A city planning board gave its approval Thursday to a plan to modernize Los Angeles International Airport by reconfiguring two runways and building ground transportation infrastructure.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to support the airport's projects, approved Feb. 5 by the Board of Airport Commissioners.
"They basically endorsed the project," senior city planner Kevin J. Keller said. "From a land-use perspective, this is, per the city charter, a required step in the process. It is a required recommendation."
About 400 Los Angeles-area residents, most of whom live near the airport, showed up to a public hearing in January before the Planning Commission staff, with the vast majority of speakers urging planners not to approve the airport's runway separation plan.
Los Angeles World Airports officials say they must move the northernmost runway 260 feet closer to Westchester homes and businesses to improve safety. Residents have countered the move is unnecessary and will create more noise and pollution in their neighborhoods.
But the Planning Commission has limited jurisdiction, and its job was to consider land-use implications. On that front, the commission staff recommended commissioners approve the projects.
"Planning staff supports the LAWA Staff Recommended Alternative ... including the movement of the northernmost runway 260 feet north in as much as the affected land area is already within the LAX plan area, is designated and planned for LAX uses, and does not necessitate the acquisition of parcels currently outside of the LAX plan area," the staff wrote in its report to the commission.
The Planning Commission also approved the noncontroversial projects, including an automated people mover to shuttle passengers around the airport and a consolidated rental car facility.
The projects still require approvals from the Los Angeles City Council and Federal Aviation Administration.
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