Make no mistake. What staff wants the council to do tonight is encourage mixed-use development in the commercial and manufacturing parts of town. There’s lots of valuable land going fallow out there, you know, cluttered up by all those ugly old muffler shops and nut and bolt places, and that Electronic City joint.
It’s just so Mad Men and “unsustainable” these days we know. And so they’re doing this by getting our city council scared of what some builders “could” do if we don’t get these new Burbank2035 general plan figures codified in law.
Staff’s making it seem as if huge projects can now somehow “sneak in” right next door to a residential area if we don’t get this passed. But then, 10 seconds later, they contradict themselves by saying that any such development would need a CUP– which has to be approved first! That would be quite a sneak attack, wouldn’t it– to get it by everyone without a required discretionary CUP? So it’s a bogus argument they’re making.
We’re hearing a lot too about “six story buildings” and “R4-like” complexes going in on Magnolia and other main drags if we don’t adopt this ASAP, and that the law now allows this. So be very afraid, and let’s get this thing passed pronto.
But that’s not true– because already, you can’t put R-4 within 500 feet of an R-1 residential. Which is what Magnolia is 10 feet off of the parallel alley. It’s houses! And this has been the law for eons. So there’s no way in hell these mega-buildings-on-Magnolia fears could ever become reality under current law.
Here’s what’s really going on. By enshrining RESIDENTIAL density limits into code for commercial and manufacturing zones, the City of Burbank is now telling developers to come on in and develop. They’re not limits per se, they’re codified allowances that didn’t exist before, and it’s a cynical misuse of language for staff to try to play them off tonight as precautionary restrictions. Instead, they’re blatant advertisements.
We can see it now. Someone wants to put in 30 “mixed use” units on Burbank Blvd., and so staff can now say: “But gee council, the ordinance you passed three years ago allows this type of density!” And in it goes. Mixed use is not R-4, so it can go in.
Also, the concern tonight is not that this “Plan” is too rushed. The concern is that Golonski has no business voting on these important issues any more, nor staff to get it in front of him before he leaves to make sure that he does. It was deliberate on their part.
You know what the funniest part of the hearing was? That staff said they’d had extensive meetings with “the Chamber” and “business groups” to see what they thought of the ideas, and that these groups had a substantial amount of input into the process.
Of course they did! And despite this admission, staff still tries to play this part of Burbank2035 off as a slow-growth document? A series of– what did they call them … new restrictions?