Letter -- Gene Walsh

May 08, 2002

The Castaway, the huge restaurant and banquet facility capable of

serving about 4,000 customers a day, which is situated on a tiny mesa

high in the hills at the end of Harvard Road in Burbank, and which

expanded by 10% in 1994, wants to expand again.

The Castaway hosted a neighborhood meeting April 17 to share its plans

for a renovation that includes the construction of a massive $2-million,

two-story parking structure for approximately 200 cars.


Enough is enough.

In 1993, the restaurant burned virtually to the ground. In 1994, the

city allowed it to be rebuilt on the condition it not increase in seating

capacity. Oops. While the city wasn't looking, The Castaway somehow added

more than 200 square feet to the main ballroom, increasing its capacity

by about 100.

At last month's neighborhood meeting, Castaway representatives stated

the Burbank facility is the No. 1 profit maker among all of the

restaurants (about a dozen) in the company. Among other claims: Although

average attendance declined about 8% from last year, the restaurant

increased its profit because it increased its prices; it is attracting a

more upscale customer, and to continue to attract more upscale customers,

it wants to provide better parking.

Parking was also a major concern in 1994. The parking lot was, as it

is now, too small. To meet the city's code, The Castaway's chief

executive, a Mr. Tallichet, offered to tear down one of the rear banquet

halls to meet the city's parking requirements. Instead, the city

compromised: the size of each parking space was reduced and a waiver was

given to cover the 60 or so spaces the restaurant was short.

Today, with The Castaway's attendance down, there is no logical need

for more parking. In 1994, to meet the city's parking requirements, The

Castaway was willing to eliminate a ballroom, and it is very capable of

doing the same now.

Enough is enough. The Castaway has reached its pinnacle. It is its

company's biggest profit maker. It is time The Castaway repay its Burbank

neighbors. Enlarging -- and a $2-million parking structure is very much

that -- will generate additional traffic, additional drivers, additional

accidents, additional vandalism on the streets in the neighborhood, and

additional duties for the city's fire and police.

Enough is enough.



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