This is the way a key agreement over the future of Santa Monica Airport ends — not with a bang but with a barbecue.

On Wednesday, a key agreement between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and City Hall that dictates control over the Santa Monica Airport expires. Opponents of the airport have had the date circled on their calendars for years but don’t expect empty skies on July 1.

Airport Commissioners had talked about shortening the runway with the coming of the expiration, or banning aviation tenants from airport land.

City attorneys warned, however, that this would invite litigation and City Council has opted for a measured approach.

Airport2Park, an organization whose goal is apparent in its name, is hosting a State of the Park barbeque from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Airport Park.

“There will be a barbeque and games for the entire family,” Airport2Park Foundation President Neil Carrey said in a release. “We’d like everyone who wants to see the asphalt turned into green space to come along, and we hope all the members of the City Council who helped make this possible will join us too. We’re looking to see the planes removed and work begun on the park as soon as possible.”

In May, Councilmember Terry O’Day suggested that council review ways to reduce emissions at the airport.

The Airport Commission had previously recommended the passage of an ordinance that would ban models of aircraft that emit above a certain amount of pollution. Attorneys warned that this too would invite litigation.

“I’d like to offer a motion that we direct staff to, not regulate, as I think we heard that word come out earlier, but to consider strategies as an operator to reduce the air pollution from our airport,” O’Day said in May. “Those strategies ought to be practical and we ought to look to examples in our community like some of the ones that we’ve heard … I think we don’t want to attempt to cross over our authority in this matter but we do want to try to take the actions that we can as an operator of the airport.”

Council agreed with O’Day and the strategies are expected to come before council in July.

Also expected to come before council in July are a slew of airport leases, both aviation and non-aviation. Many of the non-aviation leases, like the one proposed for the Ruskin Theater, the Spitfire Grill, and Typhoon restaurant, are for three years. Several of the aviation leases will remain month-to-month.

City Hall is also cutting out the middleman on several of the airport properties, organizing profit-sharing agreements for tenants that are subleasing at a large profit.

Unrelated to the expiring agreement is the Southern California Metroplex, which the FAA is still crafting. It’s meant to govern flight patterns up and down the coast.

In order to avoid conflicts between SMO and Los Angeles Airport, the FAA is proposing some changes to takeoff and landing patterns.

City officials expect that some of the changes, like a reduction in idling time on the runway, will be beneficial for residents.

They are concerned about a pattern that results in a turn around Fifth Street — between Lincoln Boulevard and the ocean — that could result in more flights over residential neighborhoods.

The plan is still in draft form and the FAA’s plans are not final. More details are expected to be released later this year.

dave@www.smdp.com

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