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Santa Monica Airport's tower has been identified as a possible closure.
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Santa Monica Airport's tower has been identified as a possible closure.

News, Santa Monica, Santa Monica Airport

Anti-Airport Groups To Congress: Close Santa Monica Airport Control Tower

Posted Mar. 8, 2013, 8:38 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

Two anti-airport groups have written to the area’s federal representatives in Congress to push for the closure of Santa Monica Airport’s (SMO) air control tower.

The letter, dated March 3, written on behalf of the Citizens Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic (CASMAT) and Sunset Park Anti-Airport, Inc., (SPAA) also sought the cessation of FAA funds to the airport.

Five pages in length, the joint CASMAT-SPAA correspondence was penned just one day after an estimated $1.2 trillion in federal cuts went into effect March 1. Also referred to on Capitol Hill as sequestration, the slash in funding also resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) having to cut $600 million from its budget.

As part of the $600 million in cuts, the FAA publicly issued a letter identifying 200 airports where tower closure could take place. One of the airports listed is SMO.

Sent to Representatives Karen Bass (D-37th District) and Henry Waxman (D-33rd District), the letter cited several reasons why the federal government should provide less funding for SMO to the point where it is no longer operational.

Among the reasons: too close to residential neighborhoods; recent airplane crashes; new homeowners in the area immediately surrounding SMO who do not care for the airport; the potential closure of 2,000 feet of runway; and, a poll where 80 percent of respondents favored airport closure.

The letter also cited Resolution 6296, approved by Santa Monica’s City Council in 1981, which sought to create a policy of seeking closure of SMO “as soon as possible.”

Finally, both groups contend the airport’s operations would be significantly altered in July 2015 per the expiration of the “1984 Agreement” between City Hall and the FAA.

In making its case, the two groups requested Bass and Waxman to urge the Transportation Secretary to “close the SMO control tower and cease expenditures of FAA funds on SMO.”

A second request: do not close airports or towers where those facilities would benefit the local community.

“We in Santa Monica don’t need the jobs or the economic stimulus of a local airport,” the letter stated. “We ask Secretary (Ray) LaHood to recognize that the FAA has no significant role supporting the local economy here, and to use FAA resources where they may provide a more positive and noticeable economic impact.”

The third request urged the Transportation Secretary to “recognize community sentiment” and “side with middle-class homeowners and against an extremely small number of extremely rich people who are the primary users of SMO.”

“There is no scheduled passenger service at SMO and all travel from SMO is optional,” the request continued.

Lastly, both CASMAT and SPAA sought Bass and Waxman to request LaHood “to recognize long-term trends and use FAA resources where they have a lasting impact.”

The overall spirit of the letter: there is little community support for SMO.

“Other airports are very much supported by the community; SMO is not,” the letter stated. “We urge the FAA to leave open other FAA towers and facilities in preference of SMO, where there is a long history of declining flight operations and growing community opposition.”

Attached to the five-page letter were 12 pages of exhibits, including relevant entries of the “1984 Agreement” and Resolution 6296. Also attached: an overhead map of SMO demonstrating how close some residences were to the runway; a confidence rating of 2012 city council candidates as to who was more likely to “bring about real change” at SMO.

Waxman represents Santa Monica in Washington, D.C.; Bass is also a Member of Congress representing Culver City and portions of West Los Angeles near SMO.

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Comments

Mar. 9, 2013, 2:20:48 pm

mpilot said...

And I'd love for the 3rd Street Promenade to be closed and have that turned into a park - do you know how much congestion and pollution comes from tourists there? Hell it can take 30 minutes to get to Santa Monica from the marina. But realistically that's not going to happen. And do you *really* believe they'd turn the airport land into a public use park? With the value of that land the views from there? Are you nuts? No, it'll be sold to developers, who will build high rise luxury condos and shops (just what Santa Monica needs more of). Oh and as for the "new homeowners who don't like the airport" - well why the heck would you buy a house next to an airport? I'm pretty sure it was there before you were...

Mar. 8, 2013, 12:09:23 pm

H. Truman said...

The Santa Monica airport should be closed and the property turned into a large park and recreation area. There's huge demand for large outdoor parks complete with baseball diamonds and soccer fields.

Mar. 9, 2013, 9:35:37 am

D. Mackey said...

Careful what you wish for. If SMO closes, it will be massively over developed and cause more S.M based congestion than one could imagine. Naive in the extreme to not understand this...

Mar. 10, 2013, 4:58:37 pm

B dai said...

There is little support for the Santa Monica Airport? Yes, little support from the surrounding homes which does not speak for the entire city of Santa Monica. How opportunistic! Jump,on the federal cut bandwagon from a group of homeowners who moved net to an airport and will forever the fit to shut it down. And for what? Are they willing to trade it for mass development? Talk about noise, pollution and crime. Be careful what you wish for , homeowners. And, by the way, most people who own small airplanes are not extremely rich. Another falsehood. Jobs not needed? If it were your job, would you feel the same way? The airport serves in a far greater capacity than this special interest group would have you believe. Other airports are supported elsewhere but not in Santa Monica? Show me a neighbor who moved next to airport anywhere and I'll show you a person who wants the airport closed! The airport serves as a relief airport to LAX, trains future aviators, provides jobs, provides 5000 ft of recreation for a city that has more parks , dog parks, ball fields, a golf course , and nearby Marinas. It has proven over the years to have an extraordinary safety record when compared with most airports. Blah, it doesn't matter how much sense it makes to keep this airport, the locals will spend every waking hour trying to close it. Don't buy into their game.

Mar. 9, 2013, 9:27:38 pm

Brian Tucker said...

What a bunch of morons. This is just a ploy by rich developers using the neighbors as pawns.

Mar. 9, 2013, 9:29:48 pm

Thom said...

If you close the tower, the airplanes can still use the airport. Thousands of planes use towerless airports safely every day. They'll just come and go without it. Jeez, the misinformation by these groups rivals Fox news!

Mar. 9, 2013, 9:31:24 pm

Jet Jocky said...

My suggestion to the "new home owners" is why didn't you realize there was an airport there before you moved in? You must have brain damage.

Mar. 9, 2013, 9:34:45 pm

Jordon said...

Yeah and we all know how "for the people" the Santa Monica city council is! Have you looked around or taken a drive in SM lately? You can't go a block without major high rises being built. The councilors ARE the rich ones using the airport for their ski trips paid for by the real estate money they get from lobbyists who want to close the airport to build on.

Mar. 9, 2013, 9:44:09 pm

Wax this said...

Do you rubes honestly think Henry Waxman drives a car back and forth to Washington? Oh wait, he travels by air. But you just don't want him landing near you. That makes you a NIMBY. Not In My Backyard. Oh, it's ok for the poor minorities to have planes landing at LAX over their heads but not here. It's ok for the other guy but not for you.

Mar. 9, 2013, 9:46:29 pm

Jessica P said...

LMAO Middle class? There is no one owning a home on the west side that is middle class. You have to be rich to own a home in west LA. Sure they may say they're middle class with their six figure income...but let's be honest. To those of us renting crappy little apartments scraping by you folks are whiny little babies and get ZERO sympathy.

Mar. 9, 2013, 9:48:17 pm

Tim Hauser said...

80% of republicans polled said they were right wing. See? You can fix poll numbers to say whatever you want.

Mar. 23, 2013, 2:38:58 am

mike said...

Who uses this airport other than rich hobbyists and corporate executives?. Shall we all suffer noise and pollution to their benefit? Airport was built when nobody lived here. Now hundreds of thousands are burdened by noise and pollution. There is no good reason to keep it operating.

Apr. 12, 2013, 11:50:34 am

Henry Hall said...

Why don't these losers do something productive like closing LAX. It's a major polluter and only used by affluent business executives and tourists.

Jun. 12, 2013, 7:26:38 pm

John Doe said...

The airport brings in money and the park is FREE. It will cost the city ton of money to build a park that WON'T happen. People who complain about the airport just SHUT UP. The airport WILL STAY. The airport was there since the early 1900's and the first residential homes were built around the airport in the 1960's to the early 1970's. So if they want a park there they should charge people $100 to go to the park. And if they build condos, apartments, or homes the city's pollution will increase 100000x worse than the airport. So the city should tear down the homes west of the airport and expand the airport about 4,000ft to 8,000 ft. So the airport WILL stay.

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