On Tuesday, April 26, Angela Eren wrote an excellent appeal for keeping the Santa Monica Airport open. Predictably, Zina Josephs countered a few days later (April 28) with another of her anti-airport rants. Josephs conveniently overlooked Eren’s statements regarding families being able to learn about aviation at the airport and her children being able to experience flights, free of charge, through the Young Eagles Program. Eren’s appreciation of the airport as “the best asset of Santa Monica because it protects our community from over development,” is a valid one, shared by many. She’s right in saying that it is the airport that prevents the building of high rises in Santa Monica and the surrounding areas. Without the airport, we would have Century City style development all throughout the Westside.
Building heights around airports in California are regulated by both Federal law via the FAA (Federal Regulation Title 14 Part 77) and State law (CA DOT regulations on building height limits). Federal and State laws set height limits on buildings within a 3.8 mile radius around SMO. Clearly, local land use jurisdictions have final authority to approve or disapprove land uses within their boundaries, but they must adhere to the legal limits set by Federal and State law.
If SMO and its Federal and State limits on building heights were gone, the City of Los Angeles will surely decide to allow high rises on the Westside and there is no guarantee that Santa Monica wouldn’t do the same with special zoning and “Opportunity Sites.”
Many of us are convinced that our tax dollars are being spent to eradicate the Airport because a number of City Council members have shown themselves to be excessively developer-friendly and will most likely benefit financially if the Airport were to close and development were to take place in and around Airport property.