August 2, 2016

LAX Plan and LAX Specific Plan


Project Profile

Project Name: LAX Plan and LAX Specific Plan

Client: Los Angeles World Airports

Purpose: Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), owner of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), selected Johnson Aviation to assist in airport land use planning for LAX as part of its implementation of the LAX Master Plan[1]. LAX is the third largest commercial passenger airport in the U.S. and sixth largest in the world.  The LAX Plan and LAX Specific Plan became the land use and zoning ordinances within the City of Los Angeles that facilitated the changes in land use envisioned as part of the LAX Master Plan.

Tasks: Johnson Aviation worked in closely with LAWA staff, City staff, land use consultants, traffic planners, engineers and legal counsel to craft a comprehensive update to the City of Los Angeles General Plan and Los Angeles Municipal Code to allow for an acceptable land use plan for LAX and its surrounding environment.  As one of the largest commercial passenger and cargo airports in the world, LAX is unique in its setting amid one of the densest urban areas in the U.S. and the world.  This important aviation asset is also one of the only major commercial service airports in the U.S. accessed via the city street network instead of a direct freeway, interstate or limited access highway.  This unique location and challenging access required rigorous land use development plans and policies to facilitate the much needed modernization of LAX facilities and infrastructure.  Challenges to the LAX Master Plan, LAX Plan and LAX Specific Plan came from many quarters in the community torn over how best to facilitate the modernization of this critical economic engine and transportation life line to the world.  Johnson Aviation helped LAWA work its way through each of these challenges, including those from the Los Angeles County Airport Land Use Commission.

Outcome: Johnson Aviation provided technical planning support to the legal defense team on the LAX Master Plan when it was sued in State and federal courts.  Four legal challenges related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ROD were successfully settled.  Johnson Aviation crafted LAWA’s technical and financial elements of the settlement in close coordination with LAWA, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Los Angeles City Council representatives, petitioners, and the Office of the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles.  Johnson Aviation also facilitated a required review and approval of key settlement provisions by the Federal Aviation Administration.  A multi-billion dollar redevelopment of LAX is currently underway.

[1] Nick Johnson lead a diverse consultant team for Los Angeles World Airports to plan and adopt its comprehensive airport master plan along with a joint NEPA/CEQA EIS/EIR document that was adopted and approved by the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, Los Angeles Planning Commission, Los Angeles City Council and the Federal Aviation Administration.  This comprehensive master plan, land use plan and environmental process cleared the way for the multi-billion dollar redevelopment program that is currently underway at LAX.