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Residents Argue Pros and Cons of Community Airport

Posted by John Hathorn on May 16, 2012
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The Following Article is from the Fall 2011 Newsletter

After all these years, the Santa Monica Airport debate continues to rage. With the recent plane crash into a Sunset Park home (luckily only minor injuries resulted) the debate is as lively as ever.

The 20 year FAA contract will be up in 2015 and many neighbors and council members are fighting to have the airport closed.

In the meantime, City Council members are calling for the Santa Monica Airport to shut down its six flight schools and making the controversial experimental flight plan permanent. The usual departure path from the airport is over Penmar Golf Course and Rose Avenue to the beach in Venice. Planes have crash landed onto the golf course and houses  but over-all, the safety record is superb. Yet still, for decades, there have been disputes over flight paths, noise, emissions and the type of jets that can operate there.

Airport sympathizers mostly say the same things like:

  1. The Santa Monica Airport is necessary, especially in time of emergencies.
  2. The airport was here long before any of the complainers were here.
  3. Residents knew about the airport and moved into surrounding homes anyway.
  4. The airport provides valuable jobs.
  5. If the airport closed, what would be next – the freeways?

The folks who want the airport closed down – no later than 2015 counter with:

  1. The needs of the area have changed and no airport is necessary in the immediate area.
  2. The way the airport has been used has changed to include loud, toxic, and polluting jets frequenting the runways.
  3. The area residential density has increased, making the airport’s numerous flight schools more dangerous to the residents below.

One could certainly argue that these are the classic nimby “not in my backyard” attitudes and that the same arguments exist for freeways and interstate highways, schools and shopping centers, but it is hard to argue that these concerns are not valid. Nobody that I know likes the noise, fuel emissions, perceived danger or threat of a plane crash or terrorist and it is certainly enough to get most people to side with those who want the airport shut down.

What is your position?  Should it stay or should it go?  Let us know at

Click Here to download the entire Fall 2011 Newsletter

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