City officials narrowly made a deadline on Friday to file an appeal challenging an FAA hearing officer’s ruling that an ordinance banning jets from Santa Monica Airport put the municipality in violation of its federal obligations.
Hearing officer Anthony Palladino sided with the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month on several major points in its argument that the 2008 ordinance was illegal, finding that the ban discriminates against certain classes of aeronautical activities and the operation of the airport. The hearing was held in March in response to the FAA’s administrative review on the jet ban last year.
The FAA’s associate administrator for policy, planning and the environment would need to issue a ruling on the appeal by July 8, representing the agency’s final position on the matter. If found unfavorable to City Hall, another challenge is expected with the federal appellate court.
City officials have argued that the jet ban is necessary to protect residents who live in homes just 300 feet from the end of the runway, which they believe lacks adequate safety measures, fueling fears that a plane could one day overshoot it. The FAA has presented several safety options, including installing a series of concrete beds meant to give way under the weight of an aircraft. The proposals were dismissed last year as being inadequate, leading to the adoption of the ordinance.