SANTA MONICA—On Tuesday, August 23 the Santa Monica City Council adopted a resolution calling for the closure of the Santa Monica Airport by July 1, 2018, or as soon as legally possible, according to a press release issued from the city of Santa Monica.
“Through our unanimous vote tonight, the Council demonstrated our commitment to stop the harmful impacts the Airport has on our community. Transitioning our land into a ‘great-park’ is the single most transformative action this Council can take,” said Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez. “The land needs to be transformed from a source of pollution and potential danger, into a community asset.”
Canyon News reported on July 26 that the City Council had unanimously approved a motion to consider a resolution for the closure of the Airport. In 2014, Santa Monica voters had approved Measure LC that will require the land used for aviation to be transitioned into open space, parks, recreation, educational and cultural uses.
“Our Council and community in solidarity, want to close the airport that predominantly caters to the 1% that can afford to travel by private jet. We have directed the City Manager to take every step possible to expedite the transformation of our land from Airport to park,” said Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tem Ted Winterer. “There are real legal obstacles and while we need to be conscientious as we navigate the court system, our resolve to close the Airport is firm.”
The City Council has directed the City Manager to implement measures with the intent to reduce the adverse effects of the Airport on the environment until operations permanently cease. Some of the adverse effects that the Airport produces are noise, air pollution and safety issues.
Nelson Hernandez, Senior Advisor of Airport Affairs, told Canyon News in an email, “The noise pollution, air pollution, and safety issues are all having an adverse impact on the health, welfare and safety of the community.
The measures will include a petition to the FAA to remove the far west segment of the runway from aviation use. This will shrink the runway by 2,000 feet and will reduce some of the adverse effects of the airport.
“For years the City of Santa Monica has been dragged into administrative and legal proceedings by the FAA, so I am delighted that with this resolution they have now taken the airport’s destiny into their own hands,” said Congressman Ted Lieu. “Closing the airport is based on the City of Santa Monica’s local control and property rights. I whole-heartedly stand behind the residents of the City of Santa Monica and the City Council as they take significant steps to close the airport.”
The City Council also directed the City Manager to begin planning an environmental analysis of converting the Airport into a park area. An adoption of a Fixed Based Operations policy for the City Manager to implement the replacement of private aircraft support services with services provided by the city of Santa Monica also took place. FBOs provide aeronautical services, fuel and aircraft storage and are currently provided by two private companies.
The City Council directed the City Manager to create a city-run FBO service by December 31 of this year, or as soon as feasibly possible. Under the allowance of FAA regulations, this change will diminish the incentive for private companies to market these services to corporate and personal jet traffic.