The Day of Reckoning is Here At This Critical Meeting of Santa Monica City Council Re SMO
It’s going to be crowded, and there will be opposition like pilots and those that are on the gravy train of Santa Monica’s “gift of public funds,” but the Venice Environmental Alliance (and hopefully many Venetians) will be there also – to remind the city council that decades of unfairness and toxic dumping on Venice must stop.
A lot of groups are joining us in this battle (see their included notices below), and there is a rally at 5:30pm in front.
Santa Monica City Hall
March 24th, 2015 (Tuesday) 6:30pm
1685 Main Street, Room 209
Santa Monica, California 90401
If you are not able to come and speak, please email the Council Members firstname.lastname@example.org your opinions about the airport. Or use the easy ‘click and send’ link at bottom to send a pre-printed note.
Venice Environmental Alliance
Don’t forget to come to the City Council meeting tomorrow, Tuesday 24, 2015 and make sure your voice is heard. This critical meeting will decide much about the future of the airport. The public portion of the meeting begins at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers, Santa Monica City Hall: 1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401. You may park in the nearby city parking area and validate your parking immediately outside chambers.
Airport2Park is recommending a 3-phase strategy towards repurposing airport land, with the first phase beginning on July 1, 2015 when the 1984 agreement expires. In this first phase we propose converting the non-aviation land that is currently being used for aircraft tie-downs for use as parkland and playing fields. This action, which can begin immediately, would enlarge the current Airport park from 7 acres to over 21 acres, making it the second largest park in Santa Monica. If enough people let the Council know that this is what they want, we really can expect that this process will begin July 1.
If you wish to speak, you must submit a chit at the desk before the airport item comes up for discussion. You will have just two minutes to speak, so make sure you have timed what you want to say so that you will be done within 2 minutes. It is also possible for one person to donate their time to another so giving that person 4 minutes to speak. Both people must be present at the time the speaker is called. There will be lots of people there, so plan on a long night.
If you can’t make the Council meeting, please consider sending an e-mail email@example.com , this will be received by all council members.
For more details on Airport2Park’s recommendations, see: http://airport2park.org/july-1-2015-measure-lc-begins/
See you there!
Please meet us at City Hall on Tuesday night for the Council meeting to discuss the airport future plans. There will be a rally at 5:30 pm outside city hall before the meeting.
There will be media there, for sure.
There will be pilots.
If you can’t stay for the meeting, then just come for the short rally. Make a sign if you are inspired, or use one we will have on hand, or just be there for support.
We all got involved for a reason.
Hope to see you there.
For Speaking Tuesday
nightYou have three choices as a speaker, so here are some helpful points:
1. You can show up at or after 530 pm and attend the No Jets rally. There will be instructions for putting in your “speaking chit” at City Hall, 1645 Main Street.
2. You can show up and put in your own “chit”.
3. You can hit “Reply” and send me an email and I will put in a chit for you with the SPAA speakers. Then show up at 645 pm.
4. If you don’t want to speak but want to “volunteer your time” to another speaker, we always need those!
Speakers get 2 minutes to speak, which is enough to make some well-prepared comments effectively. If you want 4 minutes, bring a volunteer who has to be at your side when you start speaking. You then get the volunteer’s 2 minutes and you can then speak for 4 minutes. As mentioned above, we might have a volunteer for you.
Please come Tuesday night. The decision will directly affect the number of flight operations that impact your home (and your kid’s school) every day for the next 3 years.
CITY OF SANTA MONICA REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA
TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2015
CITY HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS – 1685 MAIN STREETBelow is information on how to submit written as well as public comment to Santa Monica City Council regarding Agenda Item 8-A .
Any member of the public unable to attend a meeting but wishing to comment on an item(s) listed on the agenda may submit written comments prior to the meeting by mailing them to: City Clerk, 1685 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Comments may also be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. STAFF ADMINISTRATIVE ITEMS:
8-A: The Santa Monica Airport And Future Options Regarding Its Operations And The City’s Use Of The Land Now Occupied By The Airport – recommendation that the City Council review and comment on future options regarding operation of the Santa Monica Airport (“Airport” or “SMO”) and the City’s future use of its land currently occupied by the Airport and direct staff to: 1.continue with a full range of planning, environmental and legal work that would enable the City to determine the future use of the City’s land, including possible closure of all or part of the Airport; such work to include, but not be limited to, pursuing legal resolution of issues relating to control of the land, undertaking preliminary environmental and design work as to both the western parcel and the entire Airport, and assessing the possibility of a City-sponsored 2016 ballot measure; 2. continue to implement measures to reduce adverse impacts of Airport operations, through imposing appropriate conditions in leases and any other lawful means; 3. continue to promote Airport self-sufficiency to ensure that the Airport is not a drain on the general fund during this period of possible transition, including by: increasing any rents that may not be at market rate; renegotiating for Council approval expired master leases to address subleasing and thereby provide for the City’s receipt of full revenues from the use of City property; and obtaining private assistance with leasing and property management; 4. work to reduce and eliminate aviation uses of the land released from aviation use; 5. negotiate and execute new leases with two current non-aviation subtenants (VW-Audi and Milstein), The Museum of Flying, Atlantic Aviation, and Krueger Aviation with lease terms expiring either three years from execution or by June 30, 2018, whichever date is earlier; and 6. continue to receive, assess and provide recommendations based on community input on all aspects of Airport operations and use of the land now occupied by the Airport.
SM Airport Commission Notes on Item 8-A (David Goddard)
Good Evening Mr. Mayor, City Council Members, Madame City Attorney, and Madame City Manager –We have recently witnessed the Harrison Ford airplane crash, who fortunately survived, and the Mark Benjamin jet crash, who unfortunately, along with his three passengers and their pets, did not. The community is fortunate that it was not impacted by either of these events. The latter could have been catastrophic if the jet had gone off the end of the runway. These are warning signs. We must pay attention to them. We must also remember that every day, the users of our airport are blowing poison on our neighbors to the east. This is unconscionable to inflict this injury. Up to now, we can say that we did not have the ability to make a change because of our contractual obligations. On July 1, 2015
, we no longer have that defense. We now have the right and the obligation to mitigate those dangers.Three-Year Leases
In the March 2014 City Council meeting on the airport, the City Staff recommended 1-year leases for aviation tenants and 5-year leases for non-aviation tenants. I objected because this proposed policy was discriminatory to the aviation tenants.[i] Staff agreed and modified the recommended leasing policy to 3-year leases for each class of user to avoid potential discrimination claims.
The Staff’s March 2015 recommendation for 3-year leases for only 5 tenants, 2 of which are aviation tenants, appears to violate the “non-discrimination” and “no exclusive rights” provisions of the 1948 Instrument of Transfer and 1994 Grant Assurances related to users not granted 3-year leases.[ii] Further, it ignores the unanimous March 2014 City Council direction to implement the 3-year terms in conjunction with the LMSD leasing policy.[iii] This leasing policy is critical because it legally discriminates against a use as allowed by the courts, not illegally discriminating against a user as recommended by staff, which is disallowed by the courts and our remaining agreement(s).
Under our agreements, if you give one 3-year lease to an aviation business, you must give all aviation businesses 3-year leases. Under our agreements, if you allow one aviation business at the airport, you must allow all aviation businesses at the airport. On July 1, 2015, we are no longer obligated to have any aviation businesses, but if you allow one, you must allow them all. The residents have made themselves quite clear in public comments at both previous City Council airport meetings that they no longer wish to have incompatible businesses as neighbors at the airport. They are concerned about having Atlantic Aviation as a neighboring incompatible use for three more years. This is why the Airport Commission recommended month-to-month leases for all tenants and an LMSD leasing policy.
Legal Strategies vs. Airport Commission Recommendations
The last three City legal strategies have failed so we prefer to avoid them. Instead, we would prefer is to comply with our agreements, with what they really say, not how they can potentially be interpreted by the FAA. We would prefer to exert our rights as a proprietor in the “land use” arena as the courts clearly provide to the proprietor.[iv] And if that draws a challenge, then at least we are on solid legal ground, unlike the C and D aircraft ban, which clearly violated what our agreements said by “unjustly discriminating against a class of aircraft” ii and in the “safety arena of aviation rules” that the FAA has been given clear jurisdiction.[v]
In 2012, the Airport Commission recommended raising landing fees and charging them to all users. We were told by Staff that the City could not because the current fee schedule was part of a settlement agreement with the FAA. Well, that Staff Member is now gone, the landing fees have been raised by over $1 million per year, the fees are now charged to all users, pattern flying has significantly declined, and there was no Part 16 hearing or challenge by the aviation folks. This occurred because the Airport Commission’s recommendations comply with our agreements and are supported by case law.
We now have a simple contract expiration of the 1984 Agreement. The City is no longer required to lease space to aviation businesses at the airport or sell aviation fuel. The Airport Commission is 2 for 2. The last three legal strategies are 0 for 3. Please help us implement the next Airport Commission recommendation.
Request For Support for March 2015 Actions
I would like to personally request, on behalf of the residents, your support for the community strategy which is comprised of Airport Commission recommendations.
July 1, 2015:
a) maintain all tenants on month-to-month leases.
b) raise all rental rates to the market rates paid by non-aviation tenants subject to the City’s arts leasing policy.
c) provide a good faith notice to all tenants and airport users of aDecember 1, 2015 implementation of a LMSD leasing policy and the discontinuance of fuel sales.
d) negotiate direct leases with subtenants giving priority to the largest, i.e., Volkswagen and Milstien.
After December 1, 2015:
a) implement a LMSD leasing policy to eliminate uses that are incompatible with surrounding residential neighborhoods.
b) discontinue fuel sales.
c) subject to compliance with federal law, implement the environmental ordinance limiting aircraft pollution quantities.
I am happy to discuss any aspect of this strategy with you.
Thank you. Regards, David
[i] No Exclusive Rights. Court of Appeals. City of Pompano Beach v. FAA (1985). The FAA listed ten differences between lease offered to Brettman and leases held by the incumbent fixed base operators and ruled that the City was in violation of the Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C.App. 1349(a), and in noncompliance with the terms and conditions of its deed of conveyance. The Court affirmed the FAA’s order, requiring the City to offer Brettman a lease with “terms, conditions, and requirements substantially identical” to those in the leases held by the Beckers.
[ii] No Exclusive Rights and Unjust Discrimination AgreementsNo Exclusive Rights. Grant Assurance 23. The sponsor of a Federally obligated airport: “will permit no exclusive right for the use of the airport by any person providing, or intending to provide, aeronautical services to the public …. It further agrees that it will not, either directly or indirectly, grant or permit any person, firm, or corporation, the exclusive right at the airport to conduct any aeronautical activities ….”Unjust Discrimination and No Exclusive Rights. 1948 Instrument of Transfer. The conditions contained in instruments of conveyance under the Surplus Property Act are as follows: “the land, buildings, structures, improvements and equipment in which this instrument transfers any interest shall be used for public airport purposes for the use and benefit of the public, on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination and without grant or exercise of any exclusive right
for use of the airport”.
Unjust Discrimination. Grant Assurance 22. “The owner of any airport developed with Federal grant assistance is required to operate the airport for the use and benefit of the public and to make it available to all types, kinds, and classes of aeronautical activity on reasonable terms, and without unjust discrimination.” See also 49 U.S.C. § 47107(a)(1) through (6).
[iii] Staff March 2014 proposal slide Item 4 (See SMCC TV at 3/25/14 4:16:20) stated: “Revise leasing policies, maintaining revenues so as not to burden the general fund. Non-aviation uses: 3 years w/annual options at City’s discretion. Aviation uses: 3 years w/annual options at City’s discretion.” The City Council amended this proposal with “Come up with leasing guidelines that are sensitive to the environment…, …stop activities and can require environmental remediation…, and the leasing guidelines at least be modeled on the Light Manufacturing and Studio District Guidelines.”
[iv] Proprietor Land Use Rights. Control.Court of Appeals. City of Burbank v. Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority (1999). “We conclude from the foregoing authorities that local governments retain their power to regulate land use, even with regard to safety and noise control, so long as it does not touch upon the control of aircraft or airspace, or any aspect of aviation navigation.”District Court. Air Transport Ass’n v. Crotti, (1975). The Supreme Court, in its decision in City of Burbank, noted: “[i]t is now firmly established that the airport proprietor is responsible for the consequences which attend his operation of a public airport. That correlating right of proprietorship control is recognized and exempted from judicially declared federal pre-emption by [City of Burbank]…. Manifestly, such proprietary control necessarily includes the basic right to determine the type of air service a given airport proprietor wants its facilities to provide, as well as the type of aircraft to utilize those facilities. The intent of Congress not to interfere with such basic airport control is made clear in the legislative history….”
Supreme Court. City of Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal, Inc. (1973) “…the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been given broad authority to regulate the use of the navigable airspace… …and ‘for the protection of persons and property on the ground…” however, “…Airport owners acting as proprietors can presently deny the use of their airports to aircraft on the basis of noise considerations so long as such exclusion is nondiscriminatory.’”
Georgia Supreme Court. Gifford-Hill v. Harrison, (1972) “…a county governing authority can create geographical areas within the boundaries of a county which are called zones; the governing authority can declare that the land in a zone can be used only for
specified purposes or uses and that all other specified purposes or uses of the land in that zone are prohibited.”
Georgia Supreme Court Matthews v. Fayette County (1974) “Zoning ordinances must be enforced in a reasonable and nondiscriminatory manner in order to satisfy equal protection requirements, and whether they are so uniformly enforced is a question of fact.”
FAA Director’s Determination. Right to Refuse Long Term Leases. Thermco Aviation, Inc. v. L.A., Final Agency Decision (2007). “The proprietor may refuse to agree to a tenant’s preferred terms, and may refuse to enter long-term arrangements when contemplating redevelopment.”
Proprietor Land Use Rights. Compatibility
Court of Appeals. Santa Monica Airport Ass’n v. City of Santa Monica, (1981). It found that the “rationale for the [proprietor’s] exemption extends beyond purely financial concerns. The [proprietor] should be allowed to define the threshold of its liability, and to enact noise ordinances under the municipal-proprietor exemption if it has a rational belief that the ordinance will reduce the possibility of liability or enhance the quality of the City’s human environment.”
Supreme Court. British Airways Bd. v. Port Auth. of N.Y. and N.J., (1977) “It noted the proprietor’s powers and responsibilities, including the proprietor’s ability to determine the airport’s location, acquire property and air easements, assure compatible land use, and assume liability for local aviation impacts, and the fact that the airport proprietor was simply in a better position to take these actions. [T]he inherently local aspect of noise control can be most effectively left to the operator, the unitary local authority who controls airport access. It has always seemed air to assume that the operator will act in a rational manner in weighing the commercial benefits of proposed service against its costs, both economic and political.
The Supreme Court. Euclid v. Ambler Realty. (1926). “As an exercise of police power, zoning—and presumably enforceable comprehensive plans—must be reasonable, not be arbitrary, and bear a substantial relation to public health, safety, and welfare. The Court cited the nuisance maxim, “sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas” [Use your property so as not to injure another’s] as useful in resolving doubts as to the legitimacy of the application of a zoning ordinance. In its review, the Court noted that a zoning ordinance must be justified as an exercise of police power “asserted for the public welfare,” the legitimacy of which is assessed in a fact-specific manner, depending on the circumstances and locality.
District Court. Harris v. City of Wichita, (1994) (holding that airport overlay district restrictions on development were reasonably related to goal of minimizing impact of plane crashes) (citing Allright Colo., Inc. v. City and County of Denver). This requirement does not mean that a regulation must be certain to achieve its stated purpose, merely that the enacting governmental body could rationally conclude that the regulation would do so.
Aircraft Accidents and Safety Considerations, See generally WARD ET AL., vol. 1, at ch. 7. Airport safety is affected by hazardous uses that can cause aircraft accidents and uses that may increase (or decrease) the severity of accidents should they occur. Factors that can affect accident severity include high concentrations of people; frequency of use; high-risk sensitive uses; and the presence of open spaces.
[v] FAA Aircraft Control and Safety Mandate
Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 40103, the United States has sovereignty over navigable airspace, which includes that needed for takeoff and landing aircraft. The principal aviation responsibilities assigned to the FAA under the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, as amended, 49 U.S.C. § 40101 et seq., concern promoting the safety of air commerce. The basic national policies intended to guide FAA actions under the Federal Aviation Act are set forth at 49 U.S.C. § 40101(d), which provides public interest standards including assigning, maintaining, and enhancing safety as the highest priorities in air commerce.
See Court of Appeals. City of Burbank v. Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority (1999) above.
See Supreme Court. City of Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal, Inc. (1973) above.
Dear Santa Monica City Council,
I support the following:
Ending the “Fly Neighborly” Program, and create a more equitable flight pattern over Venice, Mar Vista AND Santa Monica.
Creating Month-to-month leases for businesses on airport property. This allows for flexibility in planning.
Shortening of the runway, which would allow for buffer zones, and provide use for smaller aircraft only.
Stopping of all fuel sales. This would stop planes from coming into SMO for the purpose of refueling and would provide a healthier atmosphere.
Removing the parcel that Santa Monica owns at the western end of the airport from aviation use for non-aviation uses, preferably a recreation and wildlife area.
I agree with city officials, Ted Lieu, Bill Rosendahl, and Mike Bonin and many other policy makers and residents, that the airport needs to close. I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I feel that Santa Monica needs to take responsibility for improving the conditions under which we all must live.