Burbank CA. -Bob Hope Airport Expansion

Saturday, October 9, 2004
Activists seek airport plan Expansion opponents say master plan is required, but Airport Authority and government officials say it’s not necessary.
By Mark R. Madler
The Burbank (CA) Leader

AIRPORT DISTRICT – Activists opposing Bob Hope Airport expansion say it needs a master plan to guide future development, but airport officials and the federal government disagree. Residents opposing any airport expansion claim the Burbank- Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority is required to have a master plan. Airport officials disagreed because the landlocked airport has nowhere to expand.

“We’re not building anything,” said Airport Authority Charlie Lombardo. “We’re not adding square footage to the footprint of the terminal; we’re not adding any gates. That’s why you don’t see [a plan].”

The airport activists got City Councilman Todd Campbell’s attention at a recent council meeting.

“I think it’s odd there is no master plan,” Councilman Todd Campbell said. “Why isn’t that a factor here? When there is a master plan, there are requirements to stick with that plan.”

In the airport’s corner is the Federal Aviation Administration. Donn Walker, a spokesman for the agency, said no master plan is required.

The airport is required to file an Airport Layout Plan with the FAA. It’s a map showing existing facilities and any proposed development. This differs from a master plan, which is a planning document showing existing facilities, reasons for future development and when future projects should take place. The plan can also report on the financial situation of an airport.

“A master plan is a planning document to show what is intended to do in the future,” Walker said. “It’s a roadmap.”

But Phil Berlin, a former authority commissioner turned activist against airport expansion, points to an advisory circular from 1982 as the document requiring a plan.

“Of course we need [a plan] so we know what the goals and expectations of the airport and how they interrelate to the needs and concerns of Burbank,” Berlin said.

FAA spokeswoman Holly Baker said that circular only provides guidelines on preparing master plans and no directive an airport has to file one. The FAA may monitor creation of a plan but does not even approve them, Baker added.

The Airport Authority is working out an agreement with the city that includes buying the 27-acre Star Park property to use for valet and rental car parking. But that additional land is just a switch in ownership and does not constitute the type of expansion a master plan would guide, Lombardo said.

Berlin, however, said the purchase of that property shows the airport is not as landlocked as it claims.

“Even small airports, they have a master plan,” Berlin said. “They have never wanted to commit to anything at the Burbank airport. That is important particularly because there are residential homes close by.”