Santa Monica Airport (File photo)

This time it’s really happening, hopefully.

After hours of debate, City Council is slated to make a final decision on the Zoning Ordinance Tuesday night.

Public comment was heard last week and council debated until after 3 a.m. before continuing the item to this week. The ordinance, which will dictate land use throughout the city for years to come, is all but wrapped up. Public comment won’t be heard again and, in theory, council will be able to approve the ordinance after hearing some language tweaks made by city attorneys and planners.

Emissions ordinance

Councilmember Terry O’Day is asking council to consider creating an ordinance and leasing standard that would “limit allowable emissions of air pollutants from aircraft and other sources at the Santa Monica airport.”

Discussion, the item says, may relate to actions proposed by the Airport Commission and the Task Force on the Environment.

Last year, the Airport Commission approved of an ordinance that would ban aircraft that produce 40 or more pounds of hydrocarbon per hour when idling and 200 pounds per hour of nitrogen and oxides when in takeoff mode. Those limits would be phased down over time to become more restrictive.

The commission, which is made up of several members who have openly expressed a desire to close the airport, voted 3 to 1 to send the ordinance to council. Lael Rubin, the lone dissenter, questioned City Hall’s legal authority to enact such an ordinance.

In March, council voted on the airport’s future, acknowledging that many actions would result in litigation. They agreed, at the time, with the city attorneys’ rejection of the Airport Commission-crafted emissions ordinance. City attorneys doubted the ordinance would hold up in court and instead suggested that council direct city officials to negotiate better environmental standards with lessees who, for instance, sell fuel at the airport.

O’Day’s request comes in the form of a discussion item, which is an early step in the process of making policy, so it includes little information as to the specifics of his plan. If council takes action, they’d likely direct city attorneys to come back later with fleshed out policy.

Neighbors of the airport have long complained of its impacts, including pollution caused by aircraft. In July, a key agreement between City Hall and the Federal Aviation Administration expires, granting the former more control of portions of the 227-acre space.

New city manager

Council will meet early Tuesday, at 4 p.m., to have a closed session discussion of the new city manager — City Hall’s top job. Rod Gould retired from the post in January after giving a half-year’s notice.

Elaine Polachek, who’d previously served as assistant city manager, took City Hall’s helm after Gould left his office.

In November, council hired Alliance Resource Consulting to help in the hunt for the new captain.

“We will not be meeting with any applicants, just the consultant, to get a report on how the search has gone and decide if there are applicants we want to interview at a later date,” Mayor Kevin McKeown said of the scheduled discussion.

The title comes with a big payday: Polachek is making the equivalent of $329,000 per year.

Short-term rental ordinance

An ordinance that increases enforcement of the most popular types of short-term rentals is up for final adoption after a second reading Tuesday night. Council preliminarily approved the ordinance last week and second readings almost always pass.

The Los Angeles Short Term Rental Alliance has vowed to rally outside of City Hall in opposition to the ordinance before the meeting.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *