Airport Influence Area & Airport Noise

Airport Influence Area

As of January 1, 2004, residential property owners are required to disclose to prospective buyers that the property is in the "vicinity" of an airport (Assembly Bill 2776). This type of disclosure has long been a priority of pilot and airport lobbyists who believe that some type of formal notice to homeowners that their property is near an airport will preclude complaints or lawsuits by those residents. Proponents of the bill actually claimed that the bill would reduce lawsuits over aircraft noise. Such lawsuits are rare, and there is nothing in AB 2776 that prevents a property owner from filing a successful lawsuit for compensation for the nuisance of aircraft noise. Pilot and airport lobbyists who support the type of disclosure mandated by AB 2776 simply want a law that they can wave at residents who complain about aircraft noise, in the hope that residents will feel that they have no right to complain. AB 2776 was authored by Assemblyman Joe Simitian (Dem., Palo Alto) on behalf of the San Carlos Pilots Association; the vote in the legislature on the bill was almost strictly along party lines (Democrats for, Republicans against).

AB 2776 requires disclosure that an airport is in the vicinity of residential property under three circumstances: (1) when a new subdivision is created (Civil Code § 11010(a)(12); (2) when a new common-interest development such as a condominium is created (Civil Code § 1353); and when a "natural hazard disclosure statement" is prepared in connection with the transfer of property (Civil Code § 1103.4). The bill does not mandate a general duty to disclose the fact an airport is near property that is for sale.

AB 2776 uses the term "airport influence area" interchangeably with "vicinity" and defines the "influence area" as the "airport referral area" determined by the county's airport land-use commission (ALUC). The ALUC creates a "referral area" for each airport in the county and any proposal for land development within that area is reviewed by the ALUC to determine whether it is compatible with the operation of the airport, both present and future.

Airport Noise

In response to growing concerns over the impact that airport activities can have on homeowners, California has enacted legislation, effective on January 1, 2004, designed to alert potential purchasers to neighboring airport influence areas. The disclosure of these areas will occur in several ways. First, a sub divider applying for a public report will have to include in his or her notice of intention a specific notice disclosing that the property is within an airport influence area. Similarly, common interest development declarations recorded after January 1, 2004 must include this same notice. Finally, disclosure companies and other experts who prepare natural hazard disclosures will be required to include the notice in their reports, and such reports will be deemed "substituted disclosures" in compliance with the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement law.

Except for a revised introductory paragraph in the Transfer Disclosure Statement that refers to the change in NHD reports, AB 2776 will create no new disclosure requirements directly impacting REALTORS.