Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Airport paperwork under scrutiny
Burbank residents say notice informing public of sale of B-6 property wasn’t filed in 2000; attorney for city says filing was OKd after ‘technicality.’
By Mark R. Madler
The Glendale (CA) News-Press
BURBANK – More than 100 acres of land adjacent to Bob Hope Airport remains on the selling block at the same time negotiations between the city and the Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena Airport Authority take place over the airport obtaining the land. Community activists banding under the name Burbank Voters and Taxpayers, however, believe the land is destined for an expanded or new terminal and will never be sold.
The activists have latched onto what they believe was a failure in 2000 by the city and Airport Authority to have filed with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk a “Notice of Failure to Execute a Development Agreement” between the two bodies to develop the 139 acres the airport bought from Lockheed Martin Corp.
Filing the notice would have made public that the land – known as the B-6 property – was for sale.
“The community did not know the papers were not recorded,” said Burbank Voters and Taxpayers member Carolyn Berlin. “The community expected the property would be sold and put back onto the tax rolls.”
Mike Nolan, another member of the group, raised at the Aug. 17 City Council meeting that the notice was never filed with the county.
But Peter Kirsch, the city’s attorney on airport issues, said it was a “technicality” that the notice was not filed when first submitted to the recorder’s office, but that it was later accepted.
“I recall the problem and the problem has been corrected,” Kirsch said.
To settle a lawsuit between the city and the Airport Authority, the land was placed in a trust with the goal of using it for an expanded terminal. When no terminal deal could be worked out, the land was put up for sale, which it remains.
“The trustee knows they are under an obligation to sell the property,” Kirsch said. “It is available for sale. I don’t know if anybody is interested in it.”
In the meantime, the city and airport work toward reaching an agreement that would place a 10-year moratorium on a new or expanded terminal while allowing the airport to purchase the adjacent 27-acre Star Park property for valet and rental car parking.
To the airport expansion opponents, the failure to file the notice shows that, even as the city and airport work toward a new agreement on the airport’s future, past agreements weren’t being followed.
“The document that was supposed to protect the community has not been implemented and it goes back four years,” Berlin said.
An agreement between the city and airport would still need a public hearing and City Council approval before going into effect.