A group of San Diegans said it is not against a $3 billion expansion planned for the San Diego International Airport, but it is against putting the plan in place before steps are taken to mitigate airport noise, which the group claims causes health issues.
Quiet Skies San Diego filed a lawsuit against the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, citing, "Commercial jet noise from the San Diego International Airport causes significant harm to human health, including cardiovascular disease, strokes, heart attacks, stress, metabolic disease like obesity and diabetes, and cognitive deficits."
Quiet Skies San Diego is an association of residents from communities of San Diego, La Jolla, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Point Loma.
One part of the expansion plan would be to add 11 gates for more plane departures and arrivals. According to the group, under the plan, there would be 50 landings and takeoffs per hour compared to 36 now, a 38 percent increase.
One of the founders, Tony Steigler, said the group is in favor of smart growth, and it does not want to stop the development plan.
"So, it's fine to put in 11 new gates, as long as we have procedures in place to mitigate and reduce the noise."
Steigler points to studies that correlate repetitive jet noise with health issues.
"The citizens of San Diego shouldn't be paying the price for the airport development plan with their health," he said.
Steigler says there is a solution though. He claims departing planes could fly farther west before turning north or south and arriving planes could fly higher, which he said would help alleviate noise for people in East County.
The Federal Aviation Administration did not yet return a call from NBC 7 as to whether that is a viable solution.
The FAA implemented NextGen/Metroplex in 2017 that requires planes to fly on a single concentrated path, also known as superhighways in the sky, rather than the previous disbursed flight paths that spread the burden of the noise, according to the lawsuit.
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority said it could not comment on pending litigation.
A go fund me page is set up to raise money for the legal fight. firstname.lastname@example.org