We already know that this booster crowd can’t play straight about what they want to call the place. How many different identifying names does that airport have these days?
But now they’re not even telling the truth about what kind of project it is. So it’s just an upgrade now, eh?
The Burbank Planning Board unanimously voted during a special meeting Thursday to recommend that the City Council approve the authority’s project to build a 355,000-square-foot facility on either the northeast quadrant of the airport, known as the B-6 parcel, or the southwest area.
The recommendation includes approval of the project’s environmental-impact report and a development agreement between the city and the authority [sic], which lays out the powers and responsibilities each agency has.
As we’ve noted many times previously, the Burbank City Council lacks the legal authority to “approve” any development agreement with the (it’s supposed to be capitalized) “Authority” prior to the Measure B citizen vote. In fact, to do so is against the law.
“After flying this summer and seeing what some of the other airports look like and coming back to Burbank now, it’s in dire need of upgrading,” she [Planning Board Member Undine Petrulis] said. “I am thrilled to have this project before us.”
We agree with the need for an airport upgrade. Of course. But that’s not what this project is about at all. Instead, it’s a whole new and bigger airport terminal in a different location.
Petrulis added that she thinks authority staff members have thoroughly developed a mitigation plan for construction of the proposed facility. Additionally, she said she thinks one of the measures in the development agreement will protect Burbank regarding significant decisions.
Under the agreement, a supermajority-voting requirement would be established among the authority’s nine commissioners on major issues, such as increasing the number of airline gates, expansion of the terminal, acquiring land or entering into long-term contracts.
On those issues, at least two of the three commissioners from each city in the authority must approve them.
So what happens if Burbank gets a pro-growth city council in there someday?
It’s happened before. In that case there will be NO protections at all, because there won’t be any “super” minority of Burbank commissioners to help block an expansion or enlargement scheme. No, they’ll be cheering it on instead!
So much for “protections.” Let’s build a much bigger terminal space with a grand potential for enlargement, and then rely upon the good will of all future city council members to help keep it smaller. That makes sense.
The development agreement would also establish that the authority has vested rights to build the terminal on either site.
Which is again a blatant violation of the express terms and conditions of Measure B, because only Burbank residents have approval rights on any “expanded” or “replacement” airport terminal. Not just B-6.
In order for the authority to build the terminal on the B-6 parcel, residents must approve a ballot measure known as Measure B.
If the ballot measure fails, airport officials have said that they would forgo building the facility on the northeast section and construct the replacement terminal on the southwest quadrant, which they say does not require voter approval because the property is owned by the airport.
Quite correct, except that any additional required (or desired) discretionary approvals are also subject to the same Measure B voter authority. That’s the 2001 law passed by Burbank residents.
Which … our current city council is apparently planning on giving away now through these latest “vested rights” to let the Airport Authority build whatever they want on their own site, if that’s what they have to do.
This is a big concession that we don’t recall being discussed (btw) back in November, when the council first presented this B-6 plan to the public.
Board member Kimberly Jo said she feels reassured with the environmental-impact report that authority staff compiled and thinks that the proper mitigation programs are in place.
The report looked into the impacts of constructing the 355,000-square-foot terminal on the B-6 parcel and the southwest quadrant. It also studied the possible effects of constructing a 232,000-square-foot facility on the southwest area and what would happen if no new terminal was built.
Now that the Planning Board has recommended approval of the project, it will be before City Council to determine whether it should give the authority the green light.
Sorry, the Burbank City Council has NO legal authority to grant that other Authority (the one in capital letters) anything at all ahead of the Measure B vote. And we’re going to keep repeating this fact.
Again, it’s the Burbank voters who have sole and final authority over B-6, and also quite a deal of final authority over anything else that the Airport might need if they decide to build on their own non B-6 property. Anything discretionary and Measure B automatically kicks in.
Now this pre-vote obligation for the city council to stay out of formally acting on matters is such a fundamental right of the Burbank voters that it’s really astounding to see how our council members have the temerity to be such lawbreakers here. Even Golonski agrees with us on this one, and he helped draft the original Measure B ordinance. The express language of both the original measure, ballot statement, and ordinance itself is clear and compelling: no city approvals or agreements can be made until after the Burbank voters weigh in on them first.
Golonski even made a special trip down to the chambers in November to protest this blatant incursion on voter rights. He told the council members point-blank that Measure B had nothing to do with the city council being able to pre-approve a terminal plan ahead of the voters.
There’s such bad karma going on here with this crowd now, isn’t there? That means of course that any new airport project down there will end up being as FUBAR as can be. It’s inevitable.
So no new airport terminal, for just that reason alone. Small is Beautiful too, and we don’t need it anyway. Who does?