Rep.-Waxman-at-airport-forumBy Gary Walker
Rep. Henry Waxman (D- Venice) is asking the Federal Aviaessman, who for several years represented Santa Monica, wrote a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, asking that the FAA participate in a forum in Santa Monica with local residents and city officials to discuss options for the future of the Santa Monica Airport.
“I write about an issue of great importance to constituents in the 33rd District of California, which I represent: the future of Santa Monica Airport,” the congressman began. “I am asking the FAA to participate in a forum to hear from local residents and the city about their priorities for the airport.
“The Santa Monica Airport is just feet from many homes in Santa Monica. For years, residents have had to live with safety, noise and pollution issues at the airport,” Waxman continued. “I share the concerns of the residents living around the airport and have been fighting for improvements for many years.”
Waxman took part in a community forum on the general aviation airport April 27 in Venice and has been increasingly more outspoken regarding what he and other Westside legislators feel are top priorities: providing their constituents with relief from the noise and pollutants from the airport as well as engaging the FAA in conversations about what should happen to the airfield after an operating agreement with the federal government ends in two years.
Banning lead fuel from airplanes, requiring departures to fly over Santa Monica, eliminating flight schools at the airport and prohibiting jets from leaving and flying into the airport were among the topics discussed at the April meeting.
“The operating agreement with the FAA is due to expire in 2015, and the future of the airport is at a critical juncture,” Waxman wrote. “It’s time to start having frank conversation with the FAA about Santa Monica Airport post-2015.”
The date of the expiration of the contract could be a potential obstacle at a future date, as FAA officials have consistently said the agreement expires in 2023.
Since he began representing Venice and Marina del Rey due to redistricting in 2012, Waxman has heard complaints of a different sort. In Santa Monica and neighboring Mar Vista, they were largely centered on the proximity of the runway to residences as well as the pollutants from the jet traffic.
In Venice, the congressman is hearing more about noise from jets taking off and flying over Venice as well as airplane safety.
“As we approach the expiration of the 2015 agreement, I ask that FAA officials participate in a forum in Santa Monica with city of Santa Monica officials and members of the community surrounding the airport to discuss options for the future of the airport,” Waxman wrote.
Venice residents are also interested in a FAA-initiated test regarding a possible change in the flight departure path from the airfield. Currently, aircraft take off from the airport and fly west over Venice. The FAA ran a six-month test in 2011, where departing planes took off over Santa Monica.
Mindy Taylor-Ross is one homeowner who would like to see the flight path change.
“The airport traffic that is sent over our community has increased over the last several years,” said Taylor-Ross, a Venice resident. “We hope that Santa Monica Airport will come together with Los Angeles to share the burden of the flight path with Santa Monica. We want to make it more equitable.”
Santa Monica initiated a visioning plan nearly two years ago to solicit input from businesses and residents about what they would like to see happen regarding the city-owned airport subsequent to 2015.