The Federal Aviation Administration is set to unveil regional air transportation plan this week that could impact flight paths over Santa Monica.

The FAA’s Southern California Metroplex draft environmental assessment is scheduled to be released on Wednesday and the agency is set to publicly discuss the draft at the Santa Monica Main Public Library on June 17.

From December of 2009 to June of the following year, the FAA ran tests that routed aircraft over ocean Park, rather than straight to the ocean, city officials said in a report on the Metroplex project.

“At the time, the FAA explained that an adjustment in the departure heading was required to decouple LAX and SMO (Santa Monica Airport) departure paths over the ocean,” Airport Manager Stelios Makrides said in his report to council.

Residents complained and city officials argued against the tests on their behalf, the report claims.

“The FAA said, at the time, that it would defer action and address the issue later as part of the SoCal Metroplex project,” Makrides said in the report.

In preparation for the project, city officials met with FAA officials several times last year.

The project’s aim is to streamline aircraft arrival and departure procedures at several Southern California airports ‚Äî spanning from Santa Barbara to San Diego and including the Santa Monica Airport ‚Äî in order to boost efficiency of the airspace, Makrides said.

The SoCal Metroplex project involves changing aircraft flight paths and/or altitudes in certain areas,” he said. “It provides for new flight procedures that are more precise and creates a narrower flight path resulting in a concentration of flights over certain areas. According to the FAA, some residents in areas under the concentrated flight path may experience more noise.”

City officials have had no involvement with identifying or assessing shifts in flight patterns, Makrides said, and they continue to reiterate City Hall’s “opposition to any modifications that would change headings on takeoff from the current heading, by which aircraft fly directly to the coast, rather than over Santa Monica’s hills and more residences.”

Nearby residents have long complained about the news and pollution caused by the aircraft taking off and landing at the 227-acre airport. Others fear for their safety, with the end of the runway located just a few hundred feet from homes.

Advocates of the airport say it would be integral in the event of a widespread emergency and claim it strengthens the local economy.

“The purpose of these public workshops is to provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the SoCal Metroplex project and to submit their comments,” Makrides said. “Representatives from the FAA will be available during the workshop to provide information about the project.”

The FAA’s public workshop will occur from 4 to 7 p.m. on June 17 in the multipurpose room of the main Santa Monica Public Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.

The draft of the environmental report will be available here Wednesday.

dave@smdp.com

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