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

SM Airport Dodges Another Bullet in City's Attempt to Close Cloverfield

FAA Appeals Panel Rules accepting grant money in 2003, means airport open until at least 2023

 

August 19, 2016

Angeles stated that Huffman's decision was supported "by a preponderance" of reliable evidence and consistent with federal law, court precedent and FAA policy. Exhausting the FAA's administrative review process is a condition precedent to filing an action in US District Court, which the City will no doubt now do.

In the City's long-running battle to close the Santa Monica Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has only to lose one time and the airport closes. Thus far, the City seems to always lose. Stay tuned.

Eduardo A. Angeles, the FAA's associate administrator for airports, acted as the appellate panel for the FAA. Angeles affirmed a decision made in December by Byron K. Huffman, acting director of the agency's Office of Airport Compliance. This effectively upholds a decision by Huffman, acting as a trial court, mandating that SMO stay open until at least 2023.

A Federal airport improvement grant of $240,600 accepted by Santa Monica in August 2003 required the facility to stay open until August 2023. Grant terms usually expire 20 years after their acceptance under the Code of Federal Regulations, Huffman reasoned, thus binding the City to leave use the Airport for Aviation until 2023.

In court papers, the Santa Monica City Attorney has repeatedly argued that all grant requirements expired in June 2014, 20 years after an original grant of $1.6 million was received. The 2003 grant of $240,600 additional "was merely an amendment to the original 1995 grant," said the City Attorney.

Angeles stated that Huffman's decision was supported "by a preponderance" of reliable evidence and consistent with federal law, court precedent and FAA policy.

Angeles stated that Huffman's decision was supported "by a preponderance" of reliable evidence and consistent with federal law, court precedent and FAA policy. Exhausting the FAA's administrative review process is a condition precedent to filing an action in US District Court, which the City will no doubt now do.

If it strikes you as curious that the FAA is adjudicating a dispute over closing an airport it controls, you're got a point. Remember this is one step in a process. Exhausting the FAA's administrative review process is a condition precedent to filing an action in United States District Court, which the City will no doubt now do. The drive to shot down Cloverfield enjoys a lot of political support here, especially in the southern part of Santa Monica.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-airport-ruling-20160815-snap-story.html

Among those opposing the City in papers filed before the commission, were Star Wars actor Harrison Ford, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assn. and the National Business Aviation Assn. The first is especially interesting, since Ford crashed landed his vintage plane onto Penmar Golf Course, shortly after takeoff from the airport in 2015.

Santa Monica's 100 year old airport is named after George Cloverfield, an otherwise forgotten World War I ace. Much of the housing around the airport was built to house riveters at Douglas Aircraft, whose Santa Monica Airport headquarters played an important role in the American war effort during World War II. Douglas folded shop in Santa Monica in 1972, leaving the Airport kind of a rich men's flying club.

 
 

Reader Comments
(2)

NotAnAviator writes:

It's only become a rich men's flying club because the city has driven out all the modest businesses and middle-class fliers with outrageous fees, rents, and underhanded practices. The ORIGINAL deed states the airport is to be used for aviation in perpetuity. The 20 year date will end up being irrelevant. The airport is a valuable resource for the people of Santa Monica and could be critical in the event of a disaster like a major earthquake. The developer-controlled city council only wants to close it so they can develop it and further line their pockets. Fortunately they don't have the authority to do so. Shame on them for continuing to cost taxpayers for pointless futile legal battles. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Alan writes:

As you so correctly point out, the FAA is ruling on themselves in their own court. The facts will clearly show a Grant was signed sealed and delivered in 1994 with a term of 20 years from the date signed. Those were the terms. The final payment was made in in 2003 and specifically states the payment did not alter any terms of the original grant. The residents and city will prevail. It is obvious when you see the original documents.

 
 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018

Rendered 08/05/2018 11:54