County Supervisor Don Knabe wants the county to initiate a lawsuit challenging the environmental impact statement (EIS) and environmental impact report (EIR) for the proposed Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Master Plan if the Los Angeles City Council overrides a county commission opposition to the LAX plan and approves the LAX plan, as expected, in a second vote Tuesday, December 7th.
The City Council was forced to take a second vote on the LAX plan because the plan was opposed by the Los Angeles County Airport Land Use Commission, which found the LAX expansion plan was “inconsistent” with the county Airport Land Use Plan.
Knabe said Tuesday that Los Angeles City Council members — “rather than address the issues raised by the (County Airport Land Use Commission) — have proposed to override the County Airport Land Use Commission’s findings when the City Council votes Tuesday, December 7th,” as the city moves forward with its final approval of the LAX Master Plan.
“The county, as an affected agency, should take issue with the city’s override as the Master Plan is not only inconsistent with the (county Land Use Plan), it also fails to ensure the orderly expansion of LAX while maximizing the public’s exposure to excessive noise and safety hazards, and is, therefore, inconsistent with the overall objectives of the (County Airport Land Use Commission) statutes.
“As a public agency, the county has a right to commence an appeal before the (County Airport Land Use Commission) over the city’s approval of the master plan and should engage in this process.”
Knabe then introduced a motion before the County Board of Supervisors, asking that the county counsel be directed to initiate an appeal with the County Airport Land Use Commission “within the appropriate limitations period” over the city’s approval of the LAX Master Plan on the basis that the LAX plan is inconsistent with the objectives of the County Airport Land Use Commission statutes “and on any other appropriate grounds.”
In a three-page motion before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Knabe offered his view of the progress of the LAX Master Plan:
“Over the past eight years, the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles World Airports (the City of Los Angeles agency that operates LAX and three other city-owned airports) officials have been developing master plans for expansion of Los Angeles International Airport.
“The current LAX Master Plan, promoted by (Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn) as a safety and security plan, will likely receive final approval from the (Los Angeles) City Council on December 7th.
“This plan, now known as the ‘Consensus Plan,’ does not enjoy consensus in our region.
“While the (County Board of Supervisors) supports the broad objectives of a safe, secure and modernized LAX that could accommodate up to 78 million annual passengers, it has been consistent in its opposition to the current master plan.
“The (Board of Supervisors) and several other interested agencies and individuals have raised numerous concerns over the current master plan and its environmental document.
“The county’s comments on the city’s EIS/EIR raise significant issues, including the use of an outdated baseline — 1996, inadequate noise and air quality assessments, environmental justice analysis deficiencies and inadequate alternative analysis.
“The city has not directly addressed the county’s concerns regarding the master plan’s proposed security measures, the need to delete plans to develop the Grand Transportation Center in the Manchester Square area, or the ability of the city to cap growth of LAX at 78 million annual passengers.
“Rather than consider these issues now before taking final action, the city has pushed forward with its Consensus Plan without full study, analysis and public dialogue regarding these important issues and has instead promised to do more study and analysis later.
“And while the city has reached out to other jurisdictions, such as El Segundo, to address their issues and reach agreement, which the city would be supportive of, the city has not engaged in similar negotiations with the county over its numerous issues.
“Furthermore, the county would not have direct rights or the ability to enforce any agreement that is reached between the city and El Segundo.”