The data for what's called "single event noise" events, sound that is generated in a short time period likely by a single aircraft, is useful because such events are the source of most complaints reported by residents, many of whom are concerned about a pending expansion request from KaiserAir.
KaiserAir, which operates out of Oakland and Santa Rosa, wants to add a 45-acre maintenance facility that would bring three Boeing 737s and other charter aircraft to Livermore. The company estimates about 100 737 flights would occur annually.
When completed, the facility would include a 6.5-acre concrete apron, offices, a terminal, hangar space, maintenance service facilities, a self-fueling station, and fuel storage facilities. KaiserAir states that it plans to store and service aircraft used for charter flights out of Oakland and Sonoma County airports. The expansion would provide the city of Livermore with $300,000 in tax revenue and $150,000 each to Livermore and Pleasanton school districts.
The number of flights at Livermore Municipal Airport was down in 2020, but jumped up in the first part of 2021, with the six-month tally increasing by 16 percent over 2019 operations. The city of Pleasanton said more flights appear to violate the voluntary guidelines Livermore adopted to restrict night flying and recommended flight paths. The city of Pleasanton has received more than 85 emails and a petition with more than 6,000 signatures concerning such violations.
Residents increasingly report disturbances from jet traffic, which also accounts for more than 60 percent of complaints received by airport staff. While some may attribute these concerns to more residents working from home during the pandemic, many of the concerns appear to be from flights during nights and weekends.
KaiserAir has committed to adhering to the airport's voluntary night flight restrictions, and it promises to help mitigate noise impacts.
The proposal requires review by three different Livermore government bodies. The Livermore Airport Commission reviewed the project on Feb. 8, 2021 and voted to recommend approval to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will review the project for compliance with city standards and land use policies. The project must also go to the Livermore City Council for review and consideration of the lease to KaiserAir.
The airport has long been a source of tension between the cities of Pleasanton and Livermore. A report about the issue posted on Pleasanton's website discussed the noise issues, the expansion and what the city says has been a lack of follow-through when it comes to honoring airport partnership commitments made by both City Councils in 2010.
That report also critiqued the airport's "lack of adherence to voluntary nighttime-noise abatement and flight-path programs adopted with good intent by Livermore, including more robust follow-up with city of Pleasanton residents regarding registered noise complaints."
Because KaiserAir's proposal would provide 162,000 square feet of additional hanger complex space, Pleasanton is concerned more than three 737s will use the facility, so Pleasanton is asking Livermore to provide an environmental impact analysis of the project and to offer potential mitigations under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Pleasanton also is asking that the two cities resume quarterly meetings of the Livermore / Pleasanton Liaison Committee to improve communications and to promote mutual understanding of airport operations.
The next meeting of the Livermore Airport Commission is scheduled for noon Jan. 10.