Santa Monica : Ban on Airport Plan Denied

A Santa Monica Superior Court judge this week refused to grant an emergency temporary restraining order to block a controversial commercial and retail office project at Santa Monica Municipal Airport.

Attorney Lloyd Kirschbaum, who represents a homeowner and a group interested in preserving the land at the airport, said he expects a mid-December court hearing on a preliminary injunction to block the 822,000-square-foot project, proposed by Reliance Development Group, until a lawsuit challenging it can be heard.

The suit, filed last week, claims that the City Council has no authority to allow commercial development of the airport land because a voter-approved bond was issued to buy the land in 1926 for use as parkland, and its use cannot be changed without voter approval.

The suit also alleges that the environmental impact report for the project inadequately analyzed traffic conditions and other issues.

Assistant City Atty. Joseph Lawrence, however, called the claims in the suit "inconsequential and largely frivolous."

Lawrence on Monday successfully argued before Judge Lawrence Waddington that the request for the restraining order was premature because the project will not be formally approved until a second reading of the ordinance is voted on by the City Council on Nov. 14.

Waddington also ruled that no irreparable harm would occur if the matter were delayed for 30 days until a preliminary injunction hearing could be held.

Supporters of the project maintain that it will benefit the city because it will provide about $25 million in revenue within the first 10 years of completion.

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