Variance at San Diego International Airport


All California airports that impact their surrounding communities with a cumulative noise level of 65 decibels (dB) Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL) or greater must receive a variance to certain provisions of the California Noise Standards provided by the State of California, Division of Aeronautics (CALTRANS Aero). The California Noise Standards use the FAA-approved 65-decibel CNEL contour to define a noise impact area around an airport. It is the ultimate objective of the California Noise Standards that there will be no incompatible land uses (i.e., residential, schools, churches, hospitals) located within the 65 decibel CNEL contour. Since the late 1970s, the owner and operator of San Diego International Airport (SDIA) has received multiple variances to the California Noise Standards that allow SDIA continue to operate.

What mitigation programs have resulted from the variance process?

The California Noise Standards are designed to bring the airport proprietor and the local noise impacted community together to work cooperatively to diminish airport noise impacts. Some of the SDIA noise compatibility programs resulting from this process include the Airport Use Regulations, Time of Day Restrictions (departure curfew), the Residential (Quieter Home) and School Sound Attenuation (Insulation) Programs, adding members to the community’s Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC), updating the Remote Noise Monitoring System, and enhancing the Authority’s programs for disseminating noise information and education to the public.

What is the status of the current variance?

The current variance to Title 21 of the California Noise Standards was approved by CALTRANS May 8, 2012, and remains in effect for three years.


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