Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer
Observer Publisher 

City of Santa Monica Votes to Close the Airport. Good luck with that

City Council sets a timeline to close the 100-year-old Santa Monica airport


August 4, 2016

Executive jet landing at Santa Monica airport with Century city in the background

It's not really their decision to make, since the Federal Aviation Administration has a permanent easement on 92% of the land. Nevertheless, the Santa Monica City Council approved a motion Tuesday night, to set a timeline for the closure of Santa Monica at Cloverfield airport. We will see what the Feds have to say about this!

City residents object to the noise, air pollution, and occasional accidents produced by the airport. It is no secret that the airport is a Rich White mans club, populated by executives and famous actors like Harrison Ford. Ford crashed his P 52 Mustang on a local golf course last year, just after taking off from Cloverfield.

Cloverfield airport is named after George Clover, an otherwise forgotten World War I American ace. It opened in 1918. In World War II it was the headquarters of Douglas aircraft, an essential part of the nation's war effort, and easily the largest employer in the City of Santa Monica. But when Douglas moved to St. Louis in 1975, the airport's economic importance greatly declined.

The City claims it intends to transform the 223 acre airport into a large park. However, in order to pay all 4000 City Employees, including a "Community Forrester" and a Director of City Teen Film Festival more than $200,000 a year, it will be necessary to intensively develop most of it--i.e., they will build another Century City. If you don't believe me, just watch. Their pensions depend on it.

From Wikipedia: In 2015, or 2023 the City of Santa Monica's settlement agreement with the FAA concerning the airport expires. The city has since invited the public to offer input regarding the airport's future.

The City of Santa Monica sued the federal government seeking to void a 1948 agreement in which the City agreed to keep the land for aviation use in perpetuity in exchange for title to the property.

On February 13, 2014, Judge John F. Walter dismissed the lawsuit ruling that the City's "quiet title action" was barred by the statute of limitations and that the other issues would not be ripe for a judicial decision until the City decides definitively whether it will close the airport.

Here's the press release from the City's Minister of Information, Constance Farrell :

City Council Approves Motion to Set Timeline for the Closure of the Santa Monica Airport

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – On Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved a motion to consider a resolution indicating its intent to close the Santa Monica Airport by June 30, 2018 or as soon as legally permitted. Council directed staff to bring a proposed resolution to its August 23, 2016 meeting.

"We are committed to reclaiming our land and this motion gets us closer to protecting the health and safety of our residents, and to transitioning the Airport land to better uses, uses the community has asked for at the ballot box," said Mayor Tony Vazquez who introduced the motion with Mayor Pro Tempore Ted Winterer.

In 2014, Santa Monica voted to pass Ballot Measure LC, which mandates that if the Airport land is permanently closed to aviation uses, it will be used for parks, open space, and recreational facilities, unless the voters decide otherwise.

A plane crash in Marivista in 2015 is the inevitable result of locating an airport in a populated area.

The Council also directed the City Manager to report back to it on what other measures could be taken in the interim to reduce the impacts of the Airport and to implement the proposed resolution, which includes jump starting the planning process and environmental analysis under the California Environment Quality Act to get Santa Monica closer to the community's vision for the land.

"This motion helps clear the air regarding our intent, which is to close the Airport as soon as is possible. Equally important is to dispel rumors that the City wants to turn the Airport into a massive development," said Mayor Pro Tempore Ted Winterer.

The City Council will consider the resolution to close the Santa Monica Airport on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at Santa Monica City Hall, City Council Chambers, 1685 Main Street.

For more information on the efforts to close the Santa Monica Airport, visit


Reader Comments

Samo writes:

With the city council not supporting LUVE and SMC putting a $300M bond on the November ballot and SMC not needing local approval for construction projects its a good bet that the airport will be developed for an expanded SMC campus and Sunset Park and Mar Vista will be trading air traffic for car traffic.

NoSMO writes:

Are the people that support the airport actually exposed to the noise and visual soot (aka pollution) being spit out of these airplanes 250+ times a day? When a Bombardier departing from SMO that seats 22 rumbles over Venice at 500 ft. it may not feel much different than a 3.5 quake but sure does solidify the need for a rational explanation as to why SMO is still in operation. Considering FAA policy is a mandatory 800ft above sea level by Lincoln Blvd and 900ft according to SMO’s flight procedures, it is unacceptable that these violations occur on a daily basis. If Santa Monica Airport and its management cannot abide by FAA standards and continues to jeopardize the safety of the public it needs to be closed ASAP.

LTSMRES writes:

To build the park the city will need to raise a lot of revenue because its going to be expensive to build and expensive to operate and maintain. The city will either have to raise taxes on residents - most likely property owners or develop a good chunk of the airport. The city can not tax the residents in LA who will be the prime beneficiaries. The majority of SM residents won't get any beneift - they will have to pay for it or suffer the increased traffic and pollution from development of SMO and increased air traffic from LAX and lower altitudes and more development in LA due to elimination of the zoning height restrictions for the SMO runway approaches. Either way this is a losing deal for 95% of SM residents.

Pete writes:

Harrison Ford did not crash in a P52 Mustang which was a high performance WW2 fighter but, rather, a PT-22 (trainer) known commercially as the Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR.

None writes:

LC is a 'sham measure' you say? You know the twelve acres that were until recently used for aircraft tie downs? Guess what? That land is now the future sight of a park! Not century city, not a football stadium, not a garden gnome factory, not a wal mart. Back in 2014 the voters passed LC and defeated measure D despite the fear tactics proliferated by the measure D campaign. Those fear tactics, amazingly, are still in circulation. The people didnt buy it in 2014. Why would we buy it now?

fly writes:

The mayor is hypocritical as he sponsored this item, but also flys into SMO on jets even after curfew. Guess he will have to start driving to the valley to fly on his chartered jets after he closes the airport

WhatHaveyou writes:

'doesn't understand the implications of measure LC' You mean the sham measure that allows the SM city council to 'replace' existing structures 'without voter approval?' That one? Yes, that's the one that doesn't limit what the existing structures can be replaced WITH. The one that allows it to build 'recreational facilities,' including a football stadium for SMC, again without voter approval. Oh, and what the developers and neighborhood land speculators don't want you to know is that SMO prevents a Century City AROUND the airport as well, because of FAA height restrictions. If SMO goes away, the height restrictions go away. And of course there's the fact that if SMO goes away, heavy jets from LAX will be allowed to fly lower and directly over Santa Monica to save fuel, dumping far more soot and pollution on our heads than SMO ever could. And nice 'journalism' with that caption. There has never been a neighbor of Santa Monica Airport killed by a plane crash. IN A CENTURY.

None writes:

By saying the airport land will be used to build another century city the author of this article doesn't understand the implications of measure LC. Do some research, man!

Ben writes:

The Federal Government does NOT have a permanent easement on 92% of the land. That is a false statement and not even in dispute.


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