Santa Monica’s Airport Commission wants all construction projects at the airport to be reviewed to help insure that they are compatible with the airport’s neighboring communities.
The City staff report states that the Commission wants the construction review process to address “all construction of new buildings or major remodels of existing buildings, establish guidelines requiring compatibility of design and finishes/materials with adjacent uses, provide for notification of residents in the vicinity of the project and provide for review of projects by the Airport Commission.”
At their May 21 meeting, Commission members reviewed a draft of the guidelines – which included many areas they wanted to address – prepared by City staff, based upon practices at other airports and Santa Monica’s guidelines. They agreed with the City staff on many points, including having all non-movement areas of the Airport be considered transition zones, all new structures and those being structurally remodeled or renovated be reviewed if they are over 5,000 square feet, having new building projects conform to FAA height limitations plus Santa Monica M1 standards and having a landscaping requirement for them. They also agreed with City staff’s recommendation that Airport Commission decisions can be appealed to the City Council, and that the Commission can request comments on projects from other City agencies, such as the Architectural Review Board.
Commission Vice Chair Susan Hartley stated that the guidelines and procedures will help deal with the airport’s effect on its neighbors because the “the airport is not an island unto itself.”
Friends of Sunset Park Board member Lorraine Sanchez was not happy with the draft guidelines because she felt they were not “set in the language” to meet the requirements of master planning of the City.
Implementation of these guidelines, according to the City staff report, “Will require either an ordinance adopted by the City Council or an Airport Director Rule or Regulation.”
The Commission also discussed limiting the hours of operation for commercial activities in order to reduce the impact on the surrounding community. Of particular concern was maintenance of aircraft at odd hours. Hartley suggested that all repairs on aircraft as well as aircraft maintenance and fueling activities should not be permitted between the hours of 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. These are the same hours that the City’s auto industry must observe.
Lastly, the Commission voted unanimously to request the City Council to pass a resolution to support legislation proposed by U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia and Trent Lott from Mississippi for the reauthorization and funding of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The current authorization and FAA funding expire in September. The bill includes a flat fee (surcharge) of $25 per flight for all aviation system users except aircraft used for recreational purposes and air ambulance services. All the funds from this surcharge will be used to upgrade the nation’s air traffic control operations.