Santa Monica council votes to close the city’s airport by July 2018
For decades, homeowners living around Santa Monica Municipal Airport have complained about the roar of aircraft and worried that some day a Piper Cub or Gulf Stream will come crashing into their garage door in Santa Monica.
The Santa Monica City board initially voted to close down the airport in 1981. That effort stalled before takeoff, however on Tuesday, Santa Monica’s chosen officials again vowed to close the historical facility that was once the home of Douglas Aircraft Co. however is now the roost of a number of hundred prop and jet aircraft, including those owned by celebs such as actor Harrison Ford.
It will not be simple, however, as the legal opposition from aviation interests and the federal government has actually not waned since that first attempt 35 years ago.
Today, pilots remove and land more than 300 times a day from the general aviation airport, simply a couple of hundred feet from homes in some areas.
After hearing from ratings of airport opponents and advocates, the council unanimously authorized a resolution Tuesday night to lower flights and close the embattled airport by July 1, 2018.
“Our council and neighborhood, in solidarity, wish to close the airport that predominately deals with the 1% that can pay for to travel by private jet,” Mayor Pro Tem Ted Winterer said. “There are real legal challenges, and while we need to be conscientious as we browse the court system, our willpower to close the airport is firm.”.
The resolution contained a package of procedures developed to minimize ecological impacts and scale back flight operations, specifically those of personal and corporate jets, till the airport can be shut down.
They include petitioning the Federal Air travel Administration to reduce the length of the 5,000-foot runway by 2,000 feet on the west side.
Our council and community, in uniformity, wish to close the airport that predominately deals with the 1% that can afford to travel by private jet.
The step also calls for eliminating the sale of leaded fuel, adding security, creating an authorization system rather of leases for air travel occupants and stepped-up enforcement of local, state and federal laws related to airport operations.
To help cut jet operations, the council authorized the development of a city-run operation to change two personal companies that offer aeronautical services such as fuel, upkeep and airplane storage.
If established, the council intends to eliminate incentives for personal business to market their services to the operators of corporate and personal jets.
Airport opponents state they plan to change the 227-acre facility with a park that would include cultural events, sports fields and other leisure facilities.
It is not in the public interest to close the Santa Monica airport.
“The land has to be changed from a source of pollution and prospective danger into a community property,” Mayor Tony Vasquez stated.
The city, nevertheless, faces significant opposition from airport renters, regional and nationwide aviation groups and the FAA, which mention federal agreements given that World War II that need the airport to remain open at least up until 2023 if not in all time.
“This choice is misdirected and a bad concept,” said John Jerabek, treasurer of the Santa Monica Airport Assn. “It is not in the public interest to close the airport.”.
After years of controversy, a federal appeals court in 2011 declined the city’s attempt to prohibit particular high-performance jets from the airport.
This month, the FAA ruled for a 2nd time that Santa Monica is obliged to keep the airport open till 2023 to comply with requirements of a $250,000 federal grant it received in 2003.
“The FAA expects the city to adhere to its federal obligations to run the airport and to offer access to aeronautical users,” FAA authorities stated Wednesday in a prepared declaration. “The FAA will continue to work with the city to make sure the airport stays offered to those users.”.
Santa Monica City officials say they will challenge the decision in federal court.
Santa Monica is dealing with another complaint to the FAA that accuses the city of imposing unreasonable landing charges, unlawfully diverting airport funds to nonaviation uses and setting unfair leasing policies to displace aerial occupants. A decision is pending.
In addition, a city lawsuit to free the airport from its federal arrangements is set up for trial in late 2017 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. A federal appeals court renewed the case this year after it was dismissed.