If Burbank had had its way, there’d be no more “Bob’s Big Boy”

big boy down


Every time some kind of praise comes up about how special this place is — and it often does, such as today –we love to remind people about how historically dipshit this town is.

Especially note the dumb and dumber comments from legendary local “historian” Mary Jane Strickland.

Yes, with friends like these, who needs …


Landmark Big Boy Case Ignites Rights Debate in Burbank: Preservation: Council considers drafting a local ordinance that would give historic designation only with the consent of property owners.



In the wake of a state decision to add Bob’s Big Boy to the list of California points of historic interest, the Burbank City Council is considering a historic preservation ordinance that would allow landowners to veto any effort to designate their property a landmark.

Several council members said the ordinance, which was discussed Tuesday night, should include a provision to assure that “there will be no more Big Boys.” They were referring to a decision by the State Historic Resources Commission on Friday to declare Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in Burbank a landmark despite opposition from the property owner, who wants to tear the diner down.

The landmark designation will make it legally more difficult to raze the 1950s restaurant at Riverside Drive and Rose Street and replace it with an office building or shopping center, as the owner had previously proposed.

“I personally feel that the rights of the owner of Big Boy were not honored,” Councilman Tom Flavin said. “We should adopt some type of preservation policy, but the rights of property owners need to be protected.”

Interestingly, it was preservationists who sought a local preservation ordinance, while business leaders have opposed it.

The Burbank Historical Society initially proposed an ordinance that would create a commission able to recommend landmark status regardless of the wishes of property owners. But the society backed away from that proposal because members felt the generally pro-development council would oppose it.

At Tuesday’s meeting, city planners asked the council to put off consideration of the issue until August. The council voted to have Flavin meet with representatives of both preservationists and business people during that time, and then come up with his own recommendation.

Tuesday’s City Council debate over Bob’s Big Boy stems from an earlier council decision not to take a stand on the issue of landmark status for the diner when it was under consideration by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in July. The supervisors voted to recommend landmark status and then forwarded their recommendation to the State Historic Resources Commission for final approval.

On Friday, the state commission declared Bob’s a landmark that preserves the look of 1950s Southern California car culture. Bob’s joined 53 other sites in Los Angeles County on the official list of State Points of Historic Interest.

Under state law, if a city does not have its own procedure for nominating state landmarks, then the county handles such issues. If Burbank had had such an ordinance in place, it could have prevented Bob’s from receiving landmark status, preservationists and city officials agreed.

See our comment at the end.

Preservationists, who want some type of landmark protection ordinance as soon as possible, are divided on the issue of giving historic designation only with the consent of property owners.

“The balance for public good outweighs private whim,” said Vance Pomeroy, a member of the of the Burbank Historical Society. “The wishes of the owner shouldn’t be allowed to overpower the public good.”

But other members of the same group took a more moderate approach.

“We don’t want to be in a continual hassle with property owners. If the property owner doesn’t want it to become a landmark, then it’s a dead issue,” said Mary Jane Strickland, a co-founder of the Burbank Historical Society.

And Gary Sutliff, vice president of the historical society, was even more blunt: “Bob’s Big Boy does not fit my criteria for a historic landmark.”

The Burbank Chamber of Commerce believes even the modified proposal is too strong during a recession.

“The implementation of a heritage ordinance at this time is not in the best interests of the Burbank business community,” Zoe J. Taylor, executive director of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, wrote in a letter to the council. “As businesses struggle to emerge from our current recession, this ordinance poses a potential obstacle to growth and development in the city of Burbank.”

It was because of a careless omission in Burbank law (thank god) that the County was allowed to step in and save the TL Bob’s.

It was no thanks to anyone running Burbank. They had no problem with it being torn down, and instead, were absolutely aghast when someone else came in from the outside world and told them “no.” Such granted historical status made it much more difficult to demolish the structure.





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4 responses to “If Burbank had had its way, there’d be no more “Bob’s Big Boy”

  1. Anonymous

    Indeed. We’d’ve had a statue of Michael Hastings awarding a worthless tin plated “police star” instead

  2. DixieFlyer

    Now that you’ve mentioned Mike Hastings and worthless tin;
    what happens to the money his group raises for ‘Hoof & Woof”?

    We have only two dogs and one horse at last count.

    Who counts the money? Who spends the money?

    Past time for an inclusive Audit.

  3. chad

    “Down goes Big Boy!! Down goes Big Boy!!”

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