The battle between the city of Santa Monica and federal officials over the Santa Monica Airport will finally come to an end – in 11 years.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the city reached a deal Saturday to close the hotly contested airport by the end of 2028, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Santa Monica City Council had previously drafted a resolution calling for its closure by 2018, but that ran afoul of a Federal Aviation Administration ruling that prevented the airport from closing until 2023.
Residents living near the 227-acre airport have long complained about the noise and pollution from aircraft exhaust. But small carriers and private plan owners argued that the airport is a necessary space for the Westside.
Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer said its a historic day for the city.
“The FAA has finally and categorically said that we can do whatever we want with our land at the end of 2028,” Winterer told the L.A. Times. “This is a windfall for the residents (of Santa Monica).”
City officials already made plans to expand an existing park at the airport in September. The goal is to add 12 acres to the airport by converting non-aviation land to public open space, according to city documents. And once the airport is closed, recreational facilities and other uses will be established on the site.
Since local officials agreed to keep the airport open until 2028, the city is allowed to immediately shorten the runway, from its current 4,973-foot runway to 3,500 feet, to limit the amount of air traffic. [LAT] — Subrina Hudson