The mayor of Torrance and at least one other city have sent letters to the Santa Monica City Council asking for an environmental analysis of the potential impact on their cities if Santa Monica moves forward with a plan to pay pilots to fly elsewhere, the Daily Breeze reported.
The Santa Monica City Council is scheduled to vote to approve an unpopular program Tuesday night that would have taxpayers pay Santa Monica Airport-based flight schools $150 for each flight that resulted in a minimum of four takeoffs and four landings conducted at other airports on weekends and holidays. The council would .
"We're extremely displeased they are going down this path," Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto told the Daily Breeze.
He told the newspaper that Santa Monica is, in effect, exporting its noise complaints. "If there's an increase in traffic to Torrance Airport [as a result] we're going to figure out a way to restrict it," he said.
Pilots-in-training practicing touch-and-go landings, especially on weekends and holidays, prompts grumbles from people living under the flight paths. Planes taking off into the prevailing onshore breeze roughly follow Rose Avenue west as they gain altitude and the din diminishes. Noise from inbound flights becomes noticeable in the neighborhoods along National Boulevard, between the San Diego (405) Freeway and Bundy Drive-Centinela Avenue.
Santa Monica city staffers have said the program has the potential of resulting in up to 4,800 fewer takeoffs and landings during a six-month test period starting July 1.
The proposal is unpopular with Santa Monica residents, too. Some are unhappy with the six-month cost of $90,000, while others—many of whom have pleaded with the council to quell the noise—believe the schools would profit from the program.
Santa Monica's Public Works Director Martin Pastucha , and city staffers are not studying how the program would impact other airport communities.
Pastucha has said it is unlikely the fledgling pilots will fly south, where they would have to navigate busy Los Angeles International Airspace to reach Torrance. Additionally, Pastucha said that Torrance doesn't allow repetitive take-offs and landings, according to the Daily Breeze.
Though the touch-and-go landings aren't allowed at Zamperini Field on Sundays and holidays, one of the airport's runways is dedicated solely to that purpose on Saturdays, according to the Daily Breeze.
According to a map posted on the Torrance Airport Association's website, low-flying aircraft travel over Torrance, the Palos Verdes Peninsula and South Redondo Beach. Additionally, the flight paths of helicopters around the airport include one that follows Pacific Coast Highway to the west and another that goes along Crenshaw Boulevard to the south, in addition to three others.
The Santa Monica City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday for a regularly scheduled meeting. It could approve the program during the meeting.
— City News Service contributed to this report.