The City of Santa Monica has launched Phase II of what it calls the Santa Monica Airport Community Process. This is a three-phase process that will help determine the future of KSMO. More than two-dozen two-hour long meetings are scheduled in January, February and March with eight to 12 participants giving their input on what they think would be the best use of the airport property. The City of Santa Monica claims its agreement with the federal government to keep the airport in operation expires in 2015. But according to the FAA, the City’s obligation continues beyond 2023.
At the conclusion of Phase II, Phase III will review the results of the public meetings along with the findings from Phase I, in which the RAND Corporation, Point C Partners and HR&A Advisors studied the airport’s impact on the community. The city’s recommendations for potential policies and actions based on the Santa Monica Airport Community Process will be made in early 2013.
Government officials such as Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Sen. Ted W. Lieu are working hard to get the general public behind the efforts to close the Santa Monica Airport. In a recent news release, Lieu said “Scientific studies clearly show that it may be unsafe for residents to breathe the air near Santa Monica Airport,” placing the blame squarely on the airport for pollution that could as well be caused by millions of automobiles in the area. The airport is located very close to the 405 and 10 freeways, some of the busiest highways in the country.
Rosendahl has been very vocal about his desire to see the historical airport shut down. Last year, he presented a resolution to the Los Angeles City Council to close the flight schools at Santa Monica airport - an effort that was seen by many in the SMO flying community as a political move to stir up support for the airport closure. The resolution was passed unanimously in April, but the flight schools remain in operation since the Los Angeles City Council has no governing authority over SMO.
If you would like to voice your opinion about the future of the Santa Monica Airport, you can register to attend one of the Santa Monica Airport Community Process’ Phase II meetings at smovisioning.org/discussions.