. Further complicating the situation, residents were assured that creation of the tri-city Airport Authority in 1978 to replace private ownership would convey stronger control to the public. See Citizens United of Burbank Archives. CUB does not have a current website. See Restore Our Airport Rights (ROAR). The City of Burbank has posted a number of documents on the web at Burbank Airport News. See also Burbank Part 161 Study, an ongoing report of the airport's effort to initiate new restrictions on operations in order to abate noise.

El Toro Marine Air Base (Orange Co.)

The Orange County Board of Supervisors in 1996 wanted to develop the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station into a major commercial airport ("El Toro International Airport") to compete with John Wayne Airport. The development of the El Toro airport was opposed by a coalition of homeowner associations, the Orange County Business Coalition, Project 99 (a citizens group), and various cities and school districts. After a long, tortuous battle, opponents won. The El Toro Airport Information website has important historical and current information on the conversion of the El Toro base.

Gillespie Field (San Diego Co.)

This airfield is owned and operated by San Diego County (title transferred from the Marine Corps in 1956). It is the largest (852 acres) of eight airfields operated by the county, and presently (2015) has the largest number of pilot training schools in the county. Advocates for Safe Airport Policies is fighting an onslought of noise from touch-and-go operations by student pilots. Citizens Against Gillespie's Expansion and Low-Flying Aircraft advocates for non-aviation development of the field.

Hayward Executive Airport

The City of Hayward owns and operates a general aviation airport next to two large residential communities. The city is transforming the airport into an "executive commuter airport" in which personal and corporate jet aircraft would be the prime users of the airport. San Lorenzo Citizens Fighting Airport Noise was formed to protect against noise from the Hayward and Oakland airports.

John Wayne Airport

In 1985 Orange County, the City of Newport Beach , Stop Polluting Our Newport (SPON), and The Airport Working Group (AWG) reached a settlement concerning the development and operation of John Wayne Airport (JWA). The Settlement Agreement allows for the expansion of JWA in exchange for operational and capacity limits. The Settlement Agreement is set to expire in 2005. See JWA Limits

Livermore Municipal Airport

The airport undertook revision of its master plan in 2000 with subdued criticism largely from citizens in Livermore. However, once the neighboring cities of Dublin and Pleasanton weighed in, under intense pressure their own residents, the controversy over the impacts of airport expansion escalated to a major problem for the City of Livermore. A citizens task force was created and in 2005 Livermore postponed any action on the master plan until an environmental impact analysis had been completed. The Livermore Airport Citizens Group has been a vocal critic of expansion of the airport because of noise.

Long Beach Airport

Long Beach Hush 2 is a community organization "dedicated to ensuring that the Long Beach Airport does not degrade the quality of life of in Long Beach."

Los Angeles Metropolitan Area

Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition -- an organization dedicated to reducing helicopter noise throughout Los Angeles County.

Citizens for Quiet Helicopters -- another organization dedicated to reducing helicopter noise throughout Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles International Airport

A terrific battle has developed over the airport's plan to expand. County officials and more than 100 local cities are opposed to the expansion, favoring instead development of other regional airports. Perhaps because of the complex warfare among politicians, no community-based organizations have emerged as leaders in the fight to contain growth of the airport.

Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion -- a grassroots organization founded in 1995 to redirect expansion of air traffic away from LAX and to other airports in the region.

Los Angeles Airport Community Noise Roundtable -- like the San Francisco Airport Roundtable, after which it was modeled, this group was founded by airport management, who strictly control the group's agenda.

Peninsula Aircraft Noise/Safety Information Committee. Contact Beverly Ackerson or David Kuntz at 310.541.3026

Westside Civic Federation is concerned with LAX noise. E-mail contact Virginia Ernst; Ms. Val Cole, 3246 Barbydell Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90064; voice 310.202.6686, fax 310.559.1159.

March Air Reserve Base (Riverside Co.)

The March ARB was designated a "joint use airport" in 1993 as part of the reshuffling of air bases in the U.S. The March Joint Powers Authority (JPA) was formed to develop civilian use of the airfield. The JPA hopes to expand commercial cargo operations at the airfield. As of 2010 there were about 20,000 annual operations (take off and landing). Early in the development of civilian uses of the airfield, an organization called "Riverside Taxpayers for Responsible Planning" opposed air cargo operations at the airport, but this group appears to have disbanded.

Mather Airport (Sacramento Co.)

This former U.S. Air Force base was closed in 1993 and reopened in 1995 as a civilian airport for commercial air cargo and general aviation, while retaining some military use. Communities for a Responsible Mather Airport is a coalition of several communities affected by noise from air cargo flights at the airport, and has been fighting plans to expand cargo operations. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors continues to support the expansion.

McClellan-Palomar Airport (San Diego Co.)

McClellan-Palomar Airport is owned and operated by the County of San Diego and is located entirely within the City of Carlsbad. About 80% of the traffic is general aviation, mostly small single engine prop planes. About 15% is corporate, mostly twin engine jets. About 5% is regularly scheduled commercial flights, mostly multi-engine prop planes, but some jets. Palomar Airport Citizens Action Group, Inc. is a community of concerned citizens working to achieve harmony between the airport and the surrounding neighborhoods by implementing mandatory noise abatement procedures and curfews to regulate aircraft flight paths, altitudes, noise levels, and hours of operation in residential areas.

Miramar Marine Corps Air Station (San Diego Co.)

The MARCH Coalition Fund is a nonprofit corporation organized in 1995 by San Diego County residents to stop the planned relocation of at least 112 USMC helicopters to Miramar Air Station. Since the formation of MARCH nearly 20,000 residents and businesses, numerous civic groups, city-chartered planning organizations in the county, and three cities have formally registered with MARCH their opposition to the helicopters. The cities of Escondido, Del Mar and Poway and hundreds of individuals and businesses have contributed funds to a public information effort and lawsuit directed at keeping Marine Corps helicopters from overflying homes, schools, and businesses.

Moffett Field (Santa Clara Co.)

Alliance for a New Moffett Field comprises volunteers from Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and nearby communities. Its principal goal is to promote an open and democratic process to determine the future use of Moffett Field. The Alliance states: "Now, though the use of Moffett Field by air cargo companies is unlikely in the forseeable future, the former Naval Air Station remains an large, underutilized, attractive parcel of real estate. The Alliance continues to monitor and influence decisions about the future of Moffett Field, opposing threats to our quality of life, such as the proposed use of the Moffett runways by general aviation aircraft, and promoting uses that will serve our communities."

Oakland International Airport

Since the early 1990s the airport has had an ambitious plan to expand both its passenger and cargo traffic. This plan ran into difficulty when lawsuits successfully challenged the environmental impact reports for the airport development plan. The chief problem is rapidly growing cargo operations at night. See Oakland Airport Expansion Issues.

Oxnard Airport

Heritage Trust of Oxnard opposes continued development of the airport.

Ramona Airport (San Diego Co.)

Ramonans for Sensible Growth are concerned with plans to expand this county-owned general aviation airport in San Diego County. Contact Janine Moniot, P.O. Box 1633, Ramona, CA 92065, tel. 760.789.9417.

Reid-Hillview Airport (San Jose)

Reid-Hillview is a general aviation airport in the middle of a residential district in San Jose. See Close Reid-Hillview .

San Carlos Airport (San Mateo Co.)

Calm the Skies is a grassroots organization fighting excessive noise from a commuter airline at the airport.

San Francisco International Airport

SFO's wish to expand its capacity by building new runways into the bay met a solid wall of opposition in conservationists and activists in communities affected by air traffic. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown all but lost his political muscle to ram through the project when the city elected a majority of anti-Brown supervisors.

SFO Community Roundtable -- How not to do it -- trapped in the airport bureaucracy.

Sky Posse Palo Alto is an organization of residents of Palo Alto, south of SFO, fighting the noise of jet traffic to the airport.

UPROAR is an organization of residents of various San Francisco Peninsula communities organized to eliminate air traffic and air noise over residential areas. UPROAR was formed when people realized that the SFO Community Roundtable, run by the airport, had no effective role in mitigating airport-related noise. They are specifically concerned that noise abatement measures promised by SFO in an environmental impact report on its present development plan are not being implemented.

San Jose International Airport

SJO is in the midst of an ambitious development program, but at the same time is holding tough on enforcement of its strict aircraft noise abatement rules. The city refused to sign extensions of contracts with two noisy air carriers, and was sued by billionaire Larry Ellison when it refused to allow him to fly his noisy jet in and out of the airport in the middle of the night. In 2001 the court decreed that Ellison was exempt from the airport's noise rules. See Litigation News

Citizens Against Airport Pollution (CAAP) filed a suit against the City in Santa Clara County Superior Court, July 14, 1997, challenging the environmental impact report on the airport's master plan. CAAP, which includes a number of neighborhood associations, claims that the City has been completely insensitive to the impact of airport development on city residents, especially those near the airport, and that the aircraft noise and road congestion resulting from the planned expansion will be intolerable. In 2010 CAAP filed another suit against the City, this time over an amendment to the airport master plan. See Litigation News

Santa Monica Airport

Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution.

Van Nuys Airport

Approximately 113 acres of airport land that were vacant on January 1, 1995 are proposed for development in the draft Airport Master Plan. About half this land would be devoted to increased air traffic. The authors of the Environmental Impact Report on the proposed development admit: "From a strictly environmental standpoint, the 'No Change in Pre-Project Conditions' (no-project) alternative would be considered superior to all other alternatives." But they go on to conclude, what the hell, let's build anyway! See Vannoise.org


Groups Outside California Fighting Airport Noise


[Updated August 8, 2015]