Deal reached to close Southern California airport

AP News
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Posted: Jan 28, 2017 3:13 PM
Deal reached to close Southern California airport

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California city and the federal government on Saturday said they reached a deal to close Santa Monica's airport, ending a lengthy battle over the site.

Under the agreement, the city can close the airport after 2028, Santa Monica officials said in a statement. In the meantime, the city can shorten the airport's single runway to 3,500 feet from its current length of nearly 5,000 feet.

Santa Monica has long sought to shut the airport located amid residential neighborhoods in a seaside city of more than 90,000 people. Residents have raised concerns about noise, air pollution and the risk of planes crashing into neighborhoods.

The city plans to turn the 227-acre site into a large park, spokeswoman Constance Farrell said.

More details would be released at a press conference later Saturday, Farrell said.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates the airport, previously fought Santa Monica's efforts to ban fast-landing jets over safety concerns.

"This is a fair resolution for all concerned because it strikes an appropriate balance between the public's interest in making local decisions about land use practices and its interests in safe and efficient aviation services," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement.