Judge blocks the city's jet ban

A federal judge on Friday blocked the city from imposing a ban on high-performance jets at its airport until a court can determine whether the controversial restriction is legal.

District Judge George Wu issued a preliminary injunction sought by the Federal Aviation Administration, which is contesting an ordinance banning jets that have landing speeds of 138 mph to 191 mph. The city claims the aircraft are at risk of running off the runway and hitting nearby houses.

Wu's ruling kept in place a cease-and-desist order the FAA issued the city in late April. Santa Monica officials said an injunction should not be approved because the FAA had failed to grant the city a hearing, nor did it make a formal determination of the ban's legality before issuing the order.

The judge said that he had limited authority to rule in the case and that challenges to FAA enforcement procedures were within the purview of federal appellate courts. Santa Monica officials are considering an appeal.

-- Dan Weikel

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