July 3, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

City To Challenge FAA In Court Over Future Control Of Santa Monica Airport:

Editor’s Note: The City of Santa Monica on Thursday issued the following statement to the press regarding the future of Santa Monica Airport. The statement is published here in full, unedited.

The City of Santa Monica has sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish the City’s right to control future use of the Santa Monica Airport property, which the City has long owned.  

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, asks the court to declare that the City holds clear title to the land. And, it also challenges, as unconstitutional, the FAA’s claim that the City must continue to operate the Airport indefinitely, even after contracts establishing the City’s Airport obligations expire.   

In 1984, the City and FAA entered into a Settlement Agreement with the FAA that obligates the City to operate the Airport until 2015.  

In anticipation of the expiration of that contract, the City undertook a three-year Airport Visioning Process, intended to identify options for the Airport’s future.  

Hundreds of community members participated in this three-phased process – the largest ever conducted by the City. In April of this year, the Council received a comprehensive report on the results.

After considering the report and conducting a lengthy public hearing, the City Council directed City staff to report back in March of 2014 for further public discussion and a decision about the future use of the Airport land.  

Meanwhile, the Council also directed staff to continue to explore any and all possibilities for a voluntary agreement with the federal government that might modify Airport operations so as to significantly curtail adverse impacts on the community.

Since then, City representatives have continued to meet with FAA representatives in Washington.  

City Manager Rod Gould explains, “We met in Washington many times, and conveyed community concerns and proposed possibilities for changes, including operational changes, that could significantly reduce many of the Airport’s adverse impacts. The FAA representatives were polite and respectful.  But, they were simply unwilling or unable to agree to any changes that could bring significant relief to Airport neighbors.  They believe that the City is legally obligated to continue operating the Airport as it now operates and to keep operating it forever because of the post-War transfers.”

The City has owned and operated the Airport since the 1920’s.  

During World War II, the City leased it to the federal government for a nominal amount in support of the war effort.  

During the War, the City and the federal government worked together to expand and improve the Airport; and, after the war, when the federal leases expired, the Airport was returned to the City through an Instrument of Transfer.  

The federal government claims that the Instrument of Transfer obligates the City to operate the Airport “in perpetuity” (forever) or forfeit its ownership interest to the federal government.  

The City disputes this claim based, in part, on the City’s near 100-year ownership of the Airport land, the fact that the Airport was merely leased (not sold), and constitutional guarantees that prohibit commandeering property without compensation and forcing local governments to perform the federal government’s work.

Speaking of the lawsuit, Santa Mayor Pam O’Connor said, “We need to get these legal questions answered. The community expects us to protect their health, safety and welfare.  And, of course, the community’s demands for relief from Airport impacts have only increased since last month’s terrible crash. We need the court to decide whether the City has control over its land so that, next year, we can make a decision about the Airport’s future.  Because this dispute is unique and incredibly important, the City Council directed the City Attorney and her staff to partner with the best outside legal team they could find.”

The City Attorney and senior members of her office conducted a competitive process that resulted in the City hiring Morrison & Foerster – a global firm with 16 offices and more than 1,000 attorneys.

Explained City Attorney Marsha Moutrie, “We were particularly impressed with the Morrison & Foerster team’s litigation credentials, aviation experience, and appellate expertise.  I’m certain that they will provide excellent representation in this singularly important case.  And we look forward to working with them to resolve the dispute about the City’s authority to control the use of its Airport land.”

The case will be heard in Federal District Court in Los Angeles. 

Federal rules give the federal government 60 days to respond to the City’s complaint.

in News
Related Posts

John McEnroe and Patty Smyth Sell Malibu Home for $29 Million

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

Malibu Colony home sold to unknown buyer in private sale By Dolores Quintana John McEnroe, a retired former tennis star,...

SMa.r.t. Column: A Tale of Two Cities

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

The City of Santa Monica is surrounded on three sides by the City of Los Angeles. Therefore, while the jurisdictions...

Santa Monica City Council Approves Ballot Measure That Would Increase Hotel Bed Tax

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Santa Monica’s bed tax has been raised since 2004 By Dolores Quintana In a vote on June 28, the Santa...

PETA Attempts to Stop the Beach Club From Holding Annual Fireworks Display

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Parking lot where display is held is on City of LA land, not Santa Monica, allowing Club to obtain permit...

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Prepares for SMASH/Muir Campus Mold Removal

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Exact costs for repairs still unknown By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro  It is unknown exactly how much the total...

Watering Restrictions for Santa Monica Residents Take Effect Soon

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

New restrictions will go into effect on July 5, limiting watering to twice a week By Sam Catanzaro New restrictions...

Daily Harvest Recalls Meal Kits Handed out at Venice Event Following 470 Cases of Mysterious Illness

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Direct-to-consumer meal kit company under fire for handling of outbreak tied to lentil and leek meal kit By Sam Catanzaro...

Central Coast Brewery Makes Westside Acquisitions

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Figueroa Mountain Brewing acquires Broxton Brewery, The Stalking Horse and more. Staff, current beer taps to remain on board at...

Mexican Restaurant Possibly Expanding Into Former Swingers Space

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Bar Hermanito applies for an alcohol exemption sales permit for space at 802 Broadway in Santa Monica By Dolores Quintana...

Six Family-Fun Westside Fourth of July Events

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Fireworks, parades, runs and more taking place across the Westside  By Ashley Sloan  Pacific Palisades  The Pacific Palisades will be...

California Credit Union Awards Grant to Santa Monica Teacher

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Building electric circuit friendship detectors and applying engineering principles to solve real world problems are Westside school projects receiving funding...

Santa Monica’s Building Bridges Art Exchange Presents: J.J. Martin’s “Role Models”

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

A traveling exhibit in partnership with Indianilla Cultural Center, Mexico City and Real de Catorce Cultural Center, Real de Catorce,...

Santa Monica City Council Approves New Rules to Streamline Meetings

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Pilot program will run through end of year By Dolores Quintana At the Santa Monica City Council meeting on June...

Banning Construction of New Gas Stations in Los Angeles?

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Motion from LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz calls for banning the building of any new gas pumping facilities By Sam...

Child Of Elon Musk Receives Approval For Name And Gender Change: Santa Monica Beat – June 27th, 2022

June 27, 2022

June 27, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Child Of Elon Musk Receives Approval For Name And Gender Change * Smash...