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City Council votes to begin process for closing Santa Monica Airport

The Santa Monica City Council has voted to approve a new process that will determine the future of the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) and close down operations for good. The city reached a "Consent Decree" with the FAA In 2017 that returned the airport to local control after Dec. 31, 2028. The potential for closure has left the city with extensive planning options for the 227-acre parcel and community participation was requested in the transformation of the land for the community.Santa Monica Airport (SMO) Measure LC was passed in 2014, allowing the City Council to approve the development of parks, public open spaces and public recreational facilities, as well as the maintenance and replacement of existing cultural, arts and education uses on the land. Any new development on airport land that has been permanently closed to aviation use is prohibited unless voters approve limits on the use and development that is allowed on the land. The process to reimagine the airport will take years but provide the community with a preferred alternative use for the future of the airport. This includes a coordinated series of outreach, technical and advanced planning activities to evaluate the potential of the land. The public has new uses, programs and services desired for the area. The approved process begins with a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that will be issued this year, soliciting interest from qualified firms or multi-disciplinary teams to assist the city in developing a process to engage the community on the conversion of the Airport. The RFQ involves community input so residents and stakeholders can articulate interests in the planning process.Airport project timeline The timeline includes consultant selection beginning this spring, project initiation this winter, existing conditions in spring 2024, scenario planning in spring/summer 2026, specific plan initiation in fall/winter 2026, consent decree airport closure authorization in winter 2028 and specific plan adoption late 2028 and beyond. "This is the very beginning of a community process to reimagine the Airport site, which accounts for an unprecedented 4.3% of the City's land," Mayor Gleam Davis said. We know this is an asset Santa Monicans care about and we want to work together to set goals and priorities to meet diverse community needs for the next several generations."
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