Empire Center Project Environmental Impact Report -- otherwise known as
concerned citizens -- who spoke at the Jan. 31 Planning Board Hearing are
heralding a new era of this "community's infinitely harsher attitude
toward all future business development."
To his credit, Will did mention a few important aspects of the massive
$200-million project slated by Zelman Development Company for the former
103-acre Lockheed "B-1" property. Once again, Rogers mocked citizen
concerns. Most disturbing, only a handful of individuals seemed aware
there even was a Planning Board hearing to receive public comments on the
largest retail-office-hotel development ever undertaken in Burbank. Was
this the start of another "stealth" project at the B-1 site preparing to
sail right through City Hall, undetectable to all but a handful of inside
Interestingly, Community Development Director Bob Tague challenged
Planning Board Chair Dr. Bud Hunt's assertion that perhaps there was
inadequate notification of potentially impacted residents. Tague seemed
to suggest the reason only six speakers showed up was that the rest of
the community might not be interested in the project. Fortunately, Dr.
Hunt, a dentist by profession, has experience in pulling teeth. He was
able to extract from Tague an acknowledgment that notifying the thousands
of people living and working within a 1,000-foot perimeter of the
gargantuan project just might increase their interest in attending
subsequent public hearings.
Let's take a closer look at a few of this project's potential impacts
that super sleuth Rogers failed to reveal when expressing his "enormous
empathy for staff and council members who during public reviews likes
this one face constant public smears that run the gamut from allegations
of corruption to charges they eagerly endanger lives."
First of all, an Environmental Impact Report is the legally required
mechanism under the California Environmental Quality Act to inform the
public of projects that may have significant impacts on a community. In
this instance, perhaps more than any prior Burbank development, it is