A federal court has issued a temporary restraining order preventing the City of Santa Monica from pursuing a project to shorten the runway at Santa Monica Airport.

Senior U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew issued the ruling on Sunday, October 8 based in part on the original construction schedule that would have begun work on Monday, October 9. The ruling gives the city until October 13 to respond and explain why the temporary restraining order should not be made permanent.

Plaintiffs Kate Scott (a Santa Monica resident) and James Babinski (a pilot who uses the airport), filed the motion arguing the city is required to commission an environmental review of the project before work can begin.

The court agreed, citing precedent that requires public hearings for runway work at an airport. The judge ruled the city did not hold public hearings before agreeing to a settlement with the FAA that included the city’s ability to establish runway protection zones and realign the existing runway.

“Thus, Plaintiffs will likely prevail at trial on the merits of their claim that Defendant failed to comply with the foregoing substantive law mandating a public hearing for environmental considerations arising from the terms of the Settlement Agreement,” said the ruling.

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