Friday, July 31, 2015

$54K Noise Violation Settlement Will Fund Local Events

Funds totaling $54,000 from a recent settlement with a charter airline will go toward community events for residents that live within the flight path, a local non-profit has said.

The fine will be paid to the Long Beach Community Foundation (LBCF), a non-profit that provides funds and assistance to charitable organizations throughout the city.

“Most likely it will be something that’s already happening that we can contribute to, rather than do something that’s completely new and different,” said Marcelle Epley, President & CEO of LBCF. Epley also said she expects the funds to go toward an event that occurs before the end of 2015.

Kalitta Airlines, a Michigan-based charter airline with a long history of operating out of Long Beach Airport, agreed to the settlement after pleading guilty to 12 misdemeanor counts of violating the Noise Ordinance between June 2014 and March 2015. The Long Beach prosecutor’s office brought 13 charges against Kalitta in April, but the airline provided proof that one of the violations was chartered by the military and therefore exempt. Since they were notified of this case in April, the airline has not violated the Noise Ordinance.

“This agreement will help protect the community from excessive airport noise, while at the same time saving taxpayers the expense of a jury trial,” said City Prosecutor Doug Haubert. “The company has taken responsibility for the violations. I believe Kalitta will take appropriate steps to avoid these kinds of operations in the future.”

All operators at Long Beach Airport are informed of the Noise Ordinance rules, which include a range of noise decibel levels ranging from 102.5 decibels during the day to 79 decibels at night. Each violation incurred a $4,500 fine, adding up to the $54,000 total.

Long Beach Airport has entered into similar consent decrees in the past, with business partners such as Komar Aviation, JetBlue Airways and American Airlines, Inc. for their respective violations. The consent decree with Kalitta requires that the airline not violate the Noise Ordinance again for the next twelve months, or else incur a fine of $6,000 per violation. Kalitta could also have its permission to use the airport revoked by the Airport Manager.