Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - April 2, 2010

Editorial

Jet noise still a concern for Pleasanton

Nearly a decade of debates, committee meetings and frequent complaints over the future of the Livermore Airport may have been concluded successfully last week when the Livermore City Council approved an environmental impact report and rezoned the airport to allow for limited expansion but no major increase in air traffic. We use the word "may" because the Pleasanton City Council has yet to obtain and review all of the documents Livermore endorsed nor has it had a response to its March 16 letter commenting on the EIR. A major concern is jet airplane traffic -- particularly the noise from these jets that generally fly over Pleasanton neighborhoods in the vicinity of Mohr and Fairlands elementary schools and the soon-to-be developed senior housing development on Staples Ranch. The impacts from jet travel could be significant in those portions of Pleasanton and City Manager Nelson Fialho, in his letter to Livermore Principal Planner Susan Frost, stated that "we (Pleasanton) disagree with the FEIR findings that the single-event noise impacts in Pleasanton will be insignificant." FEIR refers to Livermore's Final Environmental Impact Report which analyzed and recommended approval of the airport rezoning ordinance.

We're concerned, too. Even though all of Pleasanton's homes are outside of the airport's noises contour as defined by Livermore, airport authorities received 60 aircraft noise-related complaints from Pleasanton residents in 2009. This number counts as only one complaint each from two residents who call to complain regularly. It also includes a 10-percent decrease for flights not associated with the Livermore airport with more complaints being made last year when Southwest Airlines re-routed its incoming flights to Oakland closer to the skies over the Ruby Hill and Vintage Hills neighborhoods. These complaints are expected to increase as more jets fly in and out of Livermore. Both Bechtel Corp., which now manages the Livermore Labs, and San Ramon-headquartered Chevron have the largest fleet of corporate planes at Oakland International Airport and could find Livermore more convenient in the future. The Livermore and Sandia labs also attract government-owned jets flying here from Albuquerque and Washington, D.C., and that traffic could increase. Other Tri-Valley companies that have their own aircraft and also have suppliers that travel here frequently on corporate jets include Safeway Corp. and Kaiser Permanente.

In rezoning the airport land, the Livermore City Council also promised that any future development at the airport will only be approved based on actual demand, that airport managers will not encourage major cargo carriers to use the Livermore airport as a more convenient landing field than Oakland, that the city has no intention of expanding either of the airport's two runways and that it will continue to work with Pleasanton and other Tri-Valley communities, including its own residents, to monitor noise and seek noise abatement where possible.

The Pleasanton City Council plans to take another look at the documents Livermore just approved to see if they satisfy the city's long-standing and frequently-stated airport noise, jet traffic and safety concerns. If not, another round of public hearings and possible litigation may follow.

Comments

Posted by a local, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 2, 2010 at 9:36 am

Bottom line. The Livermore city council took all five parts of the
Lamp (Livermore Airport Master Plan) over the last six years and
passed them in city council meetings individually despite the
thousands of residents who did not want this. The Livermore
City Councils past and present have put approximately half the city of Livermore under the flight path.

The FBO (Fixed Base Operator) that will now be built due to the rezoning will cater to jets, 30 seats or less. The Livermore Municipal Airport will become a jet port and will force the single engine pilots out. Exactly what occured at the Santa Monica airport. One of the local pilots, Brett Wayne, went before the city council and asked them not to turn the airport into a Jetport.

The FBO that will build the aviation mall is going to cater to jets, 30 seats or less. That is his market. Not the single engine pilots.

The Livermore City Council has never written or spoken the word "serenity" and nether has the city staff.

If the registered voters of Livermore want this insanity to stop then
they need to vote these council members out of office and vote people into office that understand serenity and quality of life for everyone and will not divide the city into the haves and the have nots.



Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm

it doesn't affect me...I'm out of the way...what else to do you have to complain about?


Posted by Barry, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm

> City Councils past and present have put approximately half the city of Livermore under the flight path.

The City Council doesn't control the flight paths of either aircraft arriving or departing Livermore or aircraft that are flying over the valley to Oakland (e.g. Southwest).

> The FBO (Fixed Base Operator) that will now be built due to the rezoning will cater to jets,
> 30 seats or less. The Livermore Municipal Airport will become a jet port and will force the
> single engine pilots out. Exactly what occured at the Santa Monica airport. One of the local
> pilots, Brett Wayne, went before the city council and asked them not to turn the airport into a Jetport.

The FBO will cater to both Jet and prop aircraft alike. If anything, having an FBO at Livermore will reduce jet traffic. Now, jets may arrive at Livermore to drop off passengers, take off to fly to Oakland for services and then fly back to Livermore. That adds an extra takeoff and landing.

Contrary to what a small handful of residents keep saying, nobody is turning Livermore into a "jet port". What these residents really want to do is to close the airport by spreading false information. They moved into neighborhoods next to an active airport and then acted "surprised" when they saw airplanes.


Posted by donotforget, a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm

The airport was built in 1961. If you don't like the noise, don't buy land near an airport. Of course, over 75% of the noise complaints (in total) come from two households in Pleasanton - both of which were built well after 1961!

People buy land near an airport because it is cheap and then active all hot and bothered when they discovere that there are actually airplanes that use the airport 24 hours a day. They need to read the deed disclosures rather than just take the word of the real estate agent.

This is inherently unfair to the airport. But, who cares about fair...


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