SANTA MONICA, Calif. – On Tuesday August 23, 2016, the Santa Monica City Council adopted a resolution calling for the closure of the Airport as soon as legally permitted, with the goal of closure on or before July 1, 2018. The Council directed the City Manager to implement a series of measures intended to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of the Airport until operations permanently cease. They also adopted a fixed based operations (FBOs) policy for the City Manager to implement to replace private aircraft support services with services provided by the City.
In its Resolution, the Council declared the Airport produces a wide range of adverse impacts, including noise and air pollution, as well as safety issues. The Council’s Resolution notes the positive consequences of transitioning the land from aviation to open space, parks, recreation, educational, and cultural uses as required by Measure LC, the ballot measure that Santa Monica voters approved in 2014.
“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 Mayor Tony Vazquez. “The land needs to be transformed from a source of pollution and potential danger, into a community asset.”
The Council also directed the City Manager to implement a series of measures intended to reduce the adverse impacts of the Airport until operations cease permanently.
“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 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 measures the City Manager was authorized to implement include petitioning the FAA to remove the far west segment of the runway from aviation use. This would shrink the runway by 2,000 feet and consequently reduce the adverse impacts of the Airport. Further, Council directed the City Manager to commence the planning and environmental analysis of converting the SMO into a park. Last, the Council approved a policy regarding FBOs. FBOs are providers of aeronautical services, such as fuel and aircraft storage. Currently those services are provided by two private companies. The Council directed the City Manager to create a city-run FBO service by December 31st or as soon as feasible. This change, allowed under FAA regulations, would significantly diminish the incentive for private companies to market their services to corporate and personal jet traffic.