Huntington Beach looking for solutions to flight path noise

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The Huntington Beach city council is looking for ways to alleviate concerns and frustrations from residents about new flight paths over parts of the city.

City leaders have asked for help at the state and federal level. Al Masters has spent more time looking up at the skies above his home lately.

He said they've become more crowded and louder, especially in the morning.

"It is a problem, and it's getting increasingly worse. We wish it would change," Masters said.

Masters and many others who live in the area have been calling the city council about increased air traffic over their homes. City council member Patrick Brenden said the complaints range from planes coming in low to the frequency.

"Where they might have seen a flight every hour in the past, they might be seeing five to 10 flights per hour now under the new guidelines," Brenden said.

Brenden added these are flights from Long Beach, Los Angeles and John Wayne airports.

In March, the Federal Aviation Administration changed the flight paths to more precise, satellite-assisted ones to open up corridors, reduce flight delays and save fuel. The FAA's initial report said there would be no significant impact.

"There were flaws in the FAA's approach, which is why we're seeing the impact and feeling the feedback from our community," Brenden said.

The FAA sent us this statement: "The FAA is aware of noise concerns in the Huntington Beach area and investigated the issue. We compared flight track data from a one-week period before we implemented the Southern California Metroplex Project to flight track data from a one-week period after we implemented the project. While the data showed there was an overall reduction in the dispersal of flight paths after implementation, the Metroplex flight paths generally have remained within the confines of the historical track data.

"The FAA conducted extensive public outreach for the project. We held more than two dozen public workshops and a number of webinars, and analyzed and responded to more than 4,000 public comments."

In 2016, Newport Beach sued the FAA in federal court over the issue, something Huntington Beach is not ruling out.

"I hope they consider the residents and the effect on property values and the disturbing element," Masters said.

The city formed a working group to study the issue and asked local and federal leaders for help.

"If it continues this direction and gets worse with increased flights, we're going to have a problem with it," Masters said.

The working group plans on holding a workshop next month to present the information and its findings to residents.
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