An eleventh-hour challenge to the environmental analysis for the Santa Maria Airport Business Park delayed the item’s consideration by the Santa Maria City Council on Tuesday night.

The city received a letter, with Tuesday’s date, from the nonprofit Supporters’ Alliance for Environmental Responsibility, or SAFER, regarding the supplemental draft environmental impact report prepared for the Santa Maria Airport Business Park Specific Plan.

The Santa Maria Public Airport District has proposed land use and zoning changes for 28 acres on the northwest corner of Highway 135 and Union Valley Parkway to allow flexibility for future development.

While procedural, airport officials say the changes could jumpstart the long-planned project. 

The area is part of the larger 740-acre Airport Business Park proposing assorted uses on excess land south of the airfield. 

The airport district plans to enter long-term leases to create an ongoing revenue stream.

The original environmental documents were approved in 2007, but the firm has challenged several aspects of the analysis.

Specifically, the letter sent by an attorney from Oakland-based environmental law firm of Lozeau Drury LLP alleges a number of flaws in the environmental analysis, including that it failed to analyze the project’s reasonably foreseeable impacts from the proposed light industrial zoning and potential impacts on biological resources.

Attorney Paige Fennie called the supplemental environmental impact report “wholly inadequate” and urged the council to delay action to allow staff time to review the concerns. 

Dana Eady, a city planner, said the delay would allow staff time to review the issues mentioned in the lengthy letter. 

The item could return to the City Council as soon as late May or June. 

SAFER appears to regularly launch similar environmental challenges in other communities around the state.

The airport district’s proposed business park has been revised multiple times since the 1990s.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at