SANTA MONICA—According to the Santa Monica Airport Association (SMAA) the $4 million project to shorten the Santa Monica Airport runway by approximately 1,500 feet, starting Monday, October 9 has been halted.
Santa Monica pilots Kate Scott and James Babinksi have filed a law suit with the city of Santa Monica, and brought to the attention of the California District Court and Judge Ronald S.W. Lew that shortening the runway can cause “irreparable harm” to the airport in two major ways. One being that such a curtailing of the runway can cause planes to fly lower in altitude at the departure end of the runway…which will increase the noise level in the neighborhoods. Another impact of shortening the runway is that it eliminates the option for pilots to turn back around for landing in the event of an emergency after lift off.
Judge Lew has given the city of Santa Monica until Friday, October 13 to exhibit why the shortening of the runway should not be prohibited. Judge Lew has also opened outlets for the “public to be heard,” and participate in the decision-making process due to the Ralph Brown Act, an act that affords the public to be involved in governmental legislation. Because the ultimate decision in shortening the runway will effect Santa Monica taxpayers, the public, by way of the Act, are said to have some leverage in the decision-making process.
The agreement to shorten the runway, made between the city of Santa Monica and FAA started in 2017, and is currently under a two week restraining order.