A federal judge Monday dismissed a case challenging the agreement between the city of Santa Monica and the Federal Aviation Administration for the immediate shortening of the runway at Santa Monica Airport and the closure of the airport after 2028.
Judge Dismisses All Claims And Closes The Case
Plaintiffs Kate Scott and James Babinski had argued that the city violated the state’s open-meetings law when it entered a consent decree with the FAA. In October, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order briefly halting the shortening of the runway, but later dissolved that order and denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction.
In the current order, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims and closed the case. Gutierrez affirmed a state court’s ruling that the city followed the requirements of the Brown Act when it entered the agreement and held that Public Utilities Code provisions raised by the plaintiffs did not apply.
Airport Runway Shortening Effective Dec. 24
Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer called the ruling “another victory for Santa Monica,” adding that the reduction of flights by large jets will improve the lives of residents and neighbors living adjacent to the airport.
The agreement with the FAA follows decades of work by the Santa Monica community to mitigate impacts of airport operations on local communities. The runway shortening will become effective Dec. 24.
Reduction Of Jet Traffic
Under the FAA agreement announced in January, the city is shortening the airport’s runway from 4,973 feet to 3,500 feet, reducing jet traffic and commercial charters by up to thousands of flights over the next 10 years.
In 2014, Santa Monica voters passed a measure mandating that if the airport closes, the only permitted use of the land without a public vote would be parks, open space, recreation, education and/or cultural use. The agreement calls for 227 acres of airport land to be returned to the city once the airport closes for redevelopment as a park.