Burbank Viewpoints

Burbank, California – Information and opinion on the most crucial issues facing our city.



Your New Airport Terminal


UPDATED for typos and further clarity on May 25th.

The most important thing to remember about the proposed replacement terminal is that it is going to happen whether you want it or not. Period. Burbankers who have railed against the airport for years must resign themselves to this new normal. And there will be an increase of the number of flights after the FAA implements NextGen over the next few decades whether a new terminal is built or not. Measure B is a yes or no vote for a new terminal. But the Authority is threatening to go ahead with option 3 below if Measure B is defeated. The authority wants as many voters as possible to weigh in on this and sees the expected high turnout on November 8th as a plus.  If the airport makes good on their word, you’re not really going to vote on whether there will be a replacement terminal but WHICH replacement terminal. So let’s take a look at the 4 different proposals and why they exist.

  1. The Adjacent Terminal – This is the Airport Authority’s preferred choice. This will move the airport farther north and the entrance will be at Hollywood Way and Winona. Currently the entrance is at Hollywood Way and Thornton. As proposed the terminal will only have 14 gates but a much larger footprint overall. There will be more shops and restaurants and many of the transportation options seem well thought out. It will be a much “greener” facility and meet current seismic standards which the current terminal does not. Passengers will still embark and disembark from the tarmac. There are many, many other details to review. The main point the Authority reps kept hammering is that the current terminal is too close to the runway and is not up to current FAA guidelines.
  2. The SWQ Alternative – This “backup” option would be chosen if there is some unforeseen issue with the adjacent terminal site. So if construction begins and toxic waste, a native american burial ground or nuclear material is discovered on-site, then construction could move to the Southwest quadrant of the property. This is a bit west of Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park and entrances would remain on Empire Ave and Thornton Ave as they are now.
  3. The SWQ Same-Size  Alternative Terminal – This one’s important to pay attention to. If voters do not approve Measure B in November this is the terminal that could very well go through. Once the Measure B vote occurs, all bets seem to be off and the Authority can go ahead and build this version of the terminal, expand the number of gates, buy land, end the voluntary curfew etc.  It’s roughly the same size as the existing terminal but as above, would be located a bit west of Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park and entrances would remain on Empire Ave and Thornton Ave as they are now.
  4.  The Do Nothing Option – Not sure if the authority even wants to talk about this as a possible outcome. I would assume this would mean more lawyers and a renewed drain on the cities’ resources as the legal battles between the Authority and the City would get a reset.

Many of your questions have been addressed here but he Airport Authority still wants to hear from you.

Semichorus thinks I’ve been hoodwinked. I’d be relieved if he’s right. I replied to the post there so take a look.

As always: What’s your viewpoint? Please comment and share this with your fellow Burbankers.


The Authority wants to hear from you


The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) has been released by the airport commission. If you have comments related to the DEIR you can submit them directly to the authority here. The deadline for public comments is June 13th. Keep in mind you should read the DEIR before commenting. People are entitled to their opinions but informed opinions carry much more weight.

As always the city’s official site can be found here.

McMansions in real-time


The April 28th community meeting on neighborhood design standards hosted a diverse crowd from all over Burbank. Despite a number of grumpy proclamations from both sides of the mansionization issue, the meeting was extremely civil and informative. The key takeaway from the meeting is that there are four different paths forward for the City Council to consider when the issue comes to a vote:

  1. Maintain Existing Standards (do nothing)
  2. Revise Zoning (global revisions to code that affect every new project)
  3. Design Guidelines (strict rules and standards that would impose specific limitations)
  4. Neighborhood Overlays (per neighborhood standards and guidelines)

City staff and their agents  heard from some homeowners who feel the city is overreaching and others who want to see development rules enacted. It’s a tightrope walk for the city. Is one method more fair than another? How does this work in other cities? What gives someone the right to tell me what to do? Is this even enforceable? The main thing to remember is that the city is gathering information and opinions on the matter and no decisions will be made without a lot of input from the public. In fact, here’s a slide that outlines the next steps to be taken. (Take note of the upcoming report to the City Council on May 17th –  mark your calendars)


One interesting thing about the meeting was the utilization of “click” voting. Basically the attendees where given electronic remote control “clickers” and would be asked poll questions.  The results were then displayed in real time. The presenters made it clear that this was an informal show-of-hands-type of polling that they would incorporate into their findings. A few purists in the audience noted that the voting is skewed toward people who want to see changes made. That may be true, but it just demonstrates the need for people to get involved and make their opinions known. This includes showing up at community meetings.


The presenters discussed an available app dedicated to the process where you can submit comments and even snap photographs of houses you love or hate and explain why. It looks like only the “loved” houses are included in the app gallery for obvious reasons. I have no problem with this type of application and engagement with the community.  In fact, I’d like to see technology like this embraced even further by the city.

The project website and FAQ.  The app is available for iPhone and Android

The End of McMansions?


Would you like to see the end of mansionization here in Burbank? For over a year, city staff and a dedicated group of citizens have been working on new design standards homeowners will have to follow if they want to update their property. The process is entering a crucial phase so it’s important that people get involved and make their voices heard. Preserve Burbank has been closely involved with this effort and is encouraging citizens to attend a community meeting this Thursday at the community services building room 104 at 6:30pm. Some background if this is news to you.

Cusumano on First Street


As promised, here’s our highlight reel of the Q&A portion of a recent community meeting regarding the “Premier on First” proposal. You’re going to hear a lot about this yuuuge project as it winds its way to the City Council.

The written public comment phase ends April 13th, so if you want to weigh in about this you better act soon. More info can be found at the city’s website. This was the second of two Development Review meetings.  The city’s first video recorded on March 7th, can be found here. We’ll post another link to the city’s un-edited version of the March 28th meeting we covered above, when the link is available.

Unsent Letter to The Burbank Leader

The Burbank Leader online now requires payment to read, which feels like the end of era. But we’ll revisit that at a later date. For now, here’s a letter to the editor about a possible option for the soon-to-be “old” Ikea site that will close when the new mega-site opens in 2017.  I never sent this to the editorial staff as I’ve since learned what may be in store for the site. Expect word on that in The Burbank Leader soon.  Maybe even this week. For now, here’s an idea that will definitely never see the light of day.

For some Burbankers, “Bud” Ovrom’s Op-Ed regarding land-use decisions for the old IKEA site conjures up images of gigantic new developments that will negatively alter Burbank. But what if there was a more practical way to proceed? Something incremental as opposed to transformative? What if the old IKEA site became the new Downtown Burbank Convention Center? There would be minimal changes needed to the existing building. It’s nearly five times the square footage of the Burbank Marriott space. Additionally, it has ample parking, the proper construction and lighting, has loading docks, a food court and offices. Retrofitting the space would be much smarter and more cost effective than tearing down the whole area and starting fresh. Convention-goers would have many eating and shopping options in walking distance. It could have a big impact on the area.  There would be challenges, of course.  Traffic is always a concern as is proximity to hotels. But a few shuttle stops could mitigate some of this. The limited size of the Marriott Convention center is driving away popular annual events like Monsterpalooza, which has moved to Pasadena for their increased floor space. I assume other events have faced the same problem. A new use for a massive space might be the smarter option and well worth investigating.

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