Mather (California) Airport Noise Suit Settled

APRIL 23, 2008

The City of Folsom and the County of Sacramento have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit filed by Folsom last year over the expansion of cargo operations at Mather Airport's DHL Facility. The Folsom City Council and Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved the terms of the agreement during separate closed session discussions Tuesday.

Folsom filed the lawsuit against the Sacramento County Airport System, Sacramento County, and the Board of Supervisors in November 2007 to halt the expansion of Mather Field's cargo operations. One of the primary flight paths used by Mather cargo aircraft in the early morning and late evening is directly over the City of Folsom. Some Folsom residents have complained of significant noise problems related to these air cargo operations.

The agreement specifies that the County will take the lead in identifying and implementing potential solutions to Mather noise over-flight issues affecting Folsom residents. The City will serve as the County's partner in identifying and implementing solutions. In return, the City agrees not to raise issues with respect to Mather Airport projects that the parties agree are non-master plan projects and within 14 business days of the effective date of the agreement, the City of Folsom shall file a request for dismissal of its petition.

The County and City will jointly hire a consultant to develop noise abatement procedures and examine alternative flight paths into Mather. The consultant will also review short-term options to direct aircraft arriving from the south and east to routes that will have less impact on the populated areas of Folsom and El Dorado Hills.

County staff will inform Mather air cargo carriers that reduction or elimination of noise impacts caused by over-flights is a high priority. The consultant will facilitate meetings with the air cargo carriers to discuss alternative routes and cooperative efforts to reduce noise over-flight issues when weather and safety permits.

County and City representatives will also meet with the FAA to discuss the Nighttime Noise Abatement Procedure and address short- and long-term solutions within the control of the FAA.

"We are satisfied with the settlement and feel that this is a proactive way to address the concerns of our community and ultimately alleviate the noise impact of over-flights for area residents," said Folsom City Manger Kerry Miller.

"Mather Airport has played a historically significant role in aviation history and it now serves as a vital economic engine supporting job growth and economic development in the greater Sacramento region. We support putting into place a process that we hope will lead to a reduction or elimination of aircraft noise over the City of Folsom without shifting the noise to surrounding communities," said County Executive Terry Schutten.