Tuesday, February 8, 2005
Airport Leaders Finalize Pact with Burbank
By Alex Dobuzinskis
The Los Angeles (CA) Daily News
BURBANK — An agreement between the Bob Hope Airport and Burbank that blocks the creation of a new passenger terminal for 10 years is a done deal after Monday’s approval by the airport commission. Officials said the agreement, which also blocks expansion of the existing terminal for seven years, gives residents certainty about development at the airport.
The airport and the city will also cooperate in trying to win a mandatory nighttime curfew or permission for other noise reductions from federal regulators. And, for at least 10 years, the airport can keep 60 acres that could eventually be used as a terminal site.
“If someone decides 10 years from now or 15 years from now that it might be time to build a 14-gate replacement terminal, maybe it’ll be embraced heartily by the residents,” said Charles Lombardo, president of the airport commission.
“Part of the (existing) building is 75 years old,” he said. “At some point in time you can only do cosmetic surgery so many times, so we’ll see what happens.”
The airport commission voted 7-0 Monday, with Commissioner Carl Meseck absent, to approve the final version of the agreement. On Feb. 1, the Burbank City Council voted 4-1 in favor of the deal.
The airport and the city have spent more than $25 million in legal fees fighting over airport expansion. Now the airport and the city will cooperate instead of battling each other, said Commissioner Chris Holden.
“I’m hopeful that the dove approach … turns out to be the one that keeps peace in the city,” he said.
But Howard Rothenbach, chairman of the anti-airport expansion group Restore Our Airport Rights, said the agreement is bad for the city and that residents should have been allowed to vote on it.
“They’re letting the airport get one step closer to building a new terminal. And they do this incrementally so they think people don’t notice,” Rothenbach said. “Maybe they figure 10 years from now people will have gone to sleep and won’t be paying attention.”
Another provision allows the airport to buy the 26-acre Star Park lot, next to its own short-term parking structure, for $41.5 million.
“What it means is we won’t be spending millions of dollars in litigation with the airport and it pretty much preserves the status quo out there. The airport isn’t going to be building a new terminal or expanding its existing terminal,” City Councilman Dave Golonski said.