14 C.F.R. Part 150 "Airport Noise Compatibility Planning"

The FAA issued interim rules at 14 C.F.R. Part 150 in 1981 to implement portions of Title I of the Airport Safety and Noise Act. 46 Fed. Reg. 8316 (January 26, 1981). Part 150 prescribes requirements for airport operators who choose to develop airport planning compatibility programs and establishes a single system of measuring airport noise and a single system for determining the exposure of individuals to airport noise. [FN 1] The final rule was published on December 18, 1984. 49 Fed. Reg. 49260 (December 18, 1984).

Appendix A of Part 150 establishes a uniform methodology for developing and preparing airport noise exposure maps. Noise exposure maps must include continuous contours for yearly day-night average sound levels (YDNL) levels of 65, 70 and 75 dB. Airport proprietors must identify the land uses in the contours with YDNL 65 dB or above, and determine whether those land uses are compatible with those noise levels. Appendix A, Sec. AI50.l01(a).

Regarding land use compatibility, the FAA determined for purposes of Part 150 that "all land uses are considered to be compatible with noise levels less than Ldn [FN 2] 65 dB" while noting that "local needs or values may dictate further delineation based on local requirements or determinations." [FN 3] Part 150, Appendix A, Sec. A150.10l(d). In Table 1, the FAA described in greater detail what land uses are compatible or incompatible with various yearly day-night average sound levels. It is stated in Table 1 that residential land uses are compatible with YDNL below 65 and incompatible with YDNL above 65. [FN 4] The following statement appears beneath Table 1.

The designations contained in this table do not constitute a Federal determination that any use of land covered by the program is acceptable or unacceptable under Federal, State, or local law. The responsibility for determining the acceptable and permissible land uses and the relationship between specific properties and specific noise contours rests with the local authorities. FAA determinations under part 150 are not intended to substitute federal determined land uses for those determined to be appropriate by local authorities in response to locally determined needs and values in achieving noise compatible land uses.
(Emphasis added.)

The noise exposure map must identify each noncompatible land use [FN 5] in each area on the map as of the date of submission to the FAA. 14 C.F.R. 150.21(a). The airport operator also should submit another map indicating noise exposures based on forecast aircraft operations for the fifth calendar year after the date of submission. 14 C.F.R. 150.21(a)(l). When developing these maps, the airport operator must consult with state and local agencies with jurisdiction over the areas wjthin the DNL 65 dB contour, FAA officials, and aeronautical users of the airport. 14 C.F.R. 150.21(b).

Once the FAA approves the submitted noise exposure maps, the airport operator may submit a noise compatibility program. 14 C.F.R. 150.23(a). [FN 6] A noise compatibility program must include a description and analysis of the alternative measures that the airport operator considered, an explanation regarding the reasons that the airport operator rejected any measures, and a description of the measures that the airport operator proposes to adopt to reduce or eliminate present and future noncompatible land uses. 14 C.F.R. 150.23(e)(2) and (3). When preparing the program, the airport operator must consult with local, state and Federal agencies, as well as airport users. 14 C.F.R. 150.23(b). The FAA's evaluation of a noise compatibility program must include a determination of whether the proposed measures are reasonably consistent with the goal of reducing existing noncompatible land uses and preventing the introduction of additional noncompatibJe land uses. 14 C.F.R. 150.33(a). [FN 7]


[FN 1] Section 150.9 provides as follows:
For purposes of this part, the following designations apply:
(a) The noise at an airport and surrounding areas covered by a noise exposure map must be measured in A-weighted sound pressure level ... in units of decibels (dBA) in accordance with the specifications and methods prescribed under appendix A of this part.
(b) The exposure of individuals to noise resulting from the operation of an airport must be established in terms of yearly day-night average sound level (YDNL) calculated in accordance with the specifications and methods prescribed under appendix A of this part.
14 C.F.R. l50.9(a).

[FN 2] Ldn is the symbol for day-night average sound level (DNL). DNL "means the 24-hour average sound level in decibels, for the period from midnight to midnight, obtained after the addition of ten decibels to sound levels for the period between midnight and 7 a.m. and between 10 p.m. and midnight, local time." 14 C.F.R. 150.7 (definition of day-night average sound level).

[FN 3] As stated in the preamble to the interim rules:
By identifying "normally compatible land uses, Part 150 does not usurp or preempt the authority and responsibility of State and local authorities to exercise their police powers with respect to the development and implementation of local land use policy.
46 Fed. Reg. at 8317.

[FN 4] The FAA based this determination upon the findings of the Federal Interagency Committee on Urban Noise (FICUN), which was formed in 1979 to develop Federal policy and guidance on noise. In its 1980 report, the FICUN found that standard residential construction was compatible with noise exposure from all sources up to DNL 65 dB. (Connor Direct at 4.)

[FN 5] Noncompatible land use is defined as a "use of land that is identified under [Part 150] as normally not compatible with the outdoor noise environment (or an adequately attenuated noise reduction level for the indoor activities involved at the location) because the yearly day-night average sound level is above that identified for that or similar use under appendix A (Table 1) of [Part 150]." 14 C.F.R. 150.7 (definition of noncompatible land use).

[FN 6] A noise compatibility program includes the actions proposed or taken by the airport operator to reduce existing noncompatible land uses and to prevent the introduction of additional noncompatible land uses within the area covered by the noise exposure map. 14 C.F.R. 150.7 (definition of airport noise compatibility program); 14 C.F.R. Part 150, App. B, Sec. B.150.1 (a).

[FN 7] See also 14 C.F.R. l50.35(b)(1), which provides that the "Administrator approves programs under this part if --
(1) It is found that the program measures to be implemented would not create an undue burden on interstate or foreign commerce (including any unjust discrimination) and are reasonab]y consistent with achieving the goals of reducing existing noncompatible land uses around the airport and of preventing the introduction of additional noncompatible land uses[.]"
14 C.F.R. 150.35(b).

Source: "Final Agency Decision and Order: In the Matter of Compliance with Federal Obligations by the Naples Airport Authority, Naples, Florida," August 25, 2003 (FAA Docket 16-01-15), pages 6-9.