City Readies to Kickoff Public Process for Future Airport Park


On Sunday May 19, the City of Santa Monica kicks off the “Santa Monica Airport Conversion” public process with a public event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Clover Park. This meeting is the first in roughly 70 events planned by the outreach team over the next 18 months that will lead to a “vision booklet” that will summarize the outreach and provide the City Council with a few options on a path forward. For more information on the event, click here.

Under a federal consent decree reached with the federal government, the City of Santa Monica can close the airport on January 1, 2029. Under language inserted into the city charter in a 2014 ballot proposition, the land can only be used for open space or “education purposes” without another change to the charter that would require voter approval.

While there was rancor at the City Council over the selection of an outreach firm and process last year, advocates seem ready to begin the work to close the airport and plan for a great park.

““We congratulate the City for getting the process to close the airport and plan the Great Park going now, nearly five years before the City can close the airport under its agreement with the FAA, because we know that this is a big project that will take time,” said Neil Carrey, President of the Santa Monica Airport2Park Foundation in a statement.

A timeline for the public process for the Santa Monica Airport Conversion public process presented by Sasaki and Associates to the City Council in December,

Last week, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights posted the answers to their candidates’ questionnaire and it included a question about the future of the airport. Five candidates responded to the survey, none of which currently serve on the Council. 

All five of the candidates expressed some level of support for closing the airport and beginning work on creating a public park, although there were some disagreements about how to get from where we are to the final goal. As the Council unanimously supported the final outreach and design teams, everyone on both sides of Santa Monica’s city divide seems to be on board with moving forward on creating a great park.

All five candidate statements on the future of Santa Monica Airport can be found below:

Dan Hall (link to full questionnaire) : The voters have spoken through Measure LC, which I respect and support. The land should be used for “the development of parks, public open spaces, and public recreational facilities; and the maintenance and replacement of existing cultural, arts and education uses.” Land that is not covered by LC, such as south of Airport Ave. or the underutilized business park parking lots should be looked at for opportunities for housing.

Ericka Lesley (link to full questionnaire) : The priority of the airport should be the development of a mixed use of parks and affordable housing units to supply the demands of our community.

Ellis Raskin (link to full questionnaire) : I support the will of the voters, and I agree with the plan to create a Great Park at the airport. We will never have an opportunity in our lifetime to develop a continuous piece of land of that size into a park. That being said, I support developing new housing in close proximity to the amenities that will be provided by the Great Park.

Barry Snell (link to full questionnaire) : I support the airport becoming a park, however, maintaining a park is costly. I also believe that we should allow the residents to have an opportunity to have input as to the future of the land.

Natalya Zernitskaya (link to full questionnaire) : Our main priority should be community-serving uses including a grand park, arts & cultural, and educational uses as specified in 2014’s Measure LC but I believe the community-serving uses include using a portion of the land for housing (especially deed-restricted affordable, mixed income, and/or social housing). However, I believe that we should hold off on seeking to make any changes to Measure LC until we are closer to 2028 as trying to make updates to the City Charter in this manner may inadvertently result in catalyzing opposition to closing the airport.

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

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