The Santa Monica City Council and Airport Commission are continuing their aggressive effort to force the closure of the Santa Monica Airport (SMO).
While none of this is new, their efforts have been vastly accelerated over the last few months as they look toward the expiration of the 1984 Settlement Agreement between the city and the FAA as their best opportunity to force this issue. Some think that when this agreement expires, the city can close the airport. That’s been a subject of recent litigation between the city and the FAA. So far, the city lost every court case, but they haven’t lost the war. Now the City is focused on a “starvation” strategy – strangle the airport to the point that it can no longer function as an airport.
Here’s your chance to make a difference! On March 25th, at 5:30 pm, the City Council will hold their regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall on Main Street, and the airport is on the agenda. To be heard no earlier than 6:30 pm on that date is Item 8 – The Future of Santa Monica Airport. Already, those opposed to continued operation of the airport including the Plane2Parks organization are mobilizing their members to attend this critical meeting.
You can read the staff report here: www.smgov.net/departments/Council/agendas/2014/20140325/s2014032508-A.htm
The restrictions being proposed by the staff are part of an overall effort to destroy a viable and important general aviation reliever airport. Some of these suggestions would likely be violations of the city’s obligations with the FAA.
The airport needs a strong showing at this meeting. That’s why we are writing and asking you to attend the meeting. If you choose to speak, here are some points that you might consider making to the Council:
- There are 175 businesses that depend on the airport with 1,500 jobs created
- The airport generates over $250 million/year in economic impact to the local community
- If the airport is closed, the city is sure to develop the airport’s 227 acres with high density uses in accordance with long-standing plans – that will add to traffic congestion and demands on city services.
Remember, an AOPA poll makes clear that only a small percentage of city residents oppose the airport, and most city residents support its continued operation!
Please attend the March 25th meeting. Support your fellow aviators and the businesses that depend on Santa Monica Airport!
AOPA Government Affairs Team
CalPilots Editor’s Response – The last meeting regarding the airport was chronicled by AOPA, in their magazine. No one, not one pilot (except Bill Dunn from AOPA) stood up to defend the airport or its value to Santa Monica and California. Surely we can do better than that. It’s time for all aviation advocates to stand up for this valuable airport. Please make sure you attend this important meeting. The city needs to understand that they can’t do anything they want with this valuable public transportation asset.