Santa Monica Airport Incentives 'Displease' South Bay Mayor

Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto says Santa Monica is attempting to export its airport noise complaints under proposed plan to pay flight schools to conduct repetitive takeoff and landings anywhere but the Santa Monica Airport.

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.

Warren G. July 10, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Dick B, On what basis have these flight schools been abusive in Santa Monica? I have flown in & out of SMO many times and live under the approch of Torrance Airport. Have you ever been in an aircraft & witnessed a landing approch from the cockpit? I doubt it. Otherwise you would be aware of how much power is reduced to almost an idle while on final approch. The noise generated from the engine many times is almost as loud as the sound of the wind rushing by. The "rules" are being abided by pilots as they have been for years. What is next? Those living by a school objecting to the noise of children playing? Sounds of life, whatever they may be, should be taken in their context & see their wonder. We need it, many times for our protection. As an example, as good as the new electric cars are, they can pose a danger to pedestrians. How? Because of the fact of their being so quiet no noise is emitted to make others aware of their presence. The first one I witnessed a few years ago, driving away from me, I was amazed how quiet it was. The only sound I heard was of the tires scrubbing the pavement during its turning. Can this lack of noise present a danger? Sure it can. Things should be looked at with balance, not with a selfish, personal opinion.
Jim G July 10, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Section 1102 of the California Civil Code requires someone selling their home to identify (in the California Residential Disclosure Report, Paragraph C, item 11) neighborhood noise problems or other nuisances. How many people complaining about the airport will follow the law and list their complaints on the report? Somehow, the airport becomes a non-issue when it comes time to sell.
Rich66 July 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Typical liberal idiocy. Spread the (imaginary ) misery around. They aren't happy until they drag everybody down to the lowest level. Wait until Obamacare is fully implemented.
RJ September 14, 2012 at 03:04 AM
......hey Rich, you had to spew political propaganda with incomplete ineuendos about Healthcare reform? The topic is about the airport traffic not self serving propaganda garbage.
RJ September 14, 2012 at 03:18 AM
.....could that be the reason that people complain to begin with since the airport has been there for so many years?.....they didn't know an airport would be noisy? I thought a better part of the surrounding community was originally built because of the airport? Call me crazy but I never understood why people buy a home near an airport then complain about the noise??? I live in the same airport flight path as everyone else. I knew it when I moved into the neighborhood 20 years ago but I like living near the beach....so I tolerate the noise (and keep the windows closed when needed).


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