SANTA MONICA—On Saturday, January 28, after many lawsuits and protests, officials announced that Santa Monica Airport will close in 2028.
According to reports, the city of Santa Monica has been pushing to close the 227-acre airport, claiming it is noisy, unsafe, and pollutes the environment.
The Federal Aviation Administration disagreed with the city, asserting the airport should remain open at least until 2023, if not forever. The FAA and Santa Monica have come to an agreement, granting control of the airport to the city.
According to a press release from the city of Santa Monica, the terms of the agreement require the city to continue normal operations at the airport until its closure date, December 31, 2028. The agreement settles all previous lawsuits between the city of Santa Monica and the federal government regarding the airport. It also allows the city to shorten the length of the runway from 4,973-feet to 3,500-feet.
“Today’s historic Consent Decree agrees to an operational runway of 3,500 feet, which we plan to implement immediately,” said City Manager Rick Cole. “This will significantly reduce jet traffic flying over our neighborhoods and stop commercial charters until we close operations in 2028.”
“This is a historic day for Santa Monica,” said Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer in a statement. “After decades of work to secure the health and safety of our neighborhoods, we have local control of airport land. We now have certainty that the airport will close forever and future generations of Santa Monica will have a great park.”
The Santa Monica Airport will be replaced with a park and other recreational developments.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the City Council voted 4 to 3 to approve the decision after 2 weeks of negotiations with the FAA and U.S. Department of Justice.
“This is a fair resolution for all concerned because it strikes an appropriate balance between the public’s interest in making local decisions about land use practices and its interests in safe and efficient aviation services,” said FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta.
“I congratulate the city council, city manager, city attorney, and all of the city staff who have doggedly pursued a successful strategy and brought an end to a decades-long-effort,” said Assemblymember Richard Bloom in a statement. “As the former Mayor of Santa Monica, I worked on this issue for the nearly 14 years of my council tenure and recognize the tenacity, courage, and resilience that it takes to go up against a massive federal agency that had dustin its heels for decades. Today’s settlement is a watershed moment in Santa Monica history that benefits the city and many surrounding communities.”
While some were in favor of the decision, some people were opposed, including President of the Santa Monica Airport Association, Christian Fry.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the FAA action to forgo further legal action,” Fry told the LA Times. “The people who lose here are the people of West L.A. who will see major development.”
“This is a huge win for the residents of Santa Monica and the surrounding region,” said Congressmember Karen Bass. “This is a great example of what can happen when the community comes together to work for change.”
For additional information on the litigation history, visit the following page.