The city of Santa Monica has taken the next steps to shutter California’s Santa Monica Airport (KSMO) later this decade with a recent city council approval of a process to review future potential land uses.
“This is the very beginning of a community process to reimagine the airport site, which accounts for an unprecedented 4.3 percent of the city’s land,” said Mayor Gleam Davis after the city council vote in late January. “We know this is an asset Santa Monicans care about and we want to work together to set goals and priorities to meet diverse community needs for the next several generations.”
The FAA in 2017 stunned the aviation community with the signing of a “consent decree” that ceded control over the airport back to the city at the end of 2028. City leaders have long pushed for the closure of the property and said the ability to do so “sets the stage to extensively plan for the future of the 227-acre parcel and to invite community participation in designing what may be the greatest transformative event of this century for the city of Santa Monica, and perhaps the region.”
However, the reuse of airport property will require substantial technical reviews, public outreach, and planning, the city acknowledged. City staff outlined a multi-year community planning effort to develop a roadmap for what the city said would be the “eventual resident-supported transformation of the site that is socially just, culturally rich, financially self-sustaining, and ecologically restorative.”
Under the council-approved process, a request for qualifications will be issued for the development of a community engagement plan for the conversion of the airport. A shortlist of qualified firms or teams will then be invited to submit detailed process and cost proposals.
This would follow with a request for proposals in upcoming months, providing residents an opportunity to discuss their interest in the planning process with a selection of an entity later this year. The city envisions authorization for closure in 2028 with the adoption of a plan for the new use in the timeframe of late 2028 to 2033.