Santa Monica residents weigh in on airport traffic, pollution


Many people who live near the airport would like to see it close. If nothing else, they hope to convince the City Council to drastically reduce its operation.

Residents of Santa Monica, Venice and Mar Vista attended a forum held by the Venice Neighborhood Council Saturday to discuss health and safety issues related to Santa Monica Airport.

They heard reports from health and safety experts about the effects of pollution from lead and noise. They also heard from local and state lawmakers.

On Tuesday, the Santa Monica City Council will meet to consider staff and citizens' recommendations regarding the future of the airport. The city's lease with the FAA expires in 2015.

Studies have shown that most residents of communities surrounding the airport would like to see it close.

Politicians and citizen's groups attending Saturday's forum say they're particularly concerned about the big jets that fly into the airport.

"The airport has grown over the years and the private jets have come in," said Laura Silagi of Venice Neighborhood Council. "They weren't here when the houses were here. The population around here has grown. The effects of the airport and its negative impacts in terms of health are just being understood."

"It is harming people's quality of life in terms of the lead that some of this aviation fuel is producing and in terms of the air pollution that people are breathing in," said State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance). "It is very harmful to residents and Santa Monica Airport is the closest airport in the nation to residential homes."

The Santa Monica Airport Citizens Advisory Commission hopes the City Council will approve its recommendations to reduce the airport's operations.

A major part of those plans call for removing 2,000 feet of runway which would prevent large planes from using the airport.

The city of Santa Monica will discuss these issues when it meets on Tuesday.

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