Airport Noise Program

Sections of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Relevant to Airport Noise

Recognition of Federal Authority; Intrastate Rates

21240. This state recognizes the authority of the federal government to regulate the operation of aircraft and to control the use of the airways, and nothing in this act shall be construed to give the department the power to so regulate and control safety factors in the operation of aircraft or to control use of the airways. This section does not affect the state’s power to regulate the intrastate rates of common carriers by air, and such power is hereby reserved to the state.

Adoption of Noise Standards

21669. The department shall adopt noise standards governing the operation of aircraft and aircraft engines for airports operating under a valid permit issued by the department to an extent not prohibited by federal law. The standards shall be based upon the level of noise acceptable to a reasonable person residing in the vicinity of the airport.

Existing Residential Conversion

21669.1. (a) Land use conversion involving existing residential communities shall generally be considered the least desirable action for achieving compliance with noise standards regulations adopted by the Department of Transportation pursuant to Section 21669.

(b) Nothing in this section creates a private right of action in any civil litigation.

(c) This section is declaratory of existing regulations of the department.


21669.2. In its deliberations, the department shall be governed by the following guidelines:

(a) Statewide uniformity in standards of acceptable airport noise need not be required, and the maximum amount of local control and enforcement shall be permitted.

(b) Due consideration shall be given to the economic and technological feasibility of complying with the standards promulgated by the department.

Effective Date of Regulations

21669.3. Any regulations designed to establish a noise monitoring program at an airport entering service after November 30, 1971, shall go into effect on the date the airport enters service.

Violation of Standards; Enforcement; Penalties

21669.4. (a) The violation of the noise standards by any aircraft shall be deemed a misdemeanor and the operator thereof shall be punished by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each infraction.

(b) It shall be the function of the county wherein an airport is situated to enforce the noise regulations established by the department. To this end, the operator of an airport shall furnish to the enforcement authority designated by the county the information required by the department’s regulations to permit the efficient enforcement thereof. The operator of each airport shall reimburse the county for its costs of implementing the airport noise regulations contained in Article 8 (commencing with Section 5050) of subchapter 6 of Title 4 of the California Administrative Code, which shall, for purposes of subdivision (c), credit the operator for any amounts received from penalties assessed for violations at such airport. Upon request of the operator, the department shall review and shall determine the reasonableness of such costs, and such costs may be considered in fixing any airport user fees.

(c) Penalties assessed for the violation of the noise regulations shall be used first to reimburse the General Fund for the amount of any money appropriated to carry out the purposes for which the noise regulations are established, and second be used in the enforcement of the noise regulations at participating airports.

Hearing Procedures

21669.6. Hearings under this article required by the provisions of Sections 21665, 21666, 21668, 21668.2, and 21669, or regulations adopted pursuant to such provisions, shall be conducted pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.