January 4, 2007
City of Hawthorne
4455 W 126th Street
Hawthorne, CA 90250
Dear Mayor Guidi,At your December 12 meeting of the Hawthorne City Council, I spoke on the subject of the proposed development (Central Park project) to the east of your city airport. I support the decision of the Airport Land Use Commission in opposing the planned development as its being inconsistent with the airport?s land use plan. In the case of the planned Central Park project, the obvious issue is that of the planned commercial structure that will extend into the Runway Protection Zone (RPZ). By definition, a RPZ is designed to protect against a serious accident should an aircraft suffer a failure that causes it to impact the ground in the area at the end of the runway. The city council?s vote will be about overriding FAA and the state guidelines for structures in a RPZ. Should you permit construction in the RPZ and then have an aircraft accident involving that structure, lawyers will be involved. Assuming there are injuries, the lawyers can be expected to be at the door of the municipality that overruled an ALUC finding that the structure is inconsistent/incompatible with government-established guidelines. This is especially true when those guidelines and policies were developed to promote aviation safety.
The Central Park project will create housing and commercial activity to an area whose economics has been tied to industrial uses. The change from industry to residential housing means will require more police service, fire protection, seats in the school system, and city services and maintenance. According to the county web site, the Airport Influence Area encompasses only the area within the 65db CNEL borders. Assembly Bill 2776, effective in January 2004, requires that real estate purchasers be told when an airport is within two miles of the property in question. This law recognizes the fact that, for two miles around an airport, there is an airport influence. In this case, landing airplanes will overfly the Central Park project.
Noise is always a factor at airports. Rumors are that the planned homes will be soundproofed and that residents will sign an avigation easement. Noise will, however, be present in the yards of the homeowners. You can anticipate that you will receive noise complaints. Why would the Hawthorne City Council want to eliminate zoning for industry and place residential housing in a place where it will be a source of noise complaints? The state?s PUC 21670 states that cities should prevent the creation of new noise (and safety) problems.
To control noise at the Torrance Airport, the city felt compelled to install a noise monitoring system. While my numbers may not be totally accurate, I?ve been told that this system cost $200,000 in 1975 and would probably cost close to $1 million today. A 2006 upgrade to that system has cost the city over $700,000. Numbers for operating the system indicated that, in the recent past, it has cost as much as a $1000 a day.
It is not that long since the Hawthorne citizenry voted to support its airport. The Central Park project appears to be inconsistent with that vote. I would urge you to vote against this project and not zone the area for residential housing and not agree to structures in the airport?s RPZ.
Vice President Region 4
California Pilots Association
Editor’s Note: The Hawthorne City Council voted to ignore the ALUC’s rejection of this development, which was no surprise since it is known the Mayor and his city council cronies are pro-development and don’t care about the problems which will result.