Santa Monica takes key step forward in the future of its airport

December 20, 2023 5:34 PM

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Dec. 20, 2023) – The City Council Tuesday took a major step forward in the process of closing the Santa Monica Airport, approving an agreement with Sasaki Inc. to assess the existing site conditions, gather public input and propose options for the future of the airport land centered around a “Great Park” consistent with Measure LC.

In addition to bringing on Sasaki to assist, the city also plans to hire a new principal design and planning manager dedicated to the project, pending Personnel Board approval in January 2024.

With Sasaki and additional staff resources onboard, the Airport Conversion Planning Project is set to kick off in early 2024.

“Having been a Recreation and Parks Commissioner for almost 14 years, I believe that our city needs more park space,” Mayor Phil Brock said. “I am impressed by Sasaki and look forward to kicking off the process in bringing a great asset to our community.”

Sasaki will lead research and public outreach efforts in five distinct phases, ideally wrapping up with a preferred alternative going to City Council at the end of 2025.

Throughout each phase, Sasaki, in partnership with city staff, is set to host more than 60 meetings and listening sessions with community members, city boards and commissions and the City Council in various formats.

The 227-acre airport property, which was once a park, represents nearly five percent of the city's total land area. The city has obtained authorization to close the airport for aviation uses after Dec. 31, 2028, and passed a resolution in 2017 codifying that plan.

The property is subject to voter-approved Measure LC, which restricts development on the airport property to only allow parks, public open spaces and public recreational facilities and the maintenance and replacement of existing cultural, arts and educational uses.

For more information, see the staff report or watch the City Council discussion here.

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Tati Simonian
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