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O.C. airport's strict curfews may stay through 2035

A proposed agreement between John Wayne Airport and Newport Beach would, however, allow more flights and passengers starting in 2021.

March 22, 2013|By Jill Cowan, Los Angeles Times

After nearly two years of closed-door negotiations, Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry announced this week that the strict curfews governing John Wayne Airport's operations could remain in place through 2035 if a proposed settlement extension is approved.

A cap on the number of passengers and flights that can pass through the airport would be allowed to rise starting in 2021.

"This is a balanced approach that will follow the law and maintain the protection of our community," Curry said at a news conference in the Newport Beach Police Department auditorium. "Growth, after all, is part of life at the airport."

The current agreement, which grew out of a 1985 legal settlement aimed at curbing the airport's impact on the surrounding community, is set to expire in 2015.

The city had been waiting for feedback from the Federal Aviation Administration before announcing the proposed new terms, which must toe a fine line between allowing the airport room to grow and hanging on to some of the nation's strictest airport noise and traffic restrictions.

Orange County was able to grandfather in its airport regulations, despite some conflict with the federal 1990 Airport Noise and Capacity Act, meaning that any new settlement terms cannot impose more stringent limits than already exist.

jill.cowan@latimes.com

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