COUNCIL REVIEWS NEW AIRPORT INITIATIVE, OKs NEW BUDGET

The City Council has two very big decisions to make
at its Tuesday night City Council meeting.

First, it asked staff to prepare a “City Council In-
itiative that would empower voters to decide the fu-
ture of Santa Monica Airport and meanwhile preserve
the City’s ability to manage the airport and mitiga-
teits impacts while airport’s future is decided.”

The staff recommends that the City Council direct
preparation of the resolutions necessary to place an
initiative on the November ballot that would empower
the voters to decide the future of the Santa Monica
Airport (“Airport”) and in the meantime preserve the
City’s authority to manage the Airport and mitigate
its adverse impacts.

At its May 13 meeting, the Council directed staff
to formulate a proposed ballot measure relating to
the future of the Santa Monica Airport which could,
if necessary, provide voters with an alternative to
the initiative measure currently proposed by aviat-
ion interests.

Basically, the measure would require a vote of the
people to close the Airport or to change the use of
the Airport land, and it would prohibit the City
from imposing additional restrictions on Airport te-
nants and users prior to such a vote.Thus, the mea-
sure would preserve the status quo for the benefit
of the aviation community and deprive the City Coun-
cil of its authority to, for instance, set leasing
policy for the Airport and thereby address adverse
impacts of Airport operations on surrounding neigh-
borhoods.

Proponents of the measure contend that it is neces-
sary because, among other things, they assert that
closure of the Airport would inevitably lead to ov-
erdevelopment of the property that would contribute
to traffic congestion.

The Council rejected this contention and directed –
staff to formulate a counter measure that would ad-
dress concerns about the future of the Airport and
future use of the Airport land but also preserve
Council’s ability to manage the Airport in order to
protect neighbors and other Santa Monica residents
from adverse impacts of Airport operations to the
extent that the law allows.

This report recommends preparation of a measure that
would give voters the right to vote on Airport clo-
sure without depriving Council of its authority to
act to protect residents from adverse Airport, imp-
acts or otherwise to properly manage the Airport.

The Council will also approve the new budget, which
totals $624.6 million, or more than half-a-billion
dollars. The general fund for 2014-15 totals $328.6
million.

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